Pointing the Bone

“The aborigines have a tribal practice called Pointing the Bone. This is a method of execution that leaves no trace and rarely fails to kill its victim.”

“The bone can be from a kangaroo or an emu, and its shape varies from tribe to tribe. It is six to nine inches with one rounded end through which a hole is bored and tapers to a point as sharp as a needle. A piece of hair is threaded through the hole and glued into place with a gummy resin from the spinifex bush.”

“Before it can be used, the bone or Kundela is charged in a secret ritual performed by priests. It is then handed to Kurdaitcha, who are the tribe’s ritual killers. Their task is to hunt down the condemned.”

“The name Kurdaitcha comes from the special slippers the aborigines wear on their quest. Made from cockatoo or emu feathers and human hair, they leave no footprints.”

The Kurdaitcha hunt their victim

“The Kurdaitcha who hunt in twos or threes, wear feathered masks and stick kangaroo hair to their bodies with human blood. They will pursue a quarry for years, never giving up until the curse is delivered.”

“Once found, one priest goes down on to one knee and points the Kundela. The victim is frozen with fear as the Kurdaitcha chant the short piercing mantra then return to their village where the bone is ritually burnt.”

“For most tribal members, having the bone pointed is a sentence of death. Waiting for the inevitable, coupled with shame and isolation, often forces the victim to suicide.”

The above is, in fact, an excerpt from The Missing Activist. The themes of bullying and isolation and rejection by peers runs throughout the thriller.

Snitching during a crisis

 But it usually begins somewhere. And according to sociologist Patrick Bergemann, author of Judge Thy Neighbour snitching surges in times of crisis. Like during the deadly COVID pandemic.

The charge: Deliberately breaking lock-down rules to endanger life. Fair enough. But extensions to this include double jogs. Greedy shopping lists. Standing too close to someone at the shops. Not clapping the NHS on a Thursday,  not clapping loud enough, not clapping long enough.

The names given to community spies are plentiful. Rats, grasses, snitches, informers, dobbers (Australian), chivatos (Spanish) Spitzel (German), mouchards (French), stikker (Danish), Jatten (Dutch)

And often they get it wrong. Deliberately. That’s when it becomes insidious.

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