The Internally Displaced Persons

23 Sep

If I could find justice, then I would scream at the top of my voice. Speak I can, converse I do, give speeches, I have…yet still I am unable to scream for help. I long for a helping hand, I crave justice, my heart pleads for mercy… but scream? I cannot. If I could, I would, but since I can’t, then I won’t. Pen in hand, paper underneath, let these words scream for me.

    The Internally Displaced

I knew freedom up until I was made slave in my own country; I knew peace up until chaos rent my air; I knew love up until hatred pulled down my wall and kicked its way into my life; I knew joy and contentment up until bitterness and despair proved a more worthy comrade; I knew my place and my rights in my motherland up until blood was spilt over boundaries… then, everything that once was became a dream, an illusion, almost as if, for the first time, my eyes were open to reality.

Friend turned foe and my neighbor was no longer my brother. Hate speech, curse words, insults and threats were served in enormous portions; children were fed on lies and forbidden to play with traitors. Shops were no longer open to those from certain tribes, even lovers from different communities could no longer walk together for fear of their lives…so long bliss, we will savor in your memories. And what started out as our democratic right became our bureaucratic plight. As lambs to the slaughter, we dragged our feet to polling stations, bleating out our support for the wise, ‘unbwogable’ ones, pledging to rally behind them no matter what, but we meant little of what we said…

Then came the war cries, the bangs at our doors, the smashing of windows and rustling of our herds; a scream here, another there… terrible mayhem and not a second left to cry! Not a minute to reconcile the family and give a parting shot! One after another, we fled for our lives, young and old, rich and poor, once united by colloquial vibe, now separated by elements of tribe, factors beyond any man. Or say, who chose to be born in their clan and family? One could see bodies left, right and centre, and of those alive, the faces told the story: some full of hate and anger, others full of fear and agony. No one loves to die, at least not in this way. They sought us in the fields, schools and homes… in churches even. Their arrows as poisonous as can be, their machetes sharpened on stone by the midnight fire. And even where no weapons sufficed, fires were started and men, women and children were made flaming torches, screaming helplessly to their death as the enemy stood by, one would think this to be butchery with roast meat on displayL.

And still, some of us survived. With broken limbs, scarred bodies, burnt homes, no property, lost loved ones…name it, and we made it. We sought solitude in numbers and tried to heal amongst ourselves, to love again, to rebuild that which was torn down. And when it got hard, we allowed ourselves to cry. They came to visit, all of them that had homes, even the ones we elected to power, and at least for a while we felt their love and presence. But soon, the trucks stopped coming, the dust settled and we were left alone. Once upon a lucky star, they highlighted our plight again, to remind the world that we still needed help, long term solutions and compensations…and when they said there was no money and that we needed to wait, we sat back and waited. Patiently.

Just a fortnight ago, they decided the little money that had surfaced would be sufficient for their luxurious tendencies and allowances. The rest of it (two billion plus) was set aside for a referendum ‘contest’ as it were. Here we are, still waiting for someone to remember and to go the extra mile, to speak for us in a language power understands, to push them to act in our favor…because every day, by doing nothing, they dig up our lousy graves a bit more. We want to live, because it is our fundamental right to do so. We are gasping for fresh breathe, longing to sleep and dream again…

To everyone responsible, please, bear the burden of the very process that got you where you are, that earned you that title and gave you the car, house and other extremities only you can enjoy…the same process that denies me the right to simply be…Kenyan- with no tags (IDP) or otherwise.


Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Outcry


11 responses to “The Internally Displaced Persons

  1. Abraham

    September 27, 2010 at 12:40

    As i read this, the picture is still so clear in my mind. It’s sad yet the reality. No one cares no more about the IDPs. I was travelling to Kisumu a month or so ago and saw the white tents and my heart broke. May God change our hearts to love one another.

  2. Njambi

    September 27, 2010 at 12:58

    Whatever it is we do…if we have not love, it profits us nothing. I see the tents on tv every other day and i hear what it is the parties concerned say in their defense…and it all makes me realize, that we have devolved into a selfish and careless generation. what-is-in-it-for-me-and-mine is a question that dictates the cause we take and fight for 😦 sad indeed.

  3. Dawn

    September 27, 2010 at 14:39

    My heart breaks when I see this n I remember leafing through the bk released on the post election violence called ‘kenya burning’ and I saw pictures tht cut me to the core. One was especially significant: men on a field with bows and arrows crouching, tkng aim, literally hunting other men, their own neighbours n friends.

    • Njambi

      September 28, 2010 at 07:14

      like you Dawn, i am tired of just crying and sulking at the memory, i feel need to do something about it. leave a mark that counts, a mark that’s more beautiful than painful, one that heals wounds more than it inflicts them. like you, i choose to try make a difference, to be that difference.

  4. Abraham

    September 27, 2010 at 16:23

    I agree with the statement “what-is-in-it-for-me-and-mine is what drives our fight and passion for any cause we take” What can we do differently?

    • Njambi

      September 28, 2010 at 07:18

      now THAT, Abraham dear, is THE question we all need to ask and find an answer to. Personally, i will not point fingers any more. I will take responsibility for this Nation’s actions and well-being in my capacity as a 21-year old. If i am old enough to vote and be president, if i am well able to write about it, then i am definitely fit enough to be the change i want to see.

      • Abraham

        September 28, 2010 at 07:36

        Yes dear. We are way past the blame game. Taking responsibility is the first step to change. I totally agree that we are fit enough to be the change we desire so much.

  5. Faith

    September 27, 2010 at 17:20

    So sad that we’ve forgotten our own brothers and sisters. I cnt blame the government(a little maybe) but reading this makes me wonder ‘what have i done myself to help?’. I may not have the means,but a prayer may go a long way,contributing what i have can help even if in just a small way. Its not so much what the government has done or not done,its more of what the millions of kenyans not displaced have done,it is what u and i have done. Writing this will help remind us that we need to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. This article(u may not know it) is a big step to the change that kenya needs especially those who are displaced in their own country.

  6. Njambi

    September 28, 2010 at 07:25

    The first step to a thousand miles. And every one of us has a role to play. Thanks Faith 🙂 What role is yours? (the reader)

  7. mwangi

    September 28, 2010 at 10:17

    question:will this happen again,i dont know but am scared!if it does dont know what i’ll do coz i was really scared at that time


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