My name is Orphan Boy; I’m a Somali Orphan boy.
I’m lost and I don’t know where to go.
My father was killed trying to protect me.
His body received a dozen bullets that took his life.
His body lay on me so I could not move.
I could feel his warm blood running over my skinny bones.
I can only remember neighbours pulling me under my father’s corpse.
I breathe the smell of blood that gave no relief.
Knowing not the whereabouts of the rest of my family,
I run for my life.
Lost among crowds I did’t know.
Thousands lost like me with no guide
For many miles I ran, I rested my tired feet under a shade-less tree.
It was the permanent shelter of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
I sat there in grief for the years yet to come.
I can dream in peace and calm.
With dignity and pride at all.
Waiting for UN rations in queue,
A shame I always carry.
Every hour a soul departs from starvation.
Who is next -, is written on the already quiet faces.
My turn must be near as I count the time.
Nothing is sacred in Somalia; no life is spared for any presumed innocence.
Death is daily life; no one is surprised when it finds its victim.
Funerals are a daily ritual.
No one cares for loved ones any more.
Tears gone forever, frozen faces with sadness remain.
I don’t know, the reason they fight.
Everyday a new armed group emerges, and claims to be the right one.
The army of God is ‘on the march,’ they say now.
Who is fighting, who are they fighting?” I always ask.
Each death is a brother, sister, father or mother.
No noble man can rise after destroying his people.
Heaven never promised paradise to vengeance killers.
None of God’s laws dictate massacre of the innocents.
A preacher of good conscience never craves human blood.
But the measure of a man is being good leader.
That fateful day of December 3rd.
The graduation ceremony that was never completed.
The sound of a blast shattering the room.
Bones sticking out from broken limps, blood covering the walls.
Screaming nurses rushing to the scene to save those still alive.
Separated from their owners, shoes, watches and jewelry lay around.
Legs and arms separated from graduating students lay around.
Among the dead was the fine professor from America.
People knew him as ‘Professor Addow, the revered one.’
He lay down in a pool of blood.
His white cloth in red and blue.
What a woeful ending for someone who sacrificed so much.
Those who perished with him had compassionate hearts too.
Leaving their adopted homelands to heal the sick.
Good learned men, women and their students gave their lives.
Their efforts gone for ever to no avail.
Carrying the sorrow and guilt of failing to protect my beloved father.
Vengeance is in my head, though my heart hates to see anyone to die.
Sometimes I dream of joining the ranks of Somali pirates.
Raising the Jolly Roger to earn respect and fame.
Getting the ransom and building my own castle along the beach.
Choosing my future bride from the beautiful Somali girls.
I even thought of joining the famous Al-Shabab group.
To be a popular boy who can whip people and cut off hands as I chose.
But then I said “the life of pirates carries a high price indeed.”
I still see the bullet holes of my father’s scalp; death is forever with no return.
Joining gangs and pirates won’t get me ahead.
I just want to be a boy, to go to school.
I do not want see people killed or myself being killed.
I carry a tormented soul of lost hope.
I soothe my pain with nostalgia I never knew.
Good memories never existed in my failed nation.
“The hope of the land is the youth,” as they say.
But I see young men who have gone wild.
Bazookas and Kalashnikovs ready to kill.
Bows and sharpened arrows on their broken backs.
Not understanding why they have to fight and to kill.
They claim they took up arms to fight oppression.
Yet tyranny is what they have embraced.
Whipping an old man’s back, should bring them shame?
Unearthing the bones of century- old saints
The secrets of the dead will tell their tales.
Instilling fear into weak hearts will never bring trust.
I want to know what is in their minds, why anyone enjoys spilling blood.
Embracing shame, with honor as their permanent foe.
Who do they want to defeat?
Nothing can enable me to rejoice in a victory.
The world’s appeal for peace fell on deaf ears,
I pray to the Almighty to see no more blood.
Lay down all arms and seek peace
No trouble - I seek no more
Clothe me now that I am naked.
Give me shelter now I am homeless.
Feed me now I am hungry,
Heal my soul now I am sick.
Don’t cut my legs and let me walk.
Don’t chop off my hands so I can earn living.
I want to shake your hand and call you “brother”.
Inspire me with kindness and compassion.
Put away the bloody sword.
I am only an orphan boy,
A captive bird trapped in a cage of fear
Set me free so I can fly
Fly to taste the sweetness of freedom for us all.
Farah M. Mohamed