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Has Democracy Enhanced Development in Africa? Conrad John Masabo
Permanent Emergency Powers in France: The ‘Law to Strengthen Internal Security and the Fight Against Terrorism’ and the Protection of Human Rights Lena Muhs
Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Leading towards Prosperity or Peril Pujika Rathnayake
Lack of empathy as a threat to peace Victoria Scheyer
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The death of democracy in Honduras Daniel Bagheri S.
Berta Vive Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani
The Persons Who Changed the Lives of Terrorists and Criminals Surya Nath Prasad

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Reflections of Refugees in Africa Wyclife Ong'eta Mose
Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
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Common Things: Communication, Community, Communal Peacebuilding Lina Patricia Forero Martínez
The political Crisis of the 2017 Honduran Election Daniel Bagheri S.
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Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Reborn Arunima Chouguley
An Open Letter to the American People: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age Richard Falk, David Krieger, and Robert Laney


Last Updated: 10/19/2004
The Repeated Cry
Catherine Onekalit

Catherine Onekalit offers her latest prose-poem.

The Repeated Cry

                                            by Catherine Onekalit

It was around four O clock in the morning; I was in a deep sleep, not having a care in the world of how hard the Okolo (Papyrus Mat) felt on my back. I was trying to recover from the tiresome long day of gardening that plays a mountain on fending for the family. Whilst in my sleep I heard a loud squeak then a silent bang, thinking it was a dream, I whispered to my husband Kom Bede Ku (Not now please). I started hearing some sort of wailing then I thought some kind of mourning, like a life was being taken. I was so knackered, without a thought I strolled to the sitting area with an ooze of confidence, lazily turning around the corner, I then saw them, dreadlocked, young and thirsty for blood. The sight, ---- blood dripping from the bayonet , I froze, then screamed and fainted.

In this entire bizarre episode, the reality begun to sink in, that was my son being killed by his own cousin, yes his own cousin, the same blood flowing through their veins. These were not children I thought, these are killing machines indoctrinated to kill without fear. They have no shred of humanity left in them, or do they? While listening to her narrate her story, tears of pain rolled out of my eyes, I recalled what I would rather not talk about. Such experiences are day to day realities of persons living in Northern Uganda. The children, yes the children, looking at their melancholic faces you see pain yet at the same time a mixture of power and powerlessness, the blood that is shed by their hands, willing or unwilling. We indeed groom a generation of thorns. You try to reach out to them, but cannot; their lives are delineated by brutalities.  Tales of when they were captured so ingrained in their brains with haunting memories. The horrendous and inhumane atrocities they have committed against their own kith and kin. More saddening is the fact that some of them have began to enjoy it.

Listening to this strong woman s narration, within minutes I felt my vision blur, I was definitely in another world. Hearing her story I could not hold the pain. I thought I was not hearing right. It was like the killers (Children) were right there and I was witnessing what she witnessed. I reached for the next weapon that I could get hands on and threw it ferociously at them. A mass of smoke appeared. Was I doing this, no, no, no, this is a dream .. Writing about the initiation of children into active combat is a reality that was beyond comprehension. When I review the facts on board I ask my self, where were we when all this was happening or is still happening? Enjoying the night life of the capital city Kampala? Conscious, yet still, in pretense of this reality? How can we live with ourselves, while a whole generation is being wiped away? Such are questions that linger in my mind. Yes these questions just linger, that is the painful truth. I ask my self daily when I will start singing another song, getting the vision and means of how to help out. But that s where I stop.

The war zone is a reality that should not be experienced by anyone. I dream of a day when all these children will play football or play with baby dolls like all their counter parts in different parts of the world. The comfort I get is the strong belief and faith that I have. I know that not too long, there will be borne a song of peace right in the heart of my beautiful home land.

Catherine Onekalit, from Uganda, graduated recently at the University for Peace.