Sudan- Threat of war 2012 turned into war in 2014

South Sudan celebrates own identity on 9th July 2011. Less than a year later, how do we turn her dancing into mourning? South Sudan celebrated only just yesterday and  now.. and now she is threatened. 

The president of Sudan has a warrant of arrest from the International Criminal Court.

South Sudan, Sudan cannot afford a war. The people are tired of war. I saw their shoulders and and ribs. I saw their legs and heard their heart beat in the South. They cry for Garang but he is dead.  I cannot bear another war in Sudan. The Sudanese only need justice. Focus. Leadership. It is a shame to see a hungry and sick woman shielding herself from bombs! We must not allow this to happen! No! Not war!

I saw this man....

The Old Man Juba
man of (many) wars (Manowaris) 
That old, tall, thin, bent, black man at Totto Chan,
a child centre cook so gentle.
His image refuses to leave my mind,
like other old and,
lonely men, I saw in our villages;
 and in Nairobi.

When he sat outside to rest after work,
you could hear the tide and fall of his memories,
talking to you long, long stories,
silently surrounding him.
And a loneliness of knowing wrapped him.

Old men, war veterans now,
In tattered old shoes.
To *habari they answer *msuri,
Njema has never been their ngeli*.
And sometimes they stare at you
With an open mouthed *jambo!
So the old man at Totto Chan,
He will only say *‘tamam’
And *‘kwes”.

Yes, I guess he speaks,
to the war still.

His pelvic bones at the back became like two guns,
covered thinly by a T-shirt that reads,
‘paix sur le terre’ .
Peace on Earth.
Is there any good will here?
Porque sobre la tierra,
Because on the earth,
Madre mia, veo solo tu sangre;
Mother of mine, I only see blood.
Y es todavia de un Cristo Moreno
And is it still of a black Christ?
?Y porque otro Cristo negro?
And why another black Christ?
Los poderesos no duermen.
The powerful do not sleep.
Coge mis lagrimas por pobre son tus pies,
Take my tears for your feet are poor.
Simon cireneo
Tambien fue negro,
Was also black.
ahorita por ser recta, diran de color.
Today they will say he had color to be proper in language.
?¡Hay siempre condenacion en color!? Miedo? Ay! always condemnation in color, fear?

The Old man of Juba
His feet, long, long:-
Sudanese texture and height,
are also like two guns,
whose toes have fired much,
and not an extra grain of weight.
I wonder does he remember any traditional stories?
He listens to the blessing of the haunting wind.
He knows that Dafur is in our bones,
and that is why we weigh more.
Rwanda stares in Kenya’s eyes.
This old man, like the old man of Nairobi,
sits beside a kei- apple fence in town,
its fruits are nowhere close to Adam’s,
neither the ones in your markets fair.

In the city in the sun,
it is at Jevanjee where he,
sits talking to himself.
In Juba he is transported,
in a heat that we could slice.
Earth burns. Air burns.
Wind burns.

But under a thick arch held and formed,
by two well kept bushes,
he tells his story,
to the sun.
It roasts it.

He turns it to
the wind,
it burns it.

He waits for the moon,
and the rain,
to fall from,
the finger of Garang.
Ancestors demand their land.
They are thirsty.

Totto Chan, name of a centre for children where the poet witnessed two boy soldiers and a girl soldier return.
Toto, means child in Kiswahili.
habari*  a greeting in Kiswahil which means, any news?
 Mzuri is sometimes an answer of the simple and  means good in Kiswahili but
Here it is written as in the dialect of the humble and poor who have no use for sophisticated language.
Njema . is seen as the more classy way of saying, good and actually more correct
 ngeli* Kiswhili nouns are in classes which math with adverbial concordance .
jambo*, any issue worth noting? Was the greeting of the colonizer in Kiswahili
*tamam’ answer to greeting in Arabic and means fine.
And ‘kwes”* which means allright too in simple Arabic

Child Jesus was not.... ?

Anita Powell... the eyes of a hungry child.. I  know I must see them... I must look into them...

