By Maa Nka’a
Isn’t it Time You Listened to Our Cries?
Good day my Sista. We hope this letter finds you and your family well. We pray ardently for your well being even at this time when many of us do not know how are families are faring. My Sista, it is now going on to three years since the crisis broke out in the North West and South West Regions. We have been watchful, mourning in silence as our lives become hell with each passing day. Yesterday, my Sista, one of ours, Mami Anasta lost her son to a stray bullet. It was a ghost town and Mami Anasta’s son Jacob is a tailor. Having worked in his shop (which fortunately is at home) the whole day, he went outside for a few minutes to stretch his legs and a stray bullet caught him. Mami Anasta is a widow with five children. She sells fruits in the market to take care of her family. Jacob is the only one helping her out, since her in-laws took everything from her after her husband died.
My Sista, we also lost four young boys in one of our neighbourhoods. We were told by our sisters that it was targeted killing. These young boys were at home on a ghost town day and the door was broken down and they were shot. Who does that in broad daylight? What rules of engagement in any war allow for the killing of unarmed civilians, whatever their crime? It is this unbearable pain in our hearts that pushes us to ask questions to which we may not have answers. We are over burdened with such sights and we wonder when it will end. So, we wanted to ask you if you could direct us to who can end this crisis, because apparently, it is out of your hands. When we cry and turn left, they tell us we are shedding crocodile tears and that someone has paid us to cry. When we cry and turn right, we are told that we should call on our sons and husbands to drop their arms. Some have even said that we are all working in partnership with those who fight; that is why our houses are razed down with no remorse because they are considered hideouts for terrorists. Even when we do nothing, when we try to live each day as it comes, we are targeted for being sell outs. Our daughters are forcefully taken from us to work as sex slaves in places we are not aware of. How much more should we bear? Some of our sons are forcefully conscripted to fight a war they do not understand. Yet, many are those who sit in their gilded cages and applaud the killings, calling for more of it; ‘let us teach them a lesson, they say’; ‘we cannot and shall not be seen to be weak’, so the killing continues on both sides. Caught in the middle, we mourn and we pray, yet we ask questions.
My Sista, when will this war come to an end? What are the lessons we expect this war to teach? If we have not as a people learned from past wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Burundi, what will this war teach us? Is it possible that this war will seal the cracks in the wall or will it make them bigger? We are puzzled because we know that a crack in the wall is filled with the required cement and sand, mixed with water to hold it together, not with hard knocks from a hammer. May be our reasoning is different, but maybe it is this type of reasoning that is needed at this point in time of our history.
My Sista,, why are you not bothered about the type of legacy you leave behind? There is so much blood in the land and we wonder if there’s some benchmark that must be attained. We are sorry if we offend you but we hope you understand that it is our right to ask these questions. Unless we have misunderstood, but our president has been known to describe our country as an advanced democracy, hopefully in all the good ways. Before we forget dear Sista, news just got to us that a Reverend Sister from some part of Kumbo recently lost five members of her family as a result of targeted killings. This reminds us of one of our daughters who lost thirteen family members on the same day to targeted killings in Tiben. We are perplexed and dumbfounded because every day we are told that the military is there to protect us and our property. Yet it seems that their presence is insignificant, given the number of houses that are burnt down and civilians killed under their watch.
We keep praying dear Sista, that you who have the ears of the anointed leader of this beautiful nation, may God may give you the Wisdom of Solomon that you may join your voice to ours as we seek a way forward out of this impasse.