Aside

The People Don’t Know

They have said it a thousand times
But the people don’t know
They have shed a million tears
But the people still don’t know
They have stood atop the highest pillars of the tallest buildings
In the most populous cities and still
No one knows

The people don’t know that daddy isn’t coming home
Because one day when was coming back from a hard day’s labor on the farm
Rebel soldiers snatched him up and killed him
All the villagers found was a burnt body that they assumed was his

The people don’t know why little brother is so afraid to speak
One day when the rebels came through town
They grabbed him and said
Do you want to be a slave or do you want to be free
For freedom is measured on the length of a sleeve
So should I cut yours short or should cut yours long
Because we are all broken like the words to a song
And if you value your life you do as we say
You will pick up this gun and fight with us today
Because babies are born but men are made
And you my friend are a man today

The people never ask why mother walks with a limp
One day when she was walking down the street
She was kidnapped and raped
But lucky she broke free
Ran through the streets in her nudity
Along with her clothes left her sanity
All because she was robbed of her dignity

The people were never told why the so-called leaders of the rebellion
Strap on noble names along with the guns that they carry
Simply because they believe in this cause even if the means are wrong
And they will fight to the end because of it

So I ask a simple question

Can you hear me now
On what do you want to bet that you don’t know the truth
Not even in the slightest about broken countries
Go ask your cell phone company about the Congo
Or your laptop maker where they got their resources

The plain and simple truth is rarely plain and never simple
We just have no clue what we’re supposed to do.

-Omotola Ajibade ca. 2008

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