Written by: 
Nelson Ruto Rotino

I wouldn't like to be the source of discord but I heard that the book and the pen are more powerful than the sword. Well, that's kinda cool but tell me, would you pull out a pen when challenged at a duel? Really, how practical are our works? I know the system is not entirely useless, it does have its perks. But, we've only learnt how to wittily piece together several words and regurgitate concepts.

However, in the jungle that is life, much more than what we are taught goes into materialisation of our thoughts and prospects. Trust me, so much more... The world is a rough place riddled with thieves, liars, predators, scavengers and deserters. Those who do not belong to any of those categories are currently cadavers.

My wife, daughter and I lived in Uganda, a nation recovering from years of plunder. The Imperialist sponged out his princely share right before he hired out the plots that he had created to our forefathers. We, the tenant's children, had this misguided sense of entitlement, oblivious of our father's monthly dues.

All those who attempted to educate us on this and voice reality were denied the volume of publicity, mysteriously breathing their last soon after. We were once a mosaic of cultural beauty and diversity to behold but he split us up, for his own convenience, into what he thought were manageable fragments, thus, redefining our unity by attaching our affiliation to an abstract concept; the state. One that we would kill ourselves or our brothers for.


Our nation is slowly forgetting God. We were told that The Son rode on a donkey but that seems too humble a look for today's carriers of the word. They prefer horsepower. Hundreds of millions worth of horsepower, to transport a message of charity. And when left alone with Charity, they asked her for money or some sort of offering just so they could pray for her. But sadly, she couldn't afford a prayer. The world is thoroughly riddled with troubles and Charity's began at home. Or at least that slum of a settlement that served as our dwelling, 'underseeing' pastor's luxurious mansion.

Charity's visit to the hospital was inhospitably registered. The doctors and nurses told her that she couldn't afford to live any longer, and that their hands were "tied". (By who!?!?!? I remonstrated bitterly) I remember them telling me that they could do nothing but watch my Charity die. It was only upon confirmation of her demise that the flock of them, in their white lab coats, conferred a manner of relief. The pastor was sure to make due representation.

I must be numb to their kind of logic because if I remember correctly, not that I was there but, The Son was brutally, ruthlessly and inconceivably tortured. Right? He died on the cross to grant us eternal life, right? To set us free...FOR FREE! And by that I mean no taxes levied. In fact, He stated very clearly that He didn't want any of that man, Caesar's, stuff. Who then do you think you are in your 'service'? Heaven's banker? You need to clean up your act!

But now that we are speaking about acting, are you truly a miracle worker? Theatrics! Merchants were whipped for turning the gates of His house into a market. What more shall He do to you? You that has turned the entire dwelling into a circus. Theatrics! We shall be watching when he asks you whether he told you to ask us to kiss your feet or sit in accordance to our financial status. He shall ask you why you pretended to phone Him while in church for the bemusement of those who, for sheer faith, trusted. You mislead the flock with your Theatrics! Why you hired a bunch of actors to fake impediments that you would later claim to have healed. Theatricks! How do you plead? Not a word, huh? That much, I anticipated. I now rest my case, 'Your Honour'.

My case with him but not with you, 'Your Honour'. See, you and I have some unfinished business to take care of. Do you remember that journalist you joyously sentenced for sedition six years ago, leaving his daughter all alone to fend for herself in this cruel, cruel world? Peter? Yes? 'Peter Parker'? Or was it 'Peter Pan'? Who cares for the difference anyway? You convicted both. Yes. You sentenced them, amongst several others, for crimes you were paid to acknowledge. Pan was molested and Parker murdered just days later, by fellow inmates. This was obviously after the guards and warden had their turns at beating them senseless. What was it all worth? A couple tens of millions that you shared with their lawyers while their families fed on dirt? Yet you knew, very well I must add, that Parker's only crime was blowing the whistle on a filthy regime. Yes, 'Your Honour' I'm speaking to you! The one with the fake white-man's-hair and dress. Remember me?

What's with men and dresses anyway? Also, why do we still imitate and wish to look like white people?

Patricia seems to have a submission on this. Yes dear, You may speak now.

~"We were looking for an intersection or at least a cross section but we kept on crossing sections, charged with racial trespass while searching for perfection in our reflections, so the world could appropriately grade us.

See, the world never forgets to mention how light is right and easier on sight, so I bleached and reached out for the ideal that I had been forced to believe was real but still, I was rejected.

I was never enough. Rough is the world, tough is the task but when I executed he asked, 'what is wrong with you?' You, Bubu! That's what! See, you taught me all these things so I polished up and started wearing diamond rings, fam! Now you know what's up. I'm taking back my dignity. I want my essence to sing to me a song of liberty. But not like that statue of yours because this time it's reality. In my eyes now resides a clarity new to my perception.

