Posts Tagged ‘war’

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Mum’s picture

I was in the market today and I just sat in the passenger seat looking at every single person walking on the road. I watched them and categorised them. They were mostly stereotypes. The pregnant housewife with a baby on her back, a child holding her hand and bags of groceries on the other. College girls cat walking dreaming of marriage to a rich and handsome man. Local hoodlums with cheap earpieces in their ears thinking of the drugs and alcohol and girls they’ll get later in the night; looking forward to the next robbery they’ll make.

While I was busy stereotyping, at the back of my mind I knew I was in a crowded area and hadn’t forgotten that the last bombing was not far from where I was. I thought to myself, what if the car beside me has a bomb in it? Or what if one of these people walking pulls out gun and starts firing sporadically or a hijacker enters the drivers seat and kidnaps me? Questions questions questions.

I have seen the worst in a crisis before, one time a teenager placed a really long dagger on my throat- at the time I was 12 – and asked me to pray, another time, I watched in horror as a mob pounced on a man and poured petrol on him and set him alight, I also watched  youths like me as  they ate another human being “an act done in war, they said”.

I would have thought that after witnessing all this I should be immune to fear but fear is still there. I have accepted the type of environment I am in and have adapted so much that I don’t fear death. The only thing I fear is how my death will be like.

I don’t want to die in the hands of another human being, I don’t want to die painfully… I just want a smooth passing. When I say these things to my friends they look at me like I am some sort of psycho but I will not live in self denial or close my eyes to the probabilities.

Let me not divert from the main message here though. Do I want to be a stereotype?( If death doesn’t come early) A girl who gets married eventually, secures some sort of menial job, have children, cook, clean, watch tv, eat and sleep, get grandchildren and then die?? No.

That is not what life is supposed to be like. I want to see the world, find love (not this generation’s version of love but our grandparents/great grandparents version, do something great. Not be too rich but just finding a balance.

I will not settle for normal. I will be the girl wearing a red shirt among other people wearing blue shirts. I will settle for different. Let them talk, let them say and think what they want. They aren’t me and will never be me.

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The following story you are about to read is my form of research. This is the best way I can address real life issues and it works for me. It is about the terrorism in my country…Nigeria. Their brutal methods and lack of humanity.

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Guns, fire, machetes, loud cries, popping sounds, blood! Blood everywhere! What is happening? I see them in their hundreds. Some are on foot while others are on bikes. They are everywhere! Where is mother and father? They said they would protect me! Where are they?!  I need them! My little brother and sister are wailing! I can’t attend to them now… I need to run.

It was peaceful this morning. I and my friends went to pluck mangoes from our neighbour’s orchard and he chased us with a very long stick. We were laughing but we still got the mangoes. They were very delicious. Daddy bought me a lollipop although mother is always against me taking sugar. They worked it out though…

O no! I can’t run. They are here. Two of them. They are dressed in dirty trousers and torn shirts. They have shawls wrapped around their necks and their heavy boots are dusty. Both of them have guns and bullets wrapped around their bodies. There are knives on their belts.

I don’t know whether to be scared or not. My hands are shaking and my sister and brother won’t stop crying. One of them go to the mattress where my siblings are. He picks my brother up. No! Mama said to take care of him! He removes his knife and…

I see blood! More blood! My feet are numb. I can’t move. I don’t understand… My brother he’s not crying anymore neither is my sister. I am half happy that the annoying noise has stopped and half scared. What does it mean?? They are about to leave but one of them brings out a matchbox and creates fire. I don’t like fire. One time I put my hand in a candle flame and it hurt. I see my mother rushing in. I want to go to her but the other one seizes her by her veil.

“We will keep this one eh…” He laughs and injures her with his knife.

There is fire everywhere… I can’t stand it. I run out of the house and into the hands of the man. My mother…she sees me. She is crying. I want to go to her. The other one slaps me! Father is the only one allowed to slap me! I beat him back but he laughs wickedly. He releases me and I run to mother.

They have put us in the back of a truck. I can’t see anything. They put a cloth around my eyes. Are we playing hide and seek? Is this a game? I don’t like this game.  The journey is long and tiring. Finally! It has stopped. My eyes hurt! The sunlight is sharp and intense. They are pushing me and mother. I see other people. Some are looking so thin. Oh my! Where is that old man’s legs… What are they doing to him. Pop! He’s lying still now. My mother… she covers my eyes.  I want to bathe, I am hungry.

It is two days now and I have not eaten or bathed. I heard mother screaming yesterday. She made me promise to close my eyes so I couldn’t see why she was screaming. When I opened them, I saw her at the corner. She was praying. Her clothes were torn and her face was bruised.

I am in a car now. I don’t know where they are taking me. It is very hot and they beat me for complaining about the Hijab they made me wear. My mother screamed as she watched me go. I don’t know why she was screaming. They said that if I did what they said, I could go home with mama back to daddy, but if I didn’t, they would make mama cry. The thing they’ve wrapped around me is poking my belly and arms. It is too heavy but I will do what they want so they can take me back home. Then I will play with my friends in the stream and steal apples from my neighbour’s orchard. Then go to school and read those books with nice little pictures in them.

I come down from the car and go to where the market stall is. They are watching me. They said to look for where people are. I see them. I see small people like me laughing. I see big people watching a football match. I see women doing their hair. O how I hate doing my hair… Boom!!!!

This is now the terrorists M.O. Using small children mostly girls as suicide bombers. I have no idea what leads to it though. This is just how I imagine it happening. This week a ten year old girl was arrested after being caught wearing a suicide vest under her Hijab.

Reality hurts.