Speak up! They said, voices ringing as we marched forward hand in hand. It was to be a pacific affair, humour and reason king above all. What started as a fight for safety and transparency roved into a battle for life and sanity. Our harmless walk turned into a battle field, machetes drawn, bottles broken and threats made to dissolve our resolution.

A crusade of diverse believers; tribes and religion long forgotten, colour and accent an invincible barrier. When even the disabled and fragile rose to the quest and grudges had become a thing of yesterday, as enemies held hands and told stories of their dream for our land. A thousand minds became one and we moved with the rhythm of soldiers, liberation our golden ambition.

The weak receiving strength, our sisters risking their lives to gain proof of the inhumane actions taken against us. Our brothers protecting the interest of their neighbours, food shared amongst old and new friends, stolen purses returned and favours happily granted, selflessness attained.

The twentieth day of the tenth month, a day never to be forgotten. A day when the “lazy youths” fought against the brutality offered by the ones who ought to protect, a day when as we carried our flags in pride and roared our national song, our brothers dropped to their knees. Their blood dripping, shot and forgotten as we carried them, covering their soulless body with the flag that should have been their shield. Disbelieving screams rang, prayers chanted, tears flowed as the last words “one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity” were sung and in that moment, hope seemed a distant illusion.

Our sufferings denied in the aftermath of a bloodbath that had dragged children away from their mother’s bosom, killed the dream child of hopeful families and caused fathers to bury the child meant to outlive them. The leaders of tomorrow slaughtered as they fought for our tomorrow. We shall remember the twentieth of the tenth month as the day when courage was born , a day when we rose against the odds and refused discouragement, the day we became our own heroes, the day when faith was birthed.

The ultimate resurrection well hoped for, the day when unity, formally forgotten and seemingly unattainable was to be accomplished. When fights broke loose and danger loomed, when strength ruled and weakness neglected, when the young ones stood at the front lines, all fear forgotten, when love was all they knew and cared for, when beneath it all, although our hearts by this trials were hardened did not swerve onto violence as they would have wished, instead it led to even greater love as we held hands once again, sang songs, broke bread and marched forward still. A fight far from its end, a fight whose victory can not be promised but a fight we shall take, for love, for country, for those whose last words were “peace and unity”, a fight for hope, a fight for tomorrow.

Written by Abel Ojerinde

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