During the Sierra Leonean civil war, there was a young man who the rebels beheaded. See they placed his head on a spike just on the side of the road that lead to our farm. Everyday we would walk by this young man of whom no one knew by name. Some would wonder what this man’s crime was, but as a child, I only focussed on how different the man looked each day we walked by him. After a while when he wasn’t surrounded by flies, you could see that his flesh was slowly beginning to decay. We held our breaths each time we came close because the smell alone was unbearable. See no one knew what this man’s crime was, and just like the many dead bodies we came across, see no one knew what they had done to deserve what they did. Many times we put these questions aside, for you knew deep in your heart that someday you may find yourself in the same place, left in the hot sun with flies surrounding you. That you would be left on the side of the road for vultures to feed on your flesh.

Before I continue this story, I must tell you one that’s pressing my conscience. See we once had a man that lived across the hill at the other end of the village, where he lived with his wife and child. One evening we heard drums from afar, but as the sound got closer, we saw that it was this man’s wife. She was carrying a basket on her head, and behind her were few Rebels with guns and few with drums parading across the town. The basket on her head was made from bamboo so we could see through it. At first everyone was confused but things were made clear once we heard one of the rebels say, “this is what happens to traitors, anyone that would dare leave this town to give our whereabouts”. By hearing that, we now knew what the woman was carrying and more evidence would be given once we saw blood dripping on her face and on her shoulders.

See what had happened was, our neighbour was suspected of leaving the town and as a punishment, he was cut into bits in front of his wife and son while he was still alive. After, his parts were placed in a basket for his wife to carry. They paraded through the whole town with this woman just to send that message. I remember it like it was yesterday. See the one thing I will not forget, is the tears of that woman, having to carry her loved one in that manner. See the world is cold, and I wonder if it has always been.

I know all of us have different realities and pasts, and I am truly grateful to this Land that has given me the opportunity to rewrite my story. A land that has given me the chance to relive a childhood that was stolen from me.

See i will speak no lies, for my words have never failed to express the things my heart intends.
The world is cruel, the violence has no end but yet the fools pretend.

Life is unfair, one day the poor will seek revenge.
We lack love and compassion, so one day our sons and daughters will reproduce the grief we have buried deep inside our souls.

I heard the world is cold, the violence is graphic, the wounds we’ve tried to mend.
See the weak suffers , and the hopeless awaits for christ to descend.

So please let us know where you reside as we call
For if men were God’s, misery befalls us all.

Thank you for reading my story, I may have a book out some day with more stories. Thanks again.

Abdul Smith.

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