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Death by Dunlop
- By Barend Buitekamer

(I served in Unit 19 from roughly 1987 to 1990. It was the hardest years of my life and, besides the intense training and unequaled sense of brotherhood, I don’t willingly want to revisit the horror of some of the incidents I experienced during States of Emergency. To this day however, I unwillingly relive events far beyond the range of usual human experience… in my dreams. I don’t always remember these dreams, but I remember the indescribable panic of being trapped in a nightmare within a nightmare from which there is seemingly no escape… except insanity or death.
The past is always present, and although I don’t regret a single moment of my past, I’ve closed that book and started writing the first chapter of my next book. In this new book I’m a writer of horror-fiction; who tries to make a living, by sharing the nightmare of having been a slave in the dark and satanic mills that manufactured Hell on Earth. I know, it sounds melodramatic at best, but my experiences cursed me with added aptitude for delineation of graphic sensory detail in the fiction I write.
‘Death by Dunlop’ isn’t fiction. During training we were exposed to necklace murders in the form of lectures accompanied by graphic video footage and photographs. During briefings, tactical and otherwise, we were exposed to it, and during active duty we were exposed to it. Most Unit 19 members, I believe, had to face the loathsome horrors of the necklace style of public execution at some point, whether it being the aftermath of one or the real McCoy. Unlike the general public, who only caught a glimpse of tire-trepidation on page thirteen of a Sunday newspaper, we were there with our necks practically in it. No doubt, we prevented many heinous murders, but we were also the lone sentinels who stood guard at contorted and blackened corpses. We were the ones who’s uniforms reeked of fuel and smoke and rubber and Death. Some of us were even in the indescribably terrifying situation of witnessing a necklace murder in progress, and not being able to do a thing, lest oneself become the victim of utterly irrational mob-fury.
The purpose of this piece of prose is not to induce flash-backs or nightmares, but rather to remind you that, facing fear and terror is a virtue. It’s a tie that binds us as a Specialist Unit, and as long as the ties that bind us are stronger than the forces that tries to tear us apart, we will one day do our active duty in Heaven, for we’ve done active duty in Hell…

A vengeful panga-wielding mob gets hold of you. They prop you up against a fence post on the piece of land that had been in your family for generations. They tie your feet and hands behind you with rusty barbed wire in such a way that you have no contact with the soil on which you were born. You cry. You beg. You scream.
This excites your tormentors and their combined intelligence reaches a point where it is in equilibrium with the person in the crowd who has the lowest intelligence. It vanquishes every quantum of reason, remorse, restraint and ubuntu in every individual present. It turns friends and neighbours into a mindless and savage collective hungry for blood and senseless violence. Some don’t even know why they are here, but they are, and they are enjoying every minute of it.
They swear at you. They spit in your face. They punch and kick you. They urinate on you. They beat you with sticks and they throw stones at you. Whilst doing this they make sure you don’t lose consciousness, because the best is yet to come. They then place a tire around your neck and over the post you’re dangling from. After pouring petrol in the tire they don’t set it alight. No. They taunt you by flicking burning matches at you from a distance. Then they force you to drink petrol.
By now your body practically poisoned itself with adrenaline. Unimaginable panic and indescribable shock sets in. You lose all control over your bladder and bowels. Besides the acerbic taste of petrol in your mouth, the pungent aroma of your own piss and shit stings your nostrils like the tang of potent English mustard.
In the crowd stands an intrepid CNN journalist with a video camera on his shoulder and a gleeful grin on his puffy pink face. He doesn’t lift a finger to help you. No. He’s too busy recording an event that will award him countless press accolades and media commendations. He’s so excited that he sports a fantastic erection. In the distance you hear a siren. The police were tipped off. The crowd scatters. Salvation.
Barbed wire cruelly cuts into your skin and the world turns into a kaleidoscope of crimson shadows. A young man, with an uncanny resemblance to Julius Malema, suddenly stops running. He turns around. You see the false hesitation in his eyes turn into a blank mixture of wide eyed anger and true spite. He lights a match and flicks it at you whilst cursing your mother: “Mmmmssooonhooganyo!”. The burning match approaches you in slow-motion, like a comet burning out in the atmospheric fringes of a world oblivious to its existence. WHOOF!
You hear your hair sizzle and the flood of tears running down your cheeks evaporates instantly. You feel your skin blistering. Your blood is boiling and every pain impulse to every cell in your body erupts into all consuming neuro-electric fury. Your last breath is super-heated flaming air and chocking black smoke. It instantly roasts your lungs and over-inflates your stomach with a hellish back-draft that forces your last meal back over your rapidly swelling lips in a spray resembling projectile vomit. A silent scream dislocates your jaw on both sides of your skull and you choke on your own roasted tongue. It tastes of burned braaivleis marinated with petrol and rubber. Your teeth crack like steel nuggets under strain of severe metal-fatigue. Every single muscle tears from bone as survival instinct desperately contorts your beaten body into a bone breaking fetal position against the restraints of knotted barbed wire. Your heart beats so fast whilst pumping boiling blood, that it continues to fibrillate even after rupturing like a rotting tomato dropped onto a pavement. You snap. You crackle. You pop. The membrane surrounding your brain tears like a sub-standard government condom moments after your eye balls explode, and just before you die, you go insane…

Dedicated to you, Unit 19 member, the following poem:

Just Reward (by Det. L. Wierda BPD, Colorado)

The police officer stood and faced
his Maker, which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
as bright as his brass.

“Step forward now, police officer
how shall I judge you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To your Maker, have you been true?”

The police officer, with squared shoulders, said:
“No Sir, I guess I ain’t
Because those of us who carry badges
can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sunday’s
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I’ve been violent
because the streets are tough.
But I never passed by a cry for help
though sometimes I shook with fear,
and sometimes, please forgive me
I wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place
among the people here.
They never wanted me around
except to calm their fears.
But if you have a place for me here, need not be too grand,
And if you don’t...I’ll understand.”

There was silence all around the room
where the angels respectfully stood,
as the police officer waited quietly
for judgment... bad or good.

“Step forward now police officer,
you’ve borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets;
you’ve done your time in Hell.”






Copyright Unit19 - 2018