Personal

Beneath The Realm

What lies beneath the sky? Is there a parallel universe that exists beyond the human eye? I sometimes wonder if there is another dimension that inhabits spirits or mankind. If stars align like they do here. If oceans rise only for them to swim back into their own bodies. If butterflies go through a metamorphosis.  

What is life? And what’s in front of what’s in front? If I knew, I wouldn’t fear anything. Sleeping on the steering on my daily commute wouldn’t frighten me so much. I’d know when not to turn the reverse gear on to avoid hitting the charcoal burner. And the other day, I’d have slowed down in time to spare a cat’s life. Also I’d have hurried to get to work earlier.  I don’t know why what is to happen forms much of my thoughts, but it isn’t pretty because it turns into worry.

I remember a night when the demon that sits on your back while you try to awaken from a nightmare perched all its weight on me. Its clothes were worn out as if it had been working overtime and it flashed a dark smile that revealed fangs on either side of its mouth. The master of doom had sent its aid to cause me terror at a time when I had little caution of myself.   My very first thought was to shout a prayer and in that moment life had never seemed more precious. When I awoke, the possibility of leaving earth in my sleep crept up on me and I stayed up for hours. And the next. And the next. And now it’s been years since I ever slept throughout the night. I’m what they call an insomniac and the truth is that it gets frustrating sometimes because, well, there isn’t any fun in being nocturnal among sleeping humans. If I had known, I’d have pushed the fear of death that night. Maybe I’d have had a normal pattern of rest.

There is, however, no point in ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. We can prepare for the future, but even then, the results are not always certain. The weather girl could make a prediction for a heavy storm tomorrow only for it to come in a week’s time, or never at all. You’d have looked funny carrying an umbrella on a sunny day, but at least you’d have been prepared for the rain. Don’t fear what you can’t control, but more importantly, don’t fear at all. Also, nothing lies ahead of the sky until you prove it and nothing exists beneath this realm unless you see it because spiritual things can’t be explained. They can only be felt.

Fiction · Series

Vile Winds

Chapter 1

The hole in the window gave way to a sharp breeze that brushed against my skin and tiny goose pimples formed. My efforts at masking it with tape couldn’t be seen at all. The wind’s persistence was as stubborn as gravity. The kitchen was suddenly sorrowful.

Sneering at one another, Mother and I rushed for the warmth of the brazier.

+ + +

On a Sunday afternoon, back in March, when the sun blazed through the sky and scorched the maize fields, my father peered through our kitchen and demanded I leave with me. With clothes drenched in beer and breath that smelt like a tavern, he balanced his posture with all his might while he and Biggie exchanged speeches. When my father said he was dutifully bound to care for me, Biggie replied saying he was culturally more entitled to me. The two swapped blows until one of Biggie ‘s fists landed on the window and involuntarily opened a hole. My father turned back on his attempts for a reconciliation and like a wounded Buffalo, he dragged his bruised leg across our compound to his. It was a village away and my heart sometimes thudded at the thought of his unsafety. Biggie, being Mother’s older brother had made a ruling over me that I couldn’t protest because he assumed fatherhood over me upon my birth.

I would not see my father again until many moons later. His refusal to take my mother as his bride even after seeing my resemblance to his pained Biggie tremendously. More than anything, it was Mother’s sorrow that cemented his commitment to caring for us.

Every night, as I lay my head against the pillow, my father consumed my feelings. Deep within me, and Mother too, there were open scars than needed reckoning. We all knew it, but no one dared challenge Biggie.

+ + +

The wind continued to cut through the hole in the window, making the brazier somewhat pointless.

“Can someone cover that thing up,” Biggie barked.

Away from his attention, Mother and I gazed at each other and smiled. We spoke no words, yet our minds met to discuss Biggie’s sudden irritation of the cold. “Has he forgotten who is responsible for its damage?” I asked Mother in mind.

“It seems so,” Mother replied, in mind too, and we giggled in mind.

Facts and History

The Land of a Thousand Hills

Beneath the green slopes and fertile contours that moistened Rwanda’s coffee fields, streams of blood flowed through the country. Bodies with missing limbs and heads were littered in numbers. Orphaned babies sucking from their dead mothers’ breasts sung cries of hunger and pain. Women were raped. Fathers were butchered. Survivors fled to neighboring countries for refuge. It is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, but a dark cloud descended upon the hills that scraped the skies.

This week marks 25 years since the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide. 100 days of fear. 100 days of bloodshed. 100 days of pain. Even though time has passed, memories of the horror still linger in the minds of the victims.

On the 7th of April 1994, the mass murdering of Tutsis begun.

Background of the Genocide

1918 – Rwanda is occupied by Belgium under the Treaty of Versailles. A class system is        created through the issue of passports in accordance to tribe to give Tutsis superiority over Hutus because they (Tutsis) have more Caucasian features i.e. fair skin, long noses, tallness.

Tutsis are given better jobs and enjoy the Belgian education system.

1959  -Ethnic tensions are heightened. Hutus rebel against the cast system thereby killing thousands of elite Tutsis. Few flee to neighboring counties, reducing their population in Rwanda by far less.

1962 – Rwanda gains independence. Tutsis remain the target of tribal violence by Hutus.

1975 – Hutus continue to oppress minority Tutsis. President Juvénal Habyarimana of Hutu ethnicity enables the segregation.

 1980 – A record of 480, 000 Rwandans are refugees in neighboring countries.

1986 – RPF is formed by Tutsis currently exiled in Uganda. The guerrilla troop is led by Paul Kagame.

1990 – RPF invades Rwanda after President Juvénal Habyarimana’s dictatorial leadership plunges Rwanda into an economic recession.

1992 – Hutu activist Dr. Leon Mugusera calls for Tutsis to be displaced back to Ethiopia; the land of their origin.

1993 – Peace negotiations between RPF and the President fail. Radio stations owned by Hutu supporters endorse the killings of Tutsis.

1994 – On April 6th, a plane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, president of Burundi, is shot down in Kigali by unknown people. Conspiracists allege that the assassination is performed by the Tutsi led Rwandan Patriotic Front party (RPF).

Habyarimana  and Ntaryamira are both of Hutu ethnicity.

On April 7th, the mass murder of Tutsis at the hands of enraged Hutus begins, in order to avenge their slain tribesmen.

 For the next 100 days, a door to door killing of Tutsis takes place. Approximately 800, 000 civilians are recorded dead.

In July, RPF ceased control of Rwanda. The genocide finally came to an end shortly after.

 

Method of violence

Rape

Rifles

Machetes

 

Aftermath of the genocide

A lot of Rwandans became refugees in neighbouring countries

Many who trekked to other countries died on the way due to cholera and other                   illnesses

A number of children were left orphaned and/or lost their identity. Till date, a                       handsome number of young adults can only estimate how old they are.

The number of physically challenged persons increased

Ethnic debates/conversations were later forbidden to avoid tension between the two          tribes

 

Let it be known that the tension between the two ethnic groups was perpetrated by the Belgians who used the Divide and Conquer tool to colonize Rwanda. Even though 25 years have gone by, the scars have not completely healed. Every raindrop in the month of April is a grave reminder of the hate that crippled the Land of a Thousand Hills.

 

Sources

https://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/historical-background.shtml

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/rwanda/etc/cron.html

https://www.history.com/topics/africa/rwandan-genocide