Editor’s Note: There has long been a debate about whether Allison Mack’s initials are part of the Nxivm offshoot DOS’ pubic brands on women known as slaves. Everyone agrees that Keith Raniere’s initials are found and some say that the very visible ‘A’ is Ranier’s middle name, Alan. But how do you explain the ‘M’? Shivani, one of our guest writers, wants to call it as she sees it – the “A” and the “M” jump right out at you, much more than the “K” and the “R”.
Was this by design?
I can never “unsee” that “A” or “M” just because anyone tells me it’s not there.
The whole argument about whether Allison Mack’s initials are visible or not has always seemed weird to me, excessively so. For crying out loud, it is right there in my face.
No matter how much time passes, it is still painfully hideous, an emotional JOLT, to see those scars in any photo, and Mack’s initials have never “gone away.” The denial about it has frustrated me. I am not used to such blatant, really awful “not-seeing” of evidence, so extremely visible. Yet it happens a lot.
The A and M were the very first of the 4 initials which popped out at me, when I firstI saw the photos of the lettering work. Mack’s initials, no time, no words will ever erase.
Keith Raniere’s initials even appeared to be somewhat more subtle. Consistently, he had worked to hide himself behind others, to use them for catching potential blame for his own intentions. This runs throughout the entire story, his conscious attempts to conceal his malevolence. Otherwise, he might have been apprehended sooner.
How can one doubt that Mack was and still could be, terribly proud of having her initials, combined with Keith Raniere’s, her frigging lord and master, into a slave branding logo? How that must have bolstered her disgusting PRIDE, to be part of such virulent sickness. For sexual slavery. My God. What is one to do? Stifle what is seen, and flatten the impact of it? Of what has been done to fellow human beings?
No. I will not.
Just as I knew what those bone breaks in Epstein’s neck and throat told me immediately about how that demon met his fleshly end. There was considerably more evidence, as well, than those neck fractures. There were two guards supposedly napping away obliviously and every available camera did not function. The cellmate(s), two different ones, and one of those cellmates, perhaps some vague phantom figure who might never have existed, all absent or “not working.”
US Attorney General William Barr in front of cameras doing his fatuously dramatic acting assignment. Lying through his teeth with fear dripping off of his face and his entire energetics. All visible. Why bother to argue, even?
No magical thinking will ever erase or diminish what my own eyes see. The disagreements about those four branding letters being present have been amazing, that anyone could claim not to see it.
During my years of being almost buried alive in the devastation of holocaust reading, I have seen many, many, many concentration camp tattoos, and worse evidence upon the bodies of women and men, with my own eyes.
The faces of these people, the looks from those beautiful eyes will remain in my very soul. Unforgettable. The dignity of living through what these individuals endured and the indescribable losses! I do not care what religion, what race, what ethnicity, has suffered.
Mankind’s inhumanity to humanity itself can be overwhelming to fully see, even to see in small part, within a single of its details and its evidence, the scars left behind.
Word spread when somebody wanted to know about the Holocaust, especially because I used to work in a library and was surrounded, during the eighties and early nineties, by many patrons who were Jewish. People from all over South Florida opened up to me and showed me their concentration camp tattoos, honored me deeply by trusting me. I went to every holocaust remembrance event that it was possible for me to attend, too.
Those Nxivm brands are worse and more brutal in physical appearance than even those Nazi tattoos. I cannot even begin to describe the sweetness of the elderly people who were good enough to trust me, to share their memories, their losses. These are things to be faced, not ignored. The brandings from Nxivm/DOS are intense. It hurts, even to behold these scars. Yes. It hurts.
But denial is even more harmful.