Friday, March 10, 2006

Sudan, a Time for War and a Time for Peace
Exultant voices sing “Halleluiah! Halleluiah! Praise be to the Lord God all mighty!” There is no music, no instruments playing; and even if there were, the jubilant voices would drown them out entirely; for these are the persecuted. These are the raped and tortured. These are the people of Darfur Sudan. These are the people who are not supposed to be here. These are the people who can be killed for no reason, for they have no rights; they have no property; in fact some are considered property. They are Christians in a land dominated by Muslims. They gather in that little mud hut crumbling to the ground from war and drought to celebrate the birth of a small child. One who lived against all odds. His mother died in childbirth before he even left the womb. The day he arrived into the world, there was a doctor there from the Red Cross. That doctor saved the child’s life. The crowd is singing and clapping and praising their God with all their souls because this one made it; this one can live and grow in the spirit and keep alive the hope that someday they might be delivered from slavery. The pastor got up and raised his hands in signal to pause the worship for a moment. This was the moment, the reason why everyone risked his or her lives to gather there today. This was the dedication of the small child: the one that lived. The father walked up to the pastor, his face gleaming with pride, joy and wonder; and the pastor said “I praise God for every one who came today. This is a rare moment, this day. For this is a day that God has made for us to worship him. We are gathered here to witness the dedication of this child to the lord and to his brothers and sisters in Christ. So, Joseph,” the pastor said turning his attention to the father “do you promise to care for this child, love him and keep him safe to the best of your ability? If so, say I will.”

“I will,” responded Joseph

“And do you, the church promise to help this new father keep his pledge of care for his child? If so, say we will.”

“We will,” responded the church in unison.

“Very good. This is a momentous day, one that will live on if not in history, then in our hearts. Believe in the hope that we can survive--and one day, we will.”

At the same time, millions of miles away, in Tyler, Texas to be exact, a fragile young girl was born. She barely made it, but only after enduring four days of fighting that was, for her, more brutal and urgent than ten years in Iraq. Hope, as they called her was born a month and a half prematurely and her lungs were underdeveloped. However, she made it and her proud parents brought her before the priest with amazed smiles and a vigor that only new life can create. There was singing, but the spirit that was found in the Sudanese was lacking. Why be jubilant when you go to the same church every Sunday, sometimes even weekdays? Why look on acquaintances as if you have not seen them in years and a hole in your heart is temporarily filled when you see the same faces almost daily? There wasn’t the same joy because there wasn’t the same escape from pain.

Hope was introduced into a life of relative ease. Do what is expected and you don’t have to worry about anything. No real pain, no hunger, nothing but luxury and boredom. Her life was one taken for granted.

At fourteen, just a freshman in a 2000+ high school, Hope was dating young men five years her senior. She liked to believe that her parents didn’t know, but she knew that they weren’t completely ignorant. There were too many times that she came home after curfew (every such time, she got grounded) too late for her to be dropped off by any of her 16 year old friends. Too many times, the police brought her home saying that she had been caught with cigarettes, which none of her friends could buy for her. Just too many slip-ups that made her look more and more suspicious in the eyes of her parents.

Hope was, again, a 14 year old girl in a high school with over 2000 kids; just about 550 in her class. Hope was failing school. No one cared enough to see that she needed help nobody saw that she was on the brink. Hope had friends, but they weren’t the type that one could count on. She was a pretty girl, and that got her a seat at the “demigoddess” table at lunch. Not the popular table full of the early bloomers, but the table where the others sat. Her friends were as flaky as one might expect when friendship is based off of superficiality; Hope talked on the phone, but the conversations were just as real as the bonds with her “friends”.

Hope had good parents. They loved her and gave her everything that she needed and most of what she wanted, but they weren’t as involved as she might like. She was afraid to open up to them because she was afraid of what they might think or do or say. Her friends’ parents were all acquainted with each other, and, as in any small community, word spreads. And that is the last thing that Hope needed.

Joseph watched Ben playing soccer with his friends in the refugee camp in Chad where he had brought what was left of his family three years ago. Ben had been a lucky kid since birth. Born in the war ravaged Darfur regions, Ben’s mother, Sarah, had died bringing him into the world. Joseph had been devastated by her sudden departure but at the same time envious that she didn’t have to endure the pain of oppression, Sarah didn’t have to worry about waking up to a gun to her head or a knife at her throat, and had Ben not survived, Joseph would have left this world soon after his beloved wife. But Joseph had moved on, or at least he had tried to. He remarried so that Ben would have a mother in his life; his whole existence was for Ben now.
Just having the soccer ball was a miracle in itself. The camp that they were at now was one of the more fortunate ones. Being in Chad, the Janjaweed hadn’t discovered the little group of tents lost in the desert made up of defiant infidels as they were called in the Khartoum regions of the north. The Red Cross had its own tent set up which was manned two to three days out of the week. The Peace Corps, which gave the soccer ball and some other small toys, was there too. Though the help wasn’t much, it was still help and that’s all that mattered.
“Honey, I sent you out here to get Ben for supper.”

“We’ll be there in a minute.”

Supper, yet another miracle that was given to the refugees here.
“Ben! Time for dinner. You can come out later if it’s still light out.”

Disclaimer: This story is not trying to compete with other stories. I wrote this off of a whim and I wanted to see what you guys thought. If you like it, then I’ll mix it in with the news. Sooo…?


Demosthenes said...

Different strokes man... it's not America's fault it hasn't gone through the same things as Sudan... the reason we are the way we are is because of three hundred years of global dominance. Society sucks like that.

Good story though

GoDdEsS M said...

ditto Dem.

really intriquing stuff you wrote. it's depressing to know that it is reality for thousands of people, not just words of fiction on a computer screen.

Screaming Buffalo said...

Please don't read into this as an analogy for why I think that people are the way they are. That wasn't the point. I wasn't blaming society for being the way it is; I was just writing a story.

Yes, Godess M, it is very discouraging that there are things like this that really happen. I just wish that this was just a work of fiction that was not based off of real events...*sigh*

jedith said...

Good Story Buff. One little piece of advise, you're trying too hard to make it sound profound. You need to loosen up a bit and let the topic flow.

Syar said...

will you settle for a cop-out, I'm sorry I don't have time to read the story but will soon and I just wanted to comment anyway...comment?

by the sounds of it, this story is worth reading therefore it is bookmarked so be prepared for a proper comment tomorrow.

anyways, this is a catch up comment. I feel guilty when I don't check in every once in a while and make myself heard. thanks for the link by the way, I appreciate the Syar2 one as well. :-)

Syar said...

its a little shaky, but the potential is there. I don't know if you meant to end it there, but the ending (for now) was rather abrupt.

its a good story, I really want to see how this turns out.

Katie said...

Are you comparing and contrasting the lives of these two kids? Or will they eventually be brought together through such and such circumstances? Either way, it's pretty good, and I agree with Syar, it ended rather abruptly.

Screaming Buffalo said...

Well the ending was kind of rushed, but I did mean to leave people hanging. You know when you watch a TV movie and they kind of take a commercial break in kind of abrupt spots to try and keep you watching? Well it's the same concept only hopefully, it won't be as annoying. For right now I don't want to leave another post until after spring break; but I will be working on another post over break.

Oh and Katie, I can't tell you that, that's sometihng that you're going to have to find reading. See the idea of suspense (or at least the attempt at it)?