The only photo to remember in La Stampa of Italia at the end of 2011 on Africa is not here. It is the photo of a hungry child bathing. It is the only photo on Africa or of an African to be remembered in La Stampa of Italia. It  is the only photo to remember on Africa. Two Senegalese male hawkers were shot down in Firenze on 15. 12. 2011 and four more wounded. I do not deny my starving child of Afrika.
How does the world how sell racism?
 And how it sells conscience in the media. Seen CNN and BBC.. on starvation in Somalia and Dadaab in Kenya? Did that famine end? The famine could not have ended. Dadaab has been open for years. I know my starving people of Afrika. I know their history of power stolen from them. I know no other lands where the photos of children in pain work in the rest of the world like they do in the advanced world. I know I have photos of suffering children. Look at I want Freedom Now! There is a photo there that few people want to see. I just wanted to ask myself some questions about my conscience and yours. I know a journalist committed suicide after seeing and photographing a child dying as the vultures waited, do you know that story? Google it: It is touching. But in our own media, when it is not this child, it is always fat, smartly dressed politicians who have lots of friends in governments all over the world. They are men. You hardly see the women. You do not see our consciences. I do not see the conscience of the world. And that photo down below is not one that I took.. it is not the photo of a child. It is the photo of a starved adult. A photo that Mugabe Roberti, Juliusi Malema, Raila Amollo Odinga and Emilio Kibaki, Meles Zenawi, Nguema, Isaia Efferworki, Kaguta Yoweri Museveni, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Elleni Johnsoni Sirleaf, Bashiri ( to be arrested for crimes against humanity if he steps on Kenyan soil, what about yours in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt? Roma Italia that entertains Mugabe in the Vatican and preaches charity to the needy?)... no I wanted to say these pictures of the dying should be hanging on your walls. They should be your necklaces of gold, ladies in power.. and yours too Kabila, yours rosary on your neck Uhuru Kenyatta, Yours Mama Ngina on behalf of African first ladies and Lucia Kibaki, yours too not just the media's. Yours writers. Yours too not just to complain abou the image of Afrika but mine too when I tell La Stampa to stop its nonsense! I know they hang not such picures  in the homes of Charity started by Mother Teresa, there are real people in Calcutta, in Huruma in Nairobi.. but I wanted to see these pictures where there is no hope of these children stepping there.

I wanted to see them in Parliament. I wanted to hear you in Kenya read JM Kariuki again. The eyes of a hungry child. I wanted to feel your hearts for I can see your heads sleeping. I wanted these pictures in the homes and offices of here is my long list... because these people should not lead countries whose wealth is stolen by them and their friends and dream prosperity for their children. I want to awaken Afrika.. I must do it. I will not burn myself. I will burn this space.. .. watch my matchstick. See the flame of Bouazizi. Borrow fire from fire.Light fire from fire.
Image of Afrika

I am not surprised.During the events that followed that most tragic earthquake in Haiti a year and some months ago, the teacher in our language class was teaching us the meaning of the word fattig in Norwegian. It means 'poor'. She gave examples only of countries of the Africa in her mind. That is the Africa I write with' c' prefering the 'k' which Norwegians use but miss the point on poverty.

My son had already complained about this in his junior classes. He told me they were utterly uncomfortable in class. He was 14 then. He told me he had to tell the teacher that there is a big difference also regarding particulars. That Afrika is not one thick bush full of mountain guerillas and no people... He told his teacher that the difference between Ghana- Gold Coast- and Somalia was immense. That Afrika is not really poor. But the media, supports his teacher...There is poverty in the rest of the world you know.

And we do not like poverty. We work hard. Yes, it is true that children in Zimbabwe and Somalia have been in the news. Dying of starvation in Somalia where not much is said of Aids. And of Aids in Zimbabwe. Yes, it was heartrending and so awful to hear the little girl tell the story of the death of her mother. To see her mother looking like a cross at the bones as her skeleton sticks out in bed. Yes, this is Afrika. It is hard to tell you we do not want to deny this. We do not. And we know you say news is when a man bites a dog.. and not the other way around.. but at the moment, the world would actually be refreshed and find it really good news.. if you showed a healing Africa, happy children tugging at Mama's breasts.. and playing. Yes, we can still come to poverty.. In poverty, there is a very thin line between reducing the evil to the person. We need to cloak the poor in dignity. But more than that we need truths like this one here in a link. Then we shall know who killed those little ones. And a blame game is not enough. It is not. We have to rise above it in dignity and DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE! including telling the news in many formats that empower rather than disempower..

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Philo,what happened to your son and almost at the same age happened to me, when i returned to Italy after growing in South Africa.... my italian school mates didn't know about South Africa, didn't know what apartheid was and they were imagining me going to school in company of giraffes and elephants...(i wouldn't mind though it was different!). I had to explain that Africa is a Continent not a country, that, as you said, and that people, enviromnents, cultures were not the same or just a whole thing. And yes, there are different ways to tell and different things to say....