I no longer need your validation, for in my skin lies the strength of an entire nation. I shan't let you relegate me to an undue, undeserving and unbecoming station. I'm taking back my black! Cause black don't crack but you made me do crack and I continue to, just so I may be elevated to a reality where your opinion doesn't count. And I lose count; sniff after sniff, needle after needle, stiff but feeble. We all have our guilty pleasures. I felt guilty but certainly! there was pleasure while the moment lasted and that, I shall not deny. So, feel no pity for me while I cry. It is merely catharsis. I'm used to this. Being abused and dished. There's no pity in this city if you're not pretty. But does any of it matter? I discovered that all seekers are self-seeking and you are desirable till their emotions start peaking then they get picky, tricky frellows they are, pursuing the more socially desirable, now that they see no value in the moments when you are vulnerable. In their quest for perfect, you become a reject. They love you for as long as it is convenient. For as long as you meet their fancy and play within their ideal. What cinema caused them to think was real. And you pay for the times society broke them and caused them not to feel— not to heal. Indeed: hurt people, hurt people. That simple. Though they seem like a type of broken that we think is ours to fix so we fondle, enduring the cuts and pricks. Without a clue, trying to do what only the creator can do. Is it conceit, slavery to deceit or the desperation of defeat?

I care not, for I loved you to ounces and that's what drove me...

Surely, I have lived a life.

My addictions were an affliction and so I sought rehabilitation with you all, at 'Sanctimony Anonymous', the world's theatre. But when the curtains were drawn, you instructed that my place in the world had long been withdrawn and that the gutters were where I belonged. I came to you in pursuit of the Messiah but with the powers vested in you, you pronounced me pariah.

So now I'm taking back my music because the world doesn't deserve to hear it. I'll sing a tune to the moon for she alone has known the effect of my sleepless troubles. She alone has smiled a crescent smile that lit up this orphan's face when emotion darkened it.

She made my tears glisten and whispered to me that I was beautiful. But alas! She too was empty and all the while I was a fool. It was, all the while, a futile Isle of lies. A life I wish I could rescind for all the while I was chasing the wind. Nothingness. Wish me another life and learn me the knowledge of Christ. I gallivanted in great perspiration through my anxieties and depression yet in rest, salvation should have been my station, without which I succumb to the eternity of condemnation. In mine words I leave you a seed– esperar. For you still have time."~

Thank you, dear! That was a lovely contribution, don't you think? Patricia however passed on last week, following a series of failed attempts at suicide. Under the bottle of poison lay an apology note, not for herself but for those gathered here. She asked that God forgive us all. I see confusion form incidiously in your hearts. How are you to blame, you ask? I'll answer that, but allow me ask you something first.

Where were your hearts while my Patricia suffered fantastically from depression? Where were you while the world condemned her because of mistakes for which she had long since repented. The mistakes that her God had long forgiven but you, 'the higher authority', the 'superior one', couldn't. But you swarm with urgency to mention kind words and niceties now that she's gone to account to the Father, as you did for her mother. You brood of vipers! You twisted her hand and postured her towards the fire and brimstone. Every last one of you is guilty.

Even as your eyes hover above these words, have you any certainty that your motivations, dispensations and inclinations are any different from theirs?

Every street she walked was lined out with bodies carrying your mind's perception as well as an aimed finger. The weight of your words was too heavy for her head to counter and so she learnt to live in a world where the ground was her best friend during the day, companion to her beautiful eyes that had long ceased to shine. One where even if her tears collected in the corner of her desolate room, they couldn't soak out the pain.

You pushed her out of the echelons of society. When she needed to feel the warm, tender and loving embraces of her parents, you conspired– through your systems, to have them withdrawn so you could provide your own. You transformed her into a 'lady of the night', subject to a life where she was jeered at, spat on, thrown under, trampled upon, with no being to confide in, so she gave her life to the bottle. It was shaped like the woman she wished she was, for if so, you would have loved her better. Or was that too a lie? It was see-through such that she knew all its contents right from the start; its entire constitution and purpose lay obvious the entire while. Something I can't quite say for any one of you wolves that hurt her. Celebrating her vice as and when it suited you.

And as she emptied that bottle, she emptied the life from her being. Your face was embedded in her very last thought. Though, unlike you, she was capable of forgiveness. Her eyes were gorgeous. But you wouldn't know that. You never cared to look.

Michael, your eyes dart in saccades of furtive glances. They speak, quite fluently, a language of guilt. Why so? No! Allow me ask that differently. Why do you feel guilty for your actions only now that she is gone? Are you wrong simply because she is dead? Is her submission only valid because she is no longer amongst us? It is a shame that men like you still roam this earth in the dark with loose belts and demeanour most ruthless, slowly perpetrating our daughters' demises. But no one cares anymore. Because everybody dies, right? We might as well live.

Viva La Vida!