FROM THE STREETS | Albert, 47
Man’s dark heart can lie in wait at every corner. For our nation’s homeless this is a sad refrain. Being mocked, scoffed and scorned becomes the everyday. Albert had grown quite use to cruelty but the events of an evening in 2004 are beyond all measure in human comprehension. He simply hoped to find a safe place to rest a weary head at day’s end. What happened next can only be described as the face of evil. Consider the abject terror of being awaken by a five hooligans. Albert was kicked, battered and brutally beaten. When he fought back, the miserable, wretched bastards took a finger, set him on fire and left him to die. These cowardice attackers slip back into the night, avoiding justice. Albert spent the next 16 months in a burn unit. Recovery is a relative term. He finds it uncomfortable to wear a shirt, the itching never stops and 10 years later there is evidence of wounds that refuse to heal. Heroin has become a constant companion. “It is the only thing that really takes away the pain,” stresses Albert, “These guys were just looking to fuck someone up and I happened to be that guy. Yes, I am alive but this isn’t living.” That we have become a dispassionate society with no value for human life is as disquieting as this act of depravity. May the cold heart of today be renewed for a better tomorrow.
At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’ ~ Mother Teresa