À vos plumes
I’ve been carrying this heaviness with me for a long time now. I do not know what to do with it. Of all people, I know you won’t ask me any questions, so I’m keeping it here for a while. I hope you don’t mind. I need you not to mind.
I don’t really know what to say, I don’t think I have anything to say. I just wanted to sit next to someone and not feel lonely. You’ve always been that someone for me, so here I am. So sit close, please.
Life is strange, isn’t it? Again, I don’t exactly know what makes it so strange, but I also can’t think of a single thing that doesn’t make it strange. Everything you love is bound to leave, time never stops to take you on board, you forget how to be happy. Every moment, you’re leaving something or someone behind. Life and loss have four letters each. I don’t think that’s mere coincidence. What are we, if not ghosts of everything we’ve touched, or been touched by? Every single moment of our entire lives is borrowed, yet I don’t think we can survive without each other. Life is ruthless when it’s lonely, afterall.
You know sometimes, I can really feel Time passing me by. I wonder where Time goes? Do you think when the world is asleep, Time rests too? I think it should, it must be exhausting to keep going on and on. But maybe Time is just like us, it doesn’t know how to stop.
Anyway, I hope you’re okay. I think we don’t acknowledge just how hard that is- being okay. So, if you are, I’m proud of you. If you aren’t, I’m here for you, and I’m not just saying that. If you want to sit next to someone and not feel lonely, I’ll always save a seat for you. And I promise I’ll sit close.
I really hope everything works out for you and me. Life hasn’t been kind lately, but I like to believe it will soon be. Someday, living won’t feel so heavy, and I’ll write you a happy letter. Until then, please bear with me.
I think that’s it. Thank you for letting me sit next to you and making everything a lot less lonely. Please take care of your heart. And oh, write back to me someday, won’t you? I’ll be waiting.
written by Wissal Khaled.
Chapter 6 : Rwanda, the Rwandan Genocide.
This is a journey unlike any other, offering a rare glimpse into a dark period of time.
The wanderer was suddenly transported to an unfamiliar place. He looked around with a sense of bewilderment, trying to grasp a detail, something he could recognize, but nothing seemed to click. He was in a dense forest surrounded by hills. The air was thick and humid, filled with the scent of exotic plants and damp earth. The sounds of birds singing, leaves rustling, and towering trees swaying in the breeze all blended together to create a symphony of harmonious sounds across the wilderness.
The forest was alive and vibrant, and the wanderer was struck by its beauty and serenity.
Despite his earlier confusion and fear, a wave of enthusiasm swept over his body at the thought of having a new mission of discovery and uncovering the mysteries of this new place.
The wanderer was bursting with curiosity and a fascination for exploration like ever. He hankered after adventure and was always eager to take on new experiences.
And so he sat off into the unknown. The sun had set and darkness had fallen, his steps now became slower as he walked through the dark terrains of the forest. The cool air was refreshing against his skin, and the sounds of the night were a comforting presence .
When he reached the top of the hill, he paused to catch his breath and take in the stunning view before him. The city below was illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights, resembling bright stars in a dark sky. As the night progressed, new lights continued to evolve and their soft glow contrasted beautifully with the starry sky overhead which was the cherry on top.
The refreshing soft breeze and the sounds of crickets humming added a sense of peacefulness to this magical atmosphere.
That night’s scene was indeed a sensory feast and the wanderer said under his breath:” I must be very lucky to witness nature, in all its splendor and glory.”
He then started to look around for a place to sleep. He found a comfortable spot between a few rocks, sheltered from the wind but still has a good view. He laid down, gazing up at the sky and feeling blissful. At last, he was drifting off into Dreamland, embraced by the warmth of nature and surrounded by its beauty.
Hours had passed and the world was slowly waking up from its slumber as the sun rose above the realms of horizon, indicating the beginning of a new day. The wanderer, however, remained in a deep sleep.
The sunlight brushed against his face. Singing birds woke him up, and he felt like he had slept better than ever before. He stretched his arms in contentment, and as he stood up, he was rewarded with breathtaking sights.
The sky was crystal clear and streaked with bright white clouds. The hills stretched out in a wide arc along the horizon with their greenery slopes and vivid wildflowers. And under the influence of the sunlight, trees, plants and grasses were all shimmering. The sound of humming was everywhere, all was fluttering and flying, with new smells and new hues, the wanderer was evidently in a state of sensual intoxication.
