Africa, child soldier, daughter of love, ghost girl, grotesque, Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army, sonnet, Swahili, Uganda, Wesesa
We talk about death and war abstractly.
and pray that it happens elsewhere. I pray
for the dead. She came and spoke Swahili,
died with baby fat, mouth parched, her blue-gray
skin cracked like a shell. At the age of ten
she fought with the LRA. She doesn’t
speak of how she died. “At the hands of men,”
I thought. “Grotesquely.” She stood, shy, silent,
waiting to be remembered. When she crawled
in my lap I gathered her up. “Daughter
of love, you are safe here.” A madman’s war
consumed her, grotesquely. I was appalled
by her wounds. But Wesesa, girl soldier,
doesn’t care; she’s not alone anymore.
The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) is a militant cult movement operating in Uganda, Sudan, the DRC. It has been accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, sex slavery and recruiting and forcing children to participate as solders in active combat. It is run by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed prophet, who claims the LRA is engaged in a holy war with the aim of establishing an Uganda theocracy based on the Ten Commandments and local tribal laws.