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Habib's Dying Breath

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When it happened I was a boy of twelve.
Habib was just nine, yet I thought of myself.
The Beja Rebels gave us the guns.
With them we wouldn’t be afraid to go out without the sun.
They only asked of us one thing,
To kill any Arab seen.

So on that first day of war
I had hardened my heart, so I wouldn’t care anymore.
We knew what the Arabs thought of our skin,
Although here, we were the first to have been.
Sudan was our country
To take it back ,we were told, was our destiny.

We saw the Arabs drift out of the dunes like djinn.
When they saw our guns their eyes were keen.
The little demon I held in my hands began to spit.
Then I saw that the Arab on horseback was hit.
He fell to the sand, his face blank.
A boy Habib’s age crept from the caravan and at the man’s side he sank.

I heard a snap and a pow.
I had forgotten my brother, though I don’t know how.
I turned around and the blood is what I saw.
“There is no power nor strength save by Allah!”
My brother had used his last breath to say that ward.
That is when I realized that there is no reason for war.





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