The world does not know me By Tesfaldet Meharenna
The world does not know me
The world does not know me. I am the lover of my homeland. It is the place that I will forever call home. I’ve played in its dusty streets. I’ve observed all religious days and shared communal feasts in honor of the deity. I can recite the names of my father’s forefathers down to six generations and my extended family is spread throughout the world. The incomparable richness of my heritage and culture is second to none and will be passed on to my progeny and beyond.
The world does not know me. I am the patriot who fought for revolution. I am the one who gave birth to hope for change for my country. I am the one who hoisted the flag of independence in the great square. I cheered and celebrated with one and all for our new leader who wanted democracy for government. I beamed with freshness and nearly burst thinking of all of the possibilities that change will bring. Yes oh yes, yes, yes there was never a more endearing comrade than I.
The world does not know me. I am the supporter of my new country. I put great faith in my new leader because he was a champion of democracy. I knew he’d be our greatest leader because I’ve heard him speak rhapsodic about democracy as I fought alongside him in the trenches during the war. I knew my leader the chosen one would be a friend to us all and lead our nation on to great things. Great things great, great things he would lead us towards. I championed all my fellow countrymen in the diaspora to send their love, send their skills, send their support and mostly home their currency because as a nation we were on the cusp of great things great, great things happening. A nation impregnated with hope is a great thing, a great, great thing to behold.
The world does not know me. I am the one who withdrew in horror as time exposed my beloved chosen leader as a man drunk with power. I was aghast to hear this very educated and capricious leader of a nation speak not of words abounding with democracy but of self-serving autocracy. My state of incredulous hasn’t ceased to suspend its truth. That premature birth of the infant called hope died from lack of nourishment. And all I’ve been saddled with is just another cautionary tale concerning the soul of man, THAT man, our dear LEADER man.
The world does not know me. I am the one without a decent living wage. I am the one who toil in the hot equatorial sun for naught. I am the one who is forced into protracted conscription. Conscription not only in the general sense by definition but also the re-branded nature of conscription in the forced labor way as only a dictator can coersively request. I am the one who cried as I, along with my fellow countryman, watched as our window to the world had its black velvet shade lowered to block out the sun-of-hope-healing-progress-and-peace.
The world does not know me. I am the youth who loves my country but dreams of escape. Night and day I plot, plan, and plead for assistance in reaching my destiny. I write letters to the dearest ones abroad imploring them for help and when it comes I’d make my way to a different life, a life where I can live. Not always a better life but more than a life where I merely exist. I want to live, dream, grow not just rise and fall under the toiling sun. Wait, is what my elders tell me the forced leader will soon be out of office. But I’m learned enough to know that for every dictator there are ten more waiting to take his place. Even the little ones know that autocracies have a penchant for attracting persons of low morality and loose canon character.
Is the world against me? Does not the world think I have a right to search for happiness?
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