By Catherine Wanjiku.N (Kenya)
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Pacification in Somali, How long shall we wait?
I hardly remember Somali in peace, I was young, very young I could not differentiate peace and war nor water and blood. My God probably needs to be woken up and sort out this insanity, what has begotten my beloved country? Did the sunrise from the wrong direction or did the moon come instead of the adored sun? I wanted to cry but I could not, my heart was heavy, heavy in tears, solid tears. Allah the Most High where is your mercy, have we defied your orders and you decided to punish us? Somali is a forgotten treasure. Who caused us this enmity? Is he dead or alive? How can identical twins lift swords on each other? Somali is a nation that enjoys one religion, tribe and culture. Yes, hatred boils like hot soup and the only sin you committed is to be born by another woman, and not that of the adored clan, it's painful. Can one woman give birth to the whole world? I rub my eyes and I can’t see far, because of the hot sun and dust from the four corners of the earth. Was Somali boundary cursed out? All Somalis are being haunted by the spirits in the waters that lie along it; since it sleeps with a beautiful seashore line like a whale resting on its back and everybody salivates to get a piece. How can brothers hate each other to death, as the Holy Book says, do not let the sun set when you are angry. If all the souls and hearts in Somalia can sleep and wake up after seven days, peace can come in Somalia, but first we must be at peace with our own selves. Can a sleeping pill be sprayed in Somalia, or forgetting pills to delete the evil minds of their evils and make all the killers sleep forever? How can we eliminate hatred? How can a child cry from birth to death? How many Somalis will reach out old age; by the way, where are they buried after they die? Who cursed the Somalia? Are the killers’ beasts or humans that they do not differentiate between a child, adult or animals, they destroy all. Is it not women who gave birth to these bestial men or did they fall from hell. Why should a woman be abused by a fruit of her own womb, did she carry a man for nine months just for him to abuse her in return? I pray that God hears prayers of a Somali woman, no matter how sinful she may be.
Will these stories end; as I am shedding tears and my hands are shaking for fear that I might be the next victim. Are the Somalis victims of the geographical boundary, was the boundary made with a sword and drawn with a finger dipped in blood, has its soil been cursed. That even the rain fears raining. Grass is afraid of being green and animals die one after another. Why was I born in this Godforsaken country?
No food, no water, no shelter. Was I born to die, or was I born to see hell on earth. God even though there may be hell after life, Somalis need not go there, as life on earth was enough hell. Let a Somali woman come straight to heaven. For punishing her is cursing and wishing she was not born. Why should I suffer on earth and in hell? Children have been suffering constantly what did they do wrong? Just mention Mogadishu and eyebrows are up. For gunshots are the orders of the day, that horrifying sound is a norm in the Horn of Africa.
Where shall peace come from, heaven or from earth, when will all the evil men be swallowed by the earth? How can peace exist in a place it is greatly hated?
When will innate love overcome the power of darkness? How can a country like Somalia defeat the intelligence of our peace ambassadors? Definitely peace is attainable in Somalia. When shall men with citizen’s interest at heart be born? For the last 17 years Somali has been in war non has been born. Will he be born in the next decade; we can only keep hope alive.
There lies an old man hopeless, wondering, crying, with no hope on site. Will he survive, or is he going to join his ancestors. He has not fed for a month; can his stomach accommodate the sweetest meal? He coils himself on earth as if he was made to live in a cave, he can't curve completely because his bones gape from a far. Good Lord, what happened to these souls of Allah, did they curse their own creator or has the wrath of the devils befallen them. The daughter of the old man arrives and starts patting his back, "Dad wake up wake up, we have missed you, and we need to see your face once again." He struggles to face up right but the sun is hot and burning his eyes. He tries to cover his eyes with the skinny hands and succeeded just a bit. He grins and his nine children grin back, with much hope and expectation. "Is dad coming back to life?" his youngest daughter asks, they laugh loudly. The children think he has taken a nap; they leave him alone, and they go to search for food and water. Their dad collapses and dies. The spirits who have been calling him for all this time have picked him.
The children are in an open space that is dusty and windy. A strong wind blows from the North that overpowers their featherweight. The sand irritates their eyes and their torn robes obediently follow the wind. They suspend their food search mission for a while, they hold each other tightly together in a circle with their heads facing down to hide and prevent their innocent faces from the furious wind. They stay attached to each other like glue and this strength saves them from being carried by the wind. Five minutes later the wind calms down and the children start rubbing their eyes; there is no water on site, they dash to a nearby plant and squeeze water out to quench their thirst, the leaves seems to have some water only enough to wet their hands, they lick their fingers in turn, their mouths almost dry.
The sun is setting fast, night comes and they fall asleep along the road, dusty road with no food, no water, nothing. Five hours later the noise of guns wakes them up. With sleepy eyes they drag towards the bushes with bodies shaking like leaves on a windy day, they can hardly talk to each other; they are biting their tongues. Hand grenade falls 50 meters away from them, they are buried by heavy smoke, but they must not make a move, they shake a leg and they will die. They hold their breath for a while, an hour later it is calm, they dig out two of the youngest children from the earth, they look as if they are dead but they are not. They carry them on their backs trembling in fear, they have no idea where their parents are but their father is under a tree a kilometer away. He is used to problems, he has been in it for two decades now. Sometimes you may think he is dead but he is not probably, he hibernates when there is nothing to eat uses less energy and thus leaves longer. The world is completely quieted all over sudden. Death smell from a far, but there is hope, a thin ray of hope, because this is not just about to end. They sit down with a gasp and take in fresh air, the two children are put in a sitting position, and the shoulder supports them, as they look weak. Something runs in their mind, is our father still alive, did he survive the grenades? The children are tired but they have to walk again with empty stomachs on the way they pick leaves that are salty they feed on them, they pick wild fruits, and they get some energy they continue with their journey. They all look the same size, the eyes are tired, they are on a journey to look for their father, will they find him? He is dead, they confirm after holding his pulse. Their hearts stop for a while, their hands frozen, will some one find us?
Life is bitter, painful, and full of distress. The first-born rises with one hand on his chest and says a prayer; "Allah the Most Merciful, hear my prayer at least this one time. My father has come to you and has left us, please come for us we are also in need to be with him." The boys are dusty, their face looked very ashy. Some have given up, their legs can hardly support their tiny bodies; they can only coil and succumb to the hash nature that has swallowed their father and has stolen their mother. Tears at this time may not help much. Even though "we cry a whole bucket, it may not help much. We must stand and work and fight for peace in our forgotten country. No one else knows we are here apart from our father who has already left us." The eldest son consoled the siblings.
The children struggled to stand but no energy is left, they looked weary and drowsy. "Now we have no choice we must be strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must smile again. We know we do not deserve this injustice and heavens are our witness." The children prayed.
Just after a few minutes an elderly man passed by and saw the distressed children, he paused and told them, “young men take heart, I have not seen a smile in this town. They have all disappeared in the thin air.” The eldest son calls the rest, but the youngest two could not answer the call, they lie on their stomachs, with their heads covered in the dust, they are lifted from the ground, no signs of life, they have been overcome by hunger and fatigue. The rest try to hug and breath life in them but all was in vain. Tears ran down their young cheeks, in their torn robes. We have no mother, no father, no children’s home to run to, we can only sit on the hot sun and sand and wait for our death.
The old man say’s "We have been waiting for 17 years. And we do not know our fate in future. I hear my watch tick incessantly on the nightstand, and for sure peace has not come, but as the clock continues to tick, peace will be approaching the entire Somalia, and the cloud of shelling, bestial killings shall pass away. One day."