by Victor Ehikhamenor
From The Justice Issue
We, children without revolution, in our private solitude, rage not against machine guns nor goons, but them. We chew on vinegary decisions made of their promises. Eternally we hold up our right thumbs stained with ink of broken hopes.
Now they laugh at our legitimisation, snickering at the snail that brought slime on itself. No man is born not to do something, but we did not dam our rivers to harvest this rain of thunders.
We yell internally, we the children of no revolution, in our private solitude. They don’t hear us, they never have. The sound of plundering pounding hearts has soundproofed their conscience. They do not see our tears, their eyes are set on the next fat cow to milk dry. We are here with them, urchins with tin cups in this country of ours that flows away with honey, milk, oil and blood. Behind tall fences, what is left of our future is carved and carried overseas in bulging suitcases. But when the eyes stay in the dark for long, it begins to see the truth – we have grown piercing gazes that see beyond walls and tinted windows.
‘Let there be light’ is a joke in this kingdom of darkness without a king. ‘Half current’ equals half living. ‘No current’ at all is a matter of inhaled graves filled with. “We have a solution,” they screamed. But megawatts promised is mega bucks filched. Where there is vacuum, evil will pitch a tent; hence our days and nights are now illuminated by splattering explosives, man-made thunder that crushes men, as charred children form ashes in the eyes of wailing mothers who are the inconsolable casualties.
Dawn has lost its birdsong in our land. We are tired of singing dirges. We clutch our bibles and babies with churches and cathedrals on our minds, but we sit still on seats of fear in our private solitude. Our streets wear beautiful mournful loneliness. Welcome to the soulless capital city of Africa’s most populous country, our rulers are prisoners behind electric fences and towering walls.
Sunday morning, hungry for good news, we hasten to newspaper vendors and are confronted with headlines of screaming mothers and murders and politics and tricks plotted to gang rape the motherland. We scream silently because the drum of our voices has been blasted with lies. Let us pray that we know in whose God’s name we have become the sacrificial lambs. Silently being offered for a block in this plaza, a bloc in that bazaar, we have become the seeds in a bloody Ayo game of bottomless holes. Hollow hearted men build mansions with big grammar, mopping sins of their masters with belaboured condolence speeches. These kingfishers have a good deal in catching a fish and drinking water in one fell swoop.
In our private solitude where we replace broken street lights with renewable zeal to see where the path to the future is, we haven’t seen them point us to the right direction. So in our private solitude we refuse to sing praise songs for the barbarians. Look us in our red eyes and say you don’t remember when the shoes were on the other legs. Someday, they will not forget we came to worship in their shrine but they had no high priest, only sticky finger acolytes.
An insatiable hundred steal billions from millions of us, with our sweats wash their bloody hands. The fish must swallow a hooked worm, forgetting greed has a sickle of death attached to its every bait. But who can blame the buffalo that did not smell the lion’s urine, a patched throat must be slaked. Who can fault the lion who lunched on the buffalo, unattended hunger is a murderer. We cannot exonerate those whose stomachs are already distended, yet take the children’s bread and fish and give them stone and shrivelled snake. The cannibalistic food chain of carnivores and cabals can be hard to swallow, especially for those who carry fire
in their bellies and cannot stomach Western education. Before ballot boxes blood brothers we were, this bloody brotherhood was brought upon us by careless greed. Yet they care not, as long as they have their Saturday evening Bloody Mary, with full fingers intact on Sunday morning for Hail Mary in body-guarded churches.
In our private solitude we, the children without revolution, tremble continually to the bitter sacrilegious sacrament they put on our desiccated tongues. How do we say this topography was like that and that geography was like this? Who will explain the future of this frightened borderline where two rivers, warm and cold, used to be?
This opposite of peace up north and mortgaged ceasefire down south can’t be written off like other histories..Will they lie we were divided with a cartographer’s pen as in Berlin when we know it was with bombs, Kalashnikovs and muted inaction? Though we worry and ponder on how to explain our decimated geography, a-looter continua, victimisation ascerta for them.
But wait, how do they sleep through this loud noise, the bangs and our knocks for help? With hands on our heads, we the children without revolution, yearn for yesterday’s Pharaoh since our Moses has folded like cheap umbrella. Not in nostalgia do we remember the martial music that woke us up from our slumbers in the past, but it’s hunger that makes the king’s son yearn for the orphan’s yam. We are holding tight to our slippery birth right but the sweet smell of foreign porridge beckons like mirage. We children without revolution are Nigerians. We are Nigerians?
Our country beckoned and we, children without revolution, responded. If we have to go queue in asylum ant lines, warming our palms by furiously rubbing frozen souls in strange lands, may their might be reduced to a widow’s mite. And may their strengths and sight be reduced to Samson’s simplicity in the treacherous fatality laps of Delilah.
First published in Daily Times, Nigeria
Photo: P. Sam