Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday Night in Williamsburg: The L Magazine's Summerscreen presents "Evil Dead 2" at the McCarren Park Ball Fields

In our capacity as a volunteer attorney for an international human rights organization, last night we were sent to observe conditions at one of the government's recently-inaugurated detention camps for hipsters.

Immediately apparent were the crowded conditions on the ground. A complete lack of bathroom facilities in the camp seemed to us a shocking violation of international law.

Although there were several possible entry points to the camp, the hundreds of refugees streaming from the L train were forced to a small central location, to be subjected to a pat-down of their bags and other possessions, before they were allowed in. Long lines resulted, as in this interminable wait by newly-admitted residents facing dehydration.

These lines caused most people to fall to the ground in utter exhaustion, clinging to their few possessions and their pathetically inadequate blankets.

While shockingly indifferent camp guards looked on from their comfortable perches, the oppressed masses continued to be admitted.

This couple above, at least, had adequate sleeping gear. We later learned this was only because they had been misinformed, expecting a screening of Berlin Alexanderplatz rather than Evil Dead 2.

These two claimed to be representing a work detail called "Open Space Alliance." Word quickly spread among the refugees that they would be sending them to work in the countryside far from urban Brooklyn, much like the Khmer Rouge did when it sent city dwellers to the killing fields of the hinterlands. These two naturally found few takers to volunteer for such onerous duty.

As the cruelly indifferent guards looked on, lights from the guardhouse and camp prison - rumored to be inescapable - flashed at random intermittently throughout our visit to the camp. We wondered if this sporadic flashing was some kind of subliminal brainwashing, or a form of torture to drive camp residents insane.

Fights continually broke out among the refugees as disputes grew among the coveted spaces remaining as people continued to stream into the camp. Families and friends seemingly forceably separated were noticed frantically calling their loved ones on cell phones, inveighing them to stand up and wave so the newcomers could see them, and if they were lucky, join them to share their small precious space.

A dispute about space began just in front of our observation post, as this young woman and her friends sat down wearily and defiantly to the right of the gentleman on the left, who had implored them that the space was being saved for those he believed would later join him in the camp.

The rattled woman spilled her only liquid nourishment, leading her and her companions to get up and find a new tiny space for themselves. Newcomers passing us kept asking, "Is that pee?" - a natural assumption given the lack of sanitary facilities. We were so appalled and uncomfortable that we are almost ashamed to admit that we said that it was indeed human waste, thus giving us, at least, a bit more breathing room.

As night fell, in what seemed like an attempt to inflict torture, an allegedly satiric horror film was forcibly shown to the internees. We soon surmised that Evil Dead 2, purportedly "purposely bad" in order to be humorous, was in fact nothing of the kind. Its true goal, we conclude, was to inure the camp residents to the horrors that would soon enough be awaiting them.

Our report to the human rights organization will detail how this attempt at "recreational entertainment" was in actuality an accumulation of blood-stained torture, amputations, beheadings, extreme physical pain, and a failed attempt at irony - the latter, the worst form of torture for this particular population.

On our way out of that fetid camp, we pondered whether those responsible could be brought before the International Criminal Court on possible charges for crimes against humanity when we discovered, to our further horror and shock, that outside the camp, things may have been worse as hordes of stateless, fashion-challenged refugees - unable to enter - were forced to camp on the fetid street. Yet they were still subjected to the torture "movie."

We were lucky enough to be only a human rights observer who could leave despite a reported remaining 70 minutes of "running time."

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