This Is Africa

By , Aptos, CA
Africa. How could such a beautiful continent be reduced to this? Pillage, rape, murder, and the fire. My village and my family; dead. The elders of the village, men I had looked up to for my whole life, slaughtered like pigs in front of my own eyes. The weak and disabled as well. Gone. Young children who could barely lift water from the river each day, were executed in front of their own mothers by grinning men. They were the lucky ones. Children who could hold a gun, did, and were brought in as soldiers. Men who looked strong enough were sent to work collecting some resource to fuel the war. Diamonds and ivory mostly. I can not help but chuckle. These jewels, these beautiful resources that people buy to increase standing amongst their peers, to exult themselves and make them fine to look at, is what is keeping us down. It shoves us into the ruddy dirt while lifting everyone else.

The village was burned and leveled. Bits of charred wood and furniture may still dot the area. The wind still blows and the grass still moves and life seems to go on. Why didn’t anything seem affected? Where was the justice? Why does life just go on? There was no stopping. No pausing to morn the dead. It was as if nothing happened. The whole world was just ignoring us. People died and people didn’t care. Someone hear my plea!

I, myself, heard the rebels coming. They were whooping and laughing, with sporadic gunfire. I ran as fast as I could through the trees and brush. Branches tore at my face drawing crimson lines of blood. Twigs and other things I can not think of ripped the skin off my feet, but I kept running. As I hid in a thick bush I suddenly felt guilty as I watched the massacre. I left people I had known since I was not yet two in a death pit of chaos, blood, and the ringing of bullets, the dicing of flesh. But, most of all the screams. At least, that was what I feared the most. There is something so brutally inhumane about the scream. Maybe it is the sound of our souls being clawed out of us.

I lived though. I sometimes think I should not have, that I should have died amongst those I had abandoned. Sometimes I have looked for a rope, then I look out at the world around me and stop. The wind still blows, the grass still sways, life ends and then sprouts anew. This is the world I have known for nineteen years. This is Africa.





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