To the children cold in death in Houla, Syria and to Assad and Asma, the sky is covered with blood!

So many people have died in Syria, I begin to see the blood drip here where I am. And children. Is it possible that Assad has killed children for this long? How can we sleep when children's jaws are being crushed? This was in January 2012

When I saw Kofi Annan arrive in Syria, something stirred deep within me. The last time I saw this man in action in a situation where a nation loses all reason and violence holds sway was in my own country Kenya in 2008. He had come to intervene as thousands were being killed because an election tussle over votes. The country was riven by diferences which seemed to be based on ethnicity but the deep reason was the lack of resources of the poor sharing of national resources. We had seen fire. Deaths. Pain. Rape. So much in a short and horrendous period. I saw Kofi Annan headed to you and I had hope. But each time I saw him there I also shuddered. It is not easy to stop these struggles of power. I sent energy as much as I could but we all knew it was no easy task to get a ceasefire. The world must do what it can immediately. Russia and China have always lagged behind on this issue. Let them now hear the cries of the dying children becaus to whom I return and say.

If it was mine to give, I would return your lives and souls to you children of Syria, killed in Houla and else where. For we already said that the world has betrayed Syria, so many months ago, and now, the betryal is in your cold bodies. Do we carry on doing the same? We have sent away many Syrian diplomats, but you, you are dying in death. In little clothes bought only recently, they shot you at close range, and they are shooting someone else just now. But I, I am still mending your clothes in this time of night. Food was alien to me for a long time. For I know other children who never came back, when a dictator of many years would not listen. Children of Syria, cold in death, how do I tell you that I had trembled before when singing to the child of the mother of Naivasha, Kenya who lived never to voice the terrors you saw? How do I sleep when I remember a little boy telling the story of how he cheated death? How do we cheat life now? Who takes all this trauma?

Is it possible that Asma Al Assad and Assad are still sleeping well and eating caviar? Is Asma still smiling? Is she still calling herself the real dictator as these children are buried?

Photo One, Your massacre in Houla, May 25th 2012

I came close and I saw how the photo as you lay there. Your little blue trousers. I saw each stitch in the hem. I saw each thread around the ankles and no more above for blood had soaked you. I saw your orange T-shirt with little holes in the back and your chocked flesh. I wondered if the Holy Innocents are forever. I saw your mother with the last cry for you on her lips. I felt the thirst of panic that constricted her throat and the bullets that rang through her breasts. Close range.  I saw us killing life. So many children wrapped in shrouds. So many. So many. A crime against humanity. Thousands are dead.

Photo Two, The Child of Naivasha, February 2008

He sat on a rude chair, the wooden door of a one room house was half open. The photographer found his mother's blood still flowing. Sometimes I touch the mystery of life and ask why. He saw that she lay on her back after maybe hours of rape all for votes. Your started to cry before they killed her and you are still crying in Syria. I have seen that you are dying again everywhere. I ask, what is our worth? Are our lives votes for dictators to burn, kill and sometimes bury secretly. A crime against humanity. Thousands are dead. Many walk forever in search of a place to sleep in and a home in their souls.

Malak who died hungry, Sept 2, 2006

The photo of Malak came to me through Michael Schmidt in South Africa. He has been traversing wars and writing. He wrote back in 2006:

 "- but for me, the face that defined the war will always be that of two-year-old Malak Jubeily, lying dead in a morgue in the southern port city of Sidon.
Malak lived in the predominantly Shi’ite suburb of Ghazieh, south-east of Sidon. Tall for her age, she had just complained to her father Ali Mohammed Jubeily, 31, that she was hungry, when an Israeli rocket slammed into the tiny cemetery next door to her house on August 8. Shrapnel from the rocket - targeted at a funeral being held for the entire families of a pharmacist named Khalifeh and a fisherman named Badran, killed in the Israeli bombing of the central square of Ghazieh the previous day - cut open Malak’s belly and sliced through her left thigh.
Malak bled to death." He writes about Malak because he says that 15% of deaths in wars are of innocent children.

He writes in his first Note that: ) The reasons I name Malak are firstly, that she represents 27% of those killed on the Lebanese side: children under 15 who are clearly not legitimate military targets. And secondly, because humanity needs to be injected into these debates, not for reasons of sentiment, but because if we are waging a battle for the heart of society, we have to care about actual people.
Read the whole story here:

Mis lagrimas para Regina no basta
Se ha ido el camino que debemos cerrar
Un cierro de hierro y de corazon
Regina reina de la verdad
Que te podemos dar tus heridas ahora?
Como aseguramos que ninguna otra muera?
Que con tus queridos tal vez chiquillos?


My tears Regina for are not enough
She has gone the path we are challenged to close
An iron closure of and of the heart
Regina, queen of the truh
What can we give to your wounds now?
How do we guarantee another does not die?
What about your beloved perhaps little ones?

Singing in every land

Tell sad a sad that

It will never be a strange land
When it is someone’s home it is mine too
You wonder where I come from this rhythmic dynamo
With talking drums calling no one fails to rise
How can we sleep when our land is fire?

