Found Among the Rubble

March 7, 2012
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They are coming. They have decided that we have starved enough, and that we will be weak enough to be slaughtered. They used to drop bombs and fire great cannons at our once beautiful city, and now they have decided that that was not enough to quench their thirst for blood. Our emperor tells us to persevere. He says that we must stay strong in the face of our evil enemies, the ones who attacked us unprecedentedly. But I know the truth. I know it was our emperor who stirred up trouble, who caused others pain with his command of soldiers.

I am too young to use a gun. I am too young to go to the schools far away where children will be safe from the bombs. I am one of those who are too young to become soldiers and too useless to be saved. I am supposed to stay in my home and die. But I will not do what they say. I will not curl up in my filthy house-sewer and die like a miserable rat. They told us that the enemies cannot hurt us. I have seen that this is a lie. So I will ignore what the liars say and be a surviving rat rather than a dead one.

The enemies are like demons who come out from a black pit that leads to hell. They endlessly pour out, hundreds of them, with evil in their hearts. But I know why. I know that the emperor has terrorized the wasp's nest, and now the angry wasps are here for vengeance. That seed of terror has grown into a mighty tree of fury. It was our emperor who opened to hole to hell.

My mother is starving. My father has gone to fight, and he is dead. My brother has gone to the school for the children to be safe from the bombs. I have not heard from him. Probably he is dead like everyone else. Soon I too, will lie dead.

Now the flowering trees are no longer flowering but are bare limbs and trunks, and the wind sings a long, sad song through the branches that tells us about what the city was once like. Everywhere I look, I see fire and charred stone and broken glass. In the distance I always hear faint booming and shouting. Here, I hear moaning and faint sobbing. And always, always the song of the wind through the trees.

Perhaps my situation is hopeless. Perhaps the world will never know of the little dirty barefoot boy dressed in rags. Perhaps it will never know of my stomach-clenching starvation. But they say the pen is mightier than the sword. I have learned that instead, the pen is what sends the swords to the soldier's hands. The emperor has shown me this much. He writes his speeches, and our men go to fight. So I will write what I have to say, and the world will see him naked as he truly is. Then the swords shall clash again.

Until then, I am just the little barefoot boy. Until then I will starve and stubbornly cling to life. Until then, I will walk past burned shops and eat nuts and wood off of the street. Until then I will comfort my mother, who was raised to think that women are weak. Now I will have no choice but to put my bare foot down on the bloody, scorched road, and stand, immovable like a statue. Because the emperor will not fight for the children. He will not fight for the starving women and the dying, useless bodies that were once people. So I must fight for them instead. Maybe my words will make someone sob out in anguish. Maybe they will convince someone important like the emperor that something is wrong with the world. Maybe, someday, my words will make someone decide that they have had enough. The enemies are not far off now. I can hear them yelling and shouting, preparing for the imminent invasion. Until then, I am the little barefoot boy who is standing in the street.

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