Liberia’s New Civil War
By Kenneth Y. Best, Jr.
(A Poem, Inspired by the Daily Observer Editorial: ‘Caring For Our Ebola Orphans’)
This is the new civil war, fought by an unseen, chemical enemy
Raging across West Africa and stretching towards the places we think of when dreaming of peace and security
No one knows how long we will fight and what it will take to win
Many don't know the names of the thousands who have met their dreadful end
And just like our previous, not so distant civil war,
This too will take advantage of all its orphaned children –
The real survivors: their small, strong bodies and brave souls, independent but vulnerable
Which army will they join? What kinds of weapons will they hold?
What will be their legacy? What will they be told when they are left alone, or when strangers come to hold them?
Will families come to their rescue? Or will they be left to the care of those strangers, who seek to comfort their souls?
Or will predators snatch them away into danger, to abuse and control?
And what of their siblings, cousins and friends who succumb to the fate of their parents – who will bury them?
If they do survive and are yet unable to tell, who will be their voices?
Who will be the buckets that dip into those wells? And what shall come up?
Who will give them chances, and what shall be their choices?
Mama's market won't sell; she just buried her oldest child and
All her neighbors have shunned her, so the younger must go hungry awhile
Nurses will not take them in; hospitals are too full, or vacant –
Overflowing with infected patients or emptied from being overrun
In the on-going crises of uncontainable contamination
A terrified, angry, suspicious population defending their habitations will riot
While the invisible enemy triggers mistrust along community lines,
like villages surrounded by wild fires
So now, mama can't even go to the next town to buy food, let alone sell
Survival all over again is the only pastime, and time will tell if the past will repeat itself
In the meantime,
Not even a secret handshake,
Or barely a long look of sincere affection for comfort's sake
Got to watch who’s behind or beside you; can’t see who’s next to fall
Imagine the pain of a parent whose child has been denied
Or the horror of a child whose parent has just died
How quick the transition from a hospital door to death’s dark corridors
An invisible enemy has broken down nations, ravaged communities, and decimated families
And they are saying that a cure is hard to come by…because over here, we’re too poor
We haven’t even begun to hear the children crying, or to see the coming rage in their eyes, or the after effects of their growing up and asking us, “Why”?
The new civil war has hit closer to home and caused more damage in shorter time than any previous calamity ever known in West Africa
And its name is Ebola: so dangerous, so silent
We have not known this scale of war before; maybe the Native
Americans of June 1763, or the Tuskegee Airmen of the Jim Crow era – but no, not us…not we
No overthrow was required – in fact, it infiltrated our government,
Broke down economies and evaporated the poor; even global markets are affected
Preparedness and awareness were the initial casualties, then came mass suffering as people just expired
The desperate cries for help, the bodies in the streets, African doctors killed in action against this enemy
While foreign doctors live to escape – somehow, we’re disconnected from a better fate
And the media coverage of this epidemic, so demeaning, as if some of us don’t know what’s really going on – we see through the silver screen, but dimly
And as if we brought this on ourselves…
But then again, who’s to say that we didn’t? Can God’s anger be questioned?
Can we hold back the scourge? Can we still learn our lessons?
Eric Duncan would have testified, but he didn’t live to tell of his own survival;
It will be those of his household who tell it for him, and not to his revival
So: to aspiring nurses protecting yourselves and healing your families, God bless you
I pray that in some way, God will make it so I can help you
To all the Ebola Orphans, I hope to one day give you better names
Than the stigmas this war has placed upon you for your shame
I wish to bring you hugs, put you on airplanes,
Not to quarantine but to give you the love that you’re used to, or haven’t yet received
And sweeter dreams than the nightmares you are living,
Higher truths than the lies you are forced to believe
You are our future, our heritage – not another national emergency
The Lord said He would make thy plagues wonderful,
Because of the sins of your forefathers – and so He has, indeed
But children, my heart is with you urgently in this heavy fight for your life
Because you are all loved and
BECAUSE ALL OF US ARE RESBONSIBLE
Each one of us is accountable for the least of our people, as taught by Christ
And through all this, His eyes watch diligently from above
As we struggle day by day with the silent killer, Ebola, in this New
Liberian Civil War
By: Lekpele Nyamalon
Oh time and time only
Who can trust you?
I dare not do, or I’ll be lonely
No one dares, only you.
When the sun smiles
You’ll just show up- the journey begins
Soaring above slowly as you rise
While we hurry to meet your flapping wings
Thou art the holder of fate
Only thy arms holdeth the hours
And thy breadth and mind knoweth the date
When we miss you, our time here is only a tour
Scars of a tired nation
By: Lekpele Nyamalon
What more can a country take?
Stories of children that can’t live in peace
Treating each other like strangers from afar
The sons returning and the ones they met
Fighting for a space left by Mama
1980-panic splashed upon the face of Africa’s oldest child
Bringing down the walls a century high
Building another 100ft higher
Shaking to shreds young old mama
Promising her a lie to leave her alone
What a tired country she has become
Standing alone on a continent she blossomed
Left alone by countries she led to Independence
A troubled house is always lonely
Such a land she stands to be
Her place in history forgotten by men of time
Left to maggots and bugs to chew
And spit into history’s shredder
Her prints erased from the archives of Africa’s glossary
And left to wander- gathering crumbs
Couldn’t her sons keep her diary
Of how generous a home she had
Giving a shelter for Africa’s neglected,
Spewing hope into a lifeless continent
Doomed by colonialism and whisked by fear?
She went in shock and comatose
For 14years her eyes couldn’t blink nor wink
Only ears of thunder and terror
With a sigh of relief to live again
Her candle is lit in a thunderstorm
The scars of a tired nation are eating up again
The face of EBOLA shatters the dream
To put together a wretched, lonely life
Could this scar flip into a star?
And shine forever?
Voice of a Ghost
By: Eric G. Gbanlon (0886220513)
As I cried and rolled in ashes,
They stood and started to boast;
With my blood at the brim of their glasses,
They laughed and began to toast.
Allowing my organs to rot in separate places,
Was that which hurt me the most;
Like paint, my blood besmeared the bushes
Like rocks, my bones filled the coast.
The work is done, it’s time for wages
In equal measures, we eat what we roast;
They ate me; they are human-phages,
They are now being hunted by my ghost.