As we played with our toys and playmates in the playground, dark clouds were looming.
In the streets, in the universities, in the shambas and on radio people planned the war. They incited and they divided. It’s us against them. For us to survive they must be exterminated.
So the men sharpened their pangas and took up their guns. The children were hushed and sent into houses. The women were frightened, weeping over what was about to happen and told us to hush, play quietly and not to under any circumstances leave the house.
The fighting began: us against them, our neighbors and friends. I wondered what crime had they done. Yesterday we were friends playing together and working together in the field. I asked aloud my mother, “why are we fighting our neighbors’?” my mum cried and told me to hush I was too young to understand.
When it was over my father was dead and my older brother was missing. My mother and sisters were raped and left for dead by soldiers who came to deal with the revolution.
I have wept until I cant cry no more. I feel like my God has abandoned me because I prayed and I got no answers.
My childhood and its dreams are gone. I am only 8 years old and I feel like my life is already over before it begins. All around me all I can see is blood and death.
I wish we could go back to one month ago when I was playing in the playground. Now am just another war child, a byproduct of hate and war.
Why do we wage war, why? The cost of war over peace has left me scarred permanently. And the memories of the hate where love once was they haunt me.
Written May 21st 2009
For all the children in IDP camps who have seen horrors unimaginable, for all children whose innocence and trust in human kindness and brotherhood were destroyed during the post election violence of 2007/2008. For all the children all over the world who are victims of political and economic wars. In violent revolutions, election violence, wars and uprisings it is the children who suffer most. Let Kenya remember and never let another child have to go through what other children went through because of an election. Keep the peace!
I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?” Eve Merriam