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.