Syria is not thousands of miles from home
In our palms we can see her map
In our lives her shape is tatooed in mourning
How shall it be possible that we are not dying in her?
I would my alarm wake me every hour of day
Women are giving their wombs for tombs

I saw the same arrows hit my homeland once
Sitting in our own land, home became exile
When a map is freer than the land and death is trodden
Beyond the rivers of Babylon must strong song be heard
You sing a song how you can for every bed is a strange land
when violence is every padlock and blood every key

I will sing my song with and without tuneful drums
In the music I will dream beyond sand dunes
Of horror, music daring submerged in 'daymarish' victory
I will ask myself what my thoughts can do
I will answer to my own question with something I know

I have known too my nation too held by a thread of life
Cobwebs of thoughtful prayer remained our all
When gripped by fear and engulfed in fire voices outside were all
Then I felt far winds dry our tears and saw desert dust turn into bread
When energies focus the world knows to renew

Maybe is not maybe in this unreasonable horror
the dead are not sleeping and us too make vigil
The hour of pain is shared only by the chosen few
Easy to count on five fingers continents
We are going to rent the skies with thought
make a cloth and wipe the blood from your land

It must rain reason in Syria now, not tomorrow
Graves and broken bones also deserve peace
Justice must be written on every ruin so sad
We all rise up like grains of sand and tell
And we tell you a sad on a sad day the truth
That the moon still rises and stalks the sun
We will not be silent, we watch every eye and keep
our lips moving and our hands talking.

So Brutal

Nawal el Sadaawi, novelist and medical doctor, Egyptian, said in an interview on Talking Books, BBC, that she never cut any child in he of culture and Female Genital Mutilation. She did not cut boys either. Not even when they were brought to her because she just felt it was naturally wrong.

She is Egyptian where FGM custom was born in pharaonic times. Why would some doctors do this today in European capitals even as we yearn to be heard in rural areas of continents that do this to girls? Why? How many are arrested? How complacent is society in this issue. How silence? Someone has got to break this silence. All the girls who are undergoing this should be told it is not fine even when they feel like they made a choice. It is not a choice to make. 

Is this mutilation not the mother of all violence in the world?

No doubt, violence breeds. I have heard I have heard it said and seen it.
I know that the WHO is teaching some new groups- circumcision even of men was not accepted everywhere and that includes in Afrika- that this is a good thing to do to men for health. I often wonder if this very painful thing does not leave in the minds of some the need to pass it on and hurt someone else in the pretext that it is traditional pain. 

I appreciate that when it comes to Female Genital Mutilation it is not just about the pain of the terrible exercise but actually a nightmarish wound that follows women all their lives as some die during childbirth. This custom must be outlawed in the lands where it prevails and almost instantly! Some leaders do not sleep because there is a financial crisis. All leaders should hold a vigil declare something new in this area! Measures can be found!

The Declaration or Oslo's Islamic Fatwa was signed in our presence on 19th November 2011. Pan African Women   (PAWA) organised the event. It was well attended. Am I happy because I was there? Am I happy because I recited a powerful poem in which I wrestle that knife from pharaoh's hand? Mutilation of girls was indeed was started by pharaoh and it is deep down about power. Am I happy because I got a huge ovation and even a flower vase for a token after reading? No. I am not.

I am not because "my sister still lies on the island bleeding." FGM is practised on children, women and girls. Male circumcision is something else but it has also played a part in legitimizing FGM. Do we still go to sleep on this issue? This child is healthy and well. This child is maimed for life. This kind of cutting happens to girls in many continents but it is almost impossible to find a photo from groups outside of Afrika. 

Who is arrested for this brutality? Is this what some people even say is voluntary?

When it comes to girls and women, our world has simplified this problem. It is about children too. This is criminal. A jihad is better placed. It should not go on at all. It is a way of shutting someone up, down or both  forever. Cutting women and shutting their voices. When they it is done later in some communities say at the age of 14, truth be told. The men are then told they can now take those girls as wives because they are cut. So the girls are intimidated in peer groups. No one likes to stick out as different. They are then told to be proud of belonging there. They may speak proudly after it. I know this is done. But what they do not understand is that they are being told they can only be accepted if they are cleaned of something. What is dirty about them? In any case, how much are they really accepted? They are reduced to objects. The word for this in Kiswahili I know is kutahiri.. close to the word for freedom which you almost catch in the word Tahrir .. Ooomm! I know the word is related to uhuru which means freedom in Kiswahili. When I started thinking about this I had to shout: NO! Freedom Now!

Someone tell Nawal El Saadawi who told us that she is not tired of fighting to go back to Tahrir Square for women. Women cannot be left behind in the prisons the pharaohs created for them with regard to FGM.  Someone tell her that she defied this culture and that she needs to sit at Tahrir Square and tell off doctors who are doing this. Her voice will reach the villages too. Someone tell her that doctors in Cairo need to live the hippocratic oath! Tell them again and again. Let Afrika defend her women and children in all her constitutions. Let the world do the same. Freedom Now! 

Circumcision as seen in the world.

1 comment:

  1. You know Philo,
    Nawal al Saadawi in her autobiography said that her mum taught her to write and read and this liberate her... she never accepted to do genital mutilation because of that... reading and writign, being educated made her free to choose, to find answers and stand for women's right. i love her! Thank's for reminding her.