Once it had been a beautiful land, an Eden soothed by flower-scented breezes, serenaded by the twilight songs of birds. It had been a land of lash greenness springing from the bounteous earth of vaulting blue skies reflected in silver waters. A land of languor chivalry and charm. Its drowsy summers never ended, its bold heroes always triumphed.
Now Eden had been destroyed, and the scented land stank.
The year 2008: The land was called Hakuna Matata. The days of January crawled on the heels of February. The men struggled along country roads, avoiding towns where they could, succumbing only when their bellies were so empty that begging, even from the street beggars, seemed excusable.
Around them lay burned trunks of trees with twisted limbs pleading to the sky. On the ground sprawled the debris of tribal war: Broken harness, rifles and pikes, metal, bones, splintered wheels, steel legged dead dogs and cats, and ragged bits of bloodstained clothing still on their decomposing owners. A little distance off, vultures tore at the carcass of an identified civilian. Over all hung a gagging stench of rotting flesh and decaying cadavers.
Mara curled his lips, “Tell you one thing, Zabaki, there are only two kinds of dead men I want to smell again- The Politician and the Politician. I’d make them dance all the way across to hell.”
They trotted on, with sudden alertness. The spirit of caution, which had protected them through months of the war, was as vital to them as ever. They walked by night and played dead by day, any time they approached a village of a different tribe. It was important to survive another day to tell the tale of their ignorant teenage country.
The politically fueled tribal war had ended, but the war of survival toiled on. Starving men and women, frightened displaced women clutching to their suckling babies, arrogant, bitter men, deserters of families, men demented by war, all roamed the roads and woods and villages searching for food, raping, killing, maiming out of hatred and loss and need, cursing tribes and languages. One Country and colour, different tongues.
The war of survival stared at their faces. Hot, steamy days wrapped slumbrously around the displaced. Insects buzzed around them, crawling in their ears and around their crusted mouths. The pitiless simmering sun beat down on them. “What have we done to our brothers? Our own blood?” He muttered bitterly.
Where were the politicians now? They who awarded them with half a dollar per household; bows and arrows; rifles and pikes; petrol and matchboxes; machetes and power saws as they danced to war songs choreographed by their poisonous mouths?
“Did you notice that they never nodded or danced to a single tune of the tribal war songs we sang, but flew off in those deafening choppers, leaving us coated in piles of dust and smoke?” asked Zabaki, spreading her tattered piece of shuka to the ground and lying down to rest.
“Tell you what Zabaki, I want to smell two kinds of dead men: The Politician and the Politician. Avenge for what they have done to our brothers, our own blood” whispered Mara, lowering his head to the ground beside Zabaki to rest from another day of misery. There has to be a new dawn.