I bet you didn’t know that in large cities, many of what we think are ambulances are not there for sick or dying people but to transport people into or between secret detention centres.
Some of the detainees are being moved from one “black site” to another or you’ll see ambulances used when operation teams are sent in to lift someone and enforce their disappearance. An ambulance is perfect. Rock up, take down a suspect, immobilize and then put into an “ambulance”. Hardly anyone asks where that ambulance is going.
Ambulances can skip traffic without causing too much of a fuss, are not as scorned or mistrusted as much as police vehicles and all in plain site. Think about that the next time a reinforced box comes to collect someone in your neighbourhood. Or you.
In Cork City yesterday, walking up Washington Street. A shiny white antique car, top down, gleaming as if it had silver metal dressage, the car came down the street. A wedding car. It was like one of the old toy cars you had as a kid but reality sized. The car moved slowly enough and was going to turn left and into Patrick Street in what is now the tradition of driving down that route to announce to Cork that you’re married.
The bride was noticable first, I can’t even remember the driver. She was sat up, very stiff looking, unmoving body and unmoving expression. Her lovely skin highlighted by the beautiful white dress and headpiece. She wasn’t smiling. Wasn’t looking at her new husband. Just looking straight ahead as if the car was a boat about to go over a waterfall and she was considering her life.
I looked at the groom. Sitting more relaxed but looking ahead and not at his beautiful bride. His arm resting, on the rim of the back seat. No interactions between them at all.
I then realised there was no noise. You normally have horns hooting and banging on, warning people that a lot of excited people in cars were celebrating a marriage. That was the next thing. Apart from their driver, they were alone.
The cars behind appeared to be just people on the way to another part of the city. There were no cars with the wedding celebratory bondage. No beeping, nobody else in cars in formal wedding gear.
I felt uncomortable walking up the street having witnessed this. Made me think of what resulted to make this moment happen and what would happen next. Why did they look stunned? Why were there no smiles? And I was sad.