That scene was like a masterpiece that came to life from a painter’s canvas.
As he was contemplating the landscapes, he sensed a familiarity from this place ,which he could not recognize at first, and wasn’t quite sure why.
Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, he realized he was in Rwanda, the Central African jem. The hills, forests and exotic smells – it all made sense in his mind now.
This small country located in the heart of Africa and known as the « land of a thousand hills » for its captivating mountainous terrains. The wanderer really felt as if he was in a dream. But soon he realized that this was not a dream, but the beauty and wonder of Rwanda as it truly is.
For a long moment, the wanderer simply sat on top of the hill, taking in the beauty of Rwanda and feeling grateful for this opportunity to visit it because he had always longed for learning more about its culture and history.
He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply and fresh air filled his lungs. He was overwhelmed by a sense of refreshment and vitality, as if nothing could disturb this pleasure.
Suddenly, a burst of screaming sounds was heard faintly from down the village. The wanderer was confused as to what could be the reason for this commotion. And so, he decided to get down to the nearby village down the hills and discover for himself.
As he was stumbling his way through the forest, heart pounding fast in his chest, feeling uneasy and not knowing what he was going to witness, he tripped over some tree roots and almost fell but he contained himself so as not to be heard.
Finally he reached a part of town that was empty and lifeless. Gloominess hung over it like a dark cloud. It was a haunting and eerie sight at once.
A sense of fear started to well up inside him, as he realized that he was completely alone in this place. He looked around trying to find any proof of what was happening and he saw a house with a wide open door. He entered slowly, with glazed eyes, scanning everything surrounding him until he saw a calendar hung on the wall and he stopped abruptly.
But as he was reading the date, he stood speechless, his eyes grew bigger and an expression of fear was drawn all over his face. It was “1 April 1994”, an indelible date in the history of Rwanda.
It marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, a mass slaughter and one of the most horrific acts of violence in recent times. Over a period of 100 days, from April to July 1994, an estimated 800,000 people from the Tutsi ethnic group, as well as moderate Hutus, were massacred by Hutu militia groups.
The wanderer realized with growing horror that this tragic event was happening right at that moment.
And in a trice, a loud scream shattered the silence of the place, it felt as if it was from just outside the house. A brick of panic and uncertainty lodged in his gut. He didn’t know what to do next but curiosity overcame him and decided to take a look.
He went out but found nothing. He continued walking cautiously between trees to avoid being seen.
Soon, a repugnant sight was presented before his eyes.
There was a woman lying on the ground, her face was bloody and her arms clenched to her baby. A few feet from her, there was a man, completely covered in blood and his features were unrecognizable. These unfortunate souls seemed to be once a family…and now they were gone.
The wanderer had a terrible sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach and felt as if a million volts surged through his body. No other sight provoked such a visceral reaction.
He walked away, eventually, having seen enough, while the wails of distressed people and children rang through the air.
A real tragic story was being played out in the streets of Rwanda not like a fairytale.
In that moment, the wanderer felt desperate to stop this increasing madness that was tearing Rwanda apart. He wanted to put an end to this violence and hatred. He wanted to yell, to scream and to cry out against it all.
Yet again, it was much bigger than what he could offer. He couldn’t help everyone, could he? Plus, the tragedy has already started happening.
Ultimately, he realized that he can’t change the course of history and it was destined to be.
He knew that Rwanda will emerge as a resilient nation despite all the challenges it has faced and won’t turn the page to this tragedy but rather turn the tide to its growth and flourishment to ensure a better future for its citizens.
Remembering the Rwandan Genocide is important for acknowledging the victims and survivors of this devastating event, and for ensuring that such atrocities never occur again. It serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of hatred and division.
Rwanda, nowadays, is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and has been acknowledged for its hard work and innovative strategies to catalyze positive change.
The wanderer learned from this journey that even in the midst of such darkness, there is always hope for a brighter future to arise.
He already had an inkling that this might be an experience of a lifetime and a story to be shared for all times. Undoubtedly, Rwanda will hold a precious place in his heart.
And so the wanderer sat off to a new journey, filled with a sense of gratitude at the infinite adventures that lie ahead and convinced that there are plenty of great things to unravel.
Written By : Chams Daghsni.
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