August 28, 2016

London: Holland Park Kyoto Garden

Kidane, me, Zeeko

This formerly private playground estate now for the 99% features a stunning Japanese garden with a waterfall and koi fish pond encircled by leaping squirrels, strutting peacocks, Pokemon addicts, and a rule-breaking peacock feeder. Zeeko (in the photo, right) approached the offender and spoke gently while pointing to signs: Please do not feed the animals.

While Zeeko is staff, he did not press the non-stopping offender, and I soon understood the reason. I asked why the shabby peacock feathers (mating season ended) and whether the eggs hatched (no, local wolves dine on them). And then, not recognizing his accent, from where did he immigrate. A few sentences, a brief Q&A, a lifted shirtsleeve and pant leg exposing a scarred leg and arm. Suddenly, Zeeko's first-person testimony and physical evidence supplanted grotesque reports and images of civil war, torture, and dismemberment in Sierra Leone.

When Zeeko recently visited his homeland, he met the madman whose machete dug into his arm; and, about to sever it, was suddenly called away. When the madman asked forgiveness, Zeeko replied, I have left behind the past and what you did. But the ones you killed, how will you ask their forgiveness?

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