“Homicides illegal and death is the penalty. What justifies the homicide when he dies in his own iniquity?”
Masta Killa of the great Wu-Tang Clan said it best. While author Ahmed Khaled Towfik doesn’t bring up any sense of law in Utopia, we are introduced to two characters that view death differently. Our first unnamed, nihilistic Narrator searches for death. He seeks the high that comes along with thrill and seems a bit like an adrenaline junkie due to his boredom. His people go out into The Others, a foreign, poverty-stricken land, and bring the lifeless bodies they kill back as a trophy. Gaber, our second narrator, counts down to his death and is on the opposite end of the economic spectrum, where he doesn’t want to die or kill anyone. So, what’s the deal?
To our first Narrator, death is nothing but a game. Him and his people go “hunting” (10) for fun because in “Utopia…death retreats behind barbed wires and becomes nothing but a game that adolescents dream of…” (6). It’s all for fun because they have nothing better to do. They are so bored with their lives that they figure ‘why not just end someone else’s?’ They don’t suffer from any consequences, so that’s even more of a reason to just go hunt and kill. But, they do this in the Others land. They enter the land, kill someone, and bring the body back to their home to show off as a trophy. Gaber, the more compassionate of the two, doesn’t want to die. He does what he needs to do in order to survive, because unlike our other Narrator, he has something to live for and wants more out of life.
It’s easy to see Utopia and the Others in our own society. Here in America, our Utopia are the celebrities, the 1%, those that have some form of privilege and power to do what they want to whoever they want and not deal with the repercussions of their actions. Our Others is everyone else- lower class, middle class, homeless, those who get killed just for walking down the street, minding their own business.
Who gets to say it’s cool to come into someone else’s neighborhood and kill them? Who decides that one’s life is worth more than another’s?
How much more of this “game” do we have to play until we’re all dead?