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Last Updated: 02/19/2004
Unknown Eternity
Catherine Onekalit

Catherine Onekalit offers another prose poem to bring home the horror of war and the hope for peace.

What a quiet night!” One would imagine a romantic setting with everything at peace and bodies of two natural persons close to each another, getting warmth and the feel of touch, love and affection. It was short lived, terrifying earsplitting screams of the air raid sirens filled the cool beautiful silent night. Deafening sounds of exploding mortars, land mine blasts, sounds from RPGs and AK 47s and then, the anguished screams that followed, operation clean all living things you would think. One by one it felt like the stars were falling out of the sky, hitting the ground with a thunder.

The passion dance with bullets had just started. Wise men knew well enough the monsters passion made them, passion of the gun, the tool that can destroy. The beautiful night, with the full moon was like ages gone. I could recall the tantalizing reflections, only now it was a reflection of light as a result of burning houses, fields and corpses. The fire was on the increase, like petrol was being poured to ignite it, then it hit me hard, the corpses-----. In front of me, I could see a baby breastfeeding from its dead mother, terrified people running in all directions trying to outrace death. I recalled my departed friend who was raped repeatedly till she breathed her last, what sexual starvation!

My dear Uganda, where did all this weaponry come from? Sudan, Libya, Britain, Belarus, Romania, Yugoslavia, Unites States, South Africa? Why did you have to acquire them? To kill your own kind, what about what you said about the right to life, the Human Rights Commission that you put in place? You tell us to be quite, that peace will soon return, 18 years down the road now, our lives have been rudely interrupted. The ‘home’ we know, yes the ‘home’ is in the ‘protected’ camps, Paboo, Pagak, Koch Goma, Anaka, Cwero, Acholi Pii, Palenya,Opit ,Oroko, Olwa, Paicho, Alero, Kaladima, the list is endless. Everyday is like a miracle, gone are the days of the wang oo (Fire place), where legends were told. Women tell counts of stories on the number of men they have slept with, forced, willingly. They laugh about it, in order not to cry.

Woman,----- Woman-----, Woman!! That’s when I realized someone was talking to me. My eyes were red, tears rolling down my face. I was shaky, my legs could hardly support my body mass. I knew I had been in another world. War is an experience that will remain with me time immemorial. However tightly I close my eyes it is impossible to shut out the vision. A cast humanity, everywhere a right violated, a woman battered, a life taken but a life also enjoyed.

No man is an Island, what happens to one happens to all for we are all made of clay and stardust. We share the same moments of time, the universal second hand starts its unforgiving sweep towards the next minute. In Afhaganistan a 10 year old is being sexually abused by a relation, in New York two lovers are kissing, in Santiago, a fire man risks his life to save a cat, in Somali a child is starving to death. That is humanity, some live in joy, some untold suffering, others enjoy their universal rights while to others, it’s a dream. All this is the infinity move into a space of sixty seconds. And then time ticks on until it finally sends us into an unknown eternity, an eternity where hopefully the monotony of pain is gone, hope alive with a pulpit that preaches love and respect for all.

See Catherine's Stars Our Solace