Friends, I took a break from the Halima Series for reasons best known to the Piper that dictates my monetary tunes that have robbed me of hugging my block with my thoughts and unique views. Have you gone through Halima 9 & 10? The Halima Series continue below:
It is one thing to die; another thing to die useless. Here death is not the tragedy; the real tragedy is the useless life. Dying useless is predicated upon living aimlessly. Of course, you can’t be useless in death unless you’ve been useless in life. I decided early to put my life to use. I was resolute, determined and driven. I wanted to live a life that would be impossible to ignore. I didn’t just want to live a mark in the sands of time; I wanted to inspire a generation of young girls to do same.
And now i sit captive in this truck with tears running down my eyes and groaning deep within my soul. My heart saying a requiem for the dream that once powered my life, my soul mourning the loss of its only oxygen. I feel violated. Mad men ran into my destiny and tore it in pieces. You ask me why I sound this hopeless; you are shocked at my outburst. But would you blame me? The men who took me butchered my friends and dragged me pass their remains why should I expect them to spare me? Why should I cling to a hope that is no hope, a hope that is like wax approaching a furnace?
The only thing that challenges hope is reality and my present reality doesn’t just challenge hope it engulfs it. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not suicidal, how can I be when I already have a killer who is just bidding his time. I want to dream, I want to hope but then I am trapped in a truck galloping away from time into timelessness. How can I dream when reality has taken sleep from me? How can I hope when death stares me in the eyes with an unblinking gaze?
I wanted to cry out and risk my assailants silencing me at that very moment with their machetes but then who would hear my screams apart from the animals whose habitation we’ve intruded upon. Please tell me. Who? Who in this wild dwelling would give me a reason to dream again? If it were possible to communicate telepathically, I would have tried to reach the world with my mind. But do they not already know?
While I take this long walk to death, life for the rest of the world goes on as usual. I and my friends are but a tiny bit of inconvenience on the conscience of world. So tiny they would shake us off with a nod of their head. We will be forgotten even before they finish talking about us. We might make the headlines for a day or two but then, as is traditional with the affairs of men, some new calamity happens and we are old news, too stale to savour, another of the many victims whose story history wouldn’t care to tell. So leave me alone let me rant. Let me say the words that come to mind. Let me pour my grief out before I drown in it! When I’m done mourning my dream maybe then I would begin to muster enough grief to mourn my life.
At some point I thought I heard the kind of static you’ll hear when someone tunes in search of a radio station. Initially I thought it was my mind playing tricks on me so I tried harder to come back to reality. But then it was still there, that hissing sound that tells you a search is on. Then I heard one of my assailants ask if the attack would have made news already, another answered that if the local stations haven’t picked it up, BBC would have. As if to confirm this the radio came to life and the sound greeting my ears went from static to human voices albeit fuzzy still. With some fine tuning, the voice that came to me was that of a Hausa Disk Jockey trying to prep his audience up for his next musical selection. In frustration, they cursed the DJ as one of them tuned the dial in search of a news channel. After some new hits, they got the BBC and after another wait that lasted for about 30 minutes (by this time we had travelled for over 2 hours in the forest), the BBC newscaster began to give the headlines and somewhere there she reported that a group of armed men had attacked a secondary school, killed an uncertain number of male students and abducted about 20 of the female students. To this announcement, the four men in our truck raised their rifles exultantly, shouting Allau Akbar! Allau Akbar! They know now! We did it!
It was then I began to understand the psychology of terrorists, “To make a global statement with every act of terror!” The response they get from the world is in itself a boost to their morale. It makes them feel acknowledged, gives them all the relevance they need. And as I would later understand, it is the response of the world to them that makes it easy for them to recruit more people to join their cause. When a small act of terror is amplified by the news, the perpetrators who actually were nobodies, marabouts who would not have amounted to anything or made any impact on society, now finds the world responding to their very acts. At that very point, they will feel powerful. So powerful they could do anything. Like their only means of expression is in unleashing terror. It is this power they use as a lure to drag in more nobodies. When they say that “hurting people hurt people”, nothing could be further from the truth.
to be continued in Halima 13 & 14
The Halima Series is written by a good friend Chukwuemeka Ezeogu