Character assassination is as common as death. Are you part of it?

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I’m taking a walk, far from the source of sanity, making my way through the long wet road. It has been a tiring day of recovery, I have been ill since yesterday. I didn’t expect the Storm to shield the sun for the whole day, but thankfully it did. Now as it approaches midnight, the wind beats upon my body, shrouded by a welcoming chill. A far cry from those torturous humid days.

I think about too many issues affecting my life, one of which is the sanity one tries very hard to maintain. I have encounter unusual characters in my life although not as twistedly unique as myself. Yes, we can say that for most individuals, a burst from the conventional behaviours. Yet people do so much to adjust to a way of life that is not their own. I don’t seek that adjustment, or more like to ‘blend’ into the bigger picture of other people’s expectations. You can not live a reasonably confident life if you are always trying to fit in other people’s shoes. Nor would you find happiness.

Relationships based on lies, how we treat others at work, consorting to norms, making uninformed decisions, not listening to others, and taking those who you respect for granted «– are many examples of the behaviours that I find truly disturbing and fascinating.

Character assassination is one of the most intriguing. People do what they can to disrupt, demote, debase and degrade the individual identity; for all sorts of reason, many are more delusional and selfish compared to others. Deliberate attacks laced with falsehood is a common tactic: repeated angry harassment on the victim’s character. To what end? Oh, simply for the satisfaction of seeking self-serving attention from others and basking in the mayhem of the process.

I remember coming across bodies just after crossing a war-torn wasteland decades ago. The foul stench overwhelmed me. They had been carelessly stacked to one side. Victims of famine. My thoughts shivered, my eyes stung from the fine sand, and how these people had died and no one would remember of their hellish existence. Covering my nose and mouth with my hands didn’t help, nothing would ever erase these memories.

People nowadays have better things to do with their lives. Spreading rumours, tarnishing other people’s reputation and those slaying others by encouraging the digestion of lies seems a common agenda. At times, I envy the dead. They do not worry about such show of contempt to others, nor would the dead care about reducing the honour of another person through trickery and mischief. And maybe, the living should learn from the dead, and appreciate life positively and without ill-will.

I’m reaching my destination, plunging deeper into the darkness, walking neither here nor there. The darkness is a silent friend, one who allows my brief solitude, just like death.



An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

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