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CHILDREN: WHAT DO THEY KNOW?

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SOULS LOST IN SPACE

Nelson Mandela, PresidentIn my mature age years, the one other ugly scar on my body bothers me only so very rarely. I see it every day, but I almost never notice it these days. My love in my 30s used to be fascinated by this scar, and loved caressing it with affection every so often. She would get confused when I expressed irritation at this, because it feels so very unpleasant when another person touches this scar.

Over the years, my enquiry as to how I got this scar has been answered dodgily by those for whom it would be natural to know how it happened. What I have gathered, though, is that, when I was barely 2 years old, while my parents were away on holiday, a man who had a xenophobia inspired hatred for my father struck me with a sharp object in an attempt to kill me. My resemblance to my father is very striking. I’m told that this man hated my father so much he meant that by killing me first would, naturally, make my father so angry that he, my father, would want to fight this xenophobic man. This way, the latter would then have a valid reason to kill my father also, claiming self-defence.

I do have some hazy visions of events prior to this point, but I like to set my initial world awareness juncture from my first conscious memory on my first school day when I was four and half years old. From then to about age ten, recollections of my life come to me in chunks of specific events in different times and situations. I will recall other things in occasional discussions with family and childhood friends also.

One of the things I recall very vividly from this stage of my life is the xenophobic man of hate mentioned above, making what I then considered to be a serious threat to kill me. It seems he didn’t have the guts to see things through because he attempted to kill himself first. He survived the cowardish suicide attempt because he went round the village announcing to everyone of his impending self-induced demise that particular evening. From this time till age fourteen, recollections of my life come in even larger chunks, and have more lively contents. If my memory serves me right, it must be about this time, soon after the death threat, I began to consciously wonder about things in a serious way.

I took my first sacrament at church about the same time too. The latter event may have played a decisive role as well, because I recall that, together with other children at the Catholic school I then attended in Lesotho, there was some preparatory work we were had to undergo. Whereas in the school classroom we were led by/ with “What?”, “Who?”, and “Where”, I remember coming across “Why?” and “How?” in the pre-sacrament preparatory lessons with the parish priest, as well as our very, very kind and warm school teachers, who were nuns.

From the teenage years to well into adulthood years, recollections of my life I can lump into years, seasons, months and weeks. These days, I can account for each and every day of my life. Such that should I die now, I will no doubt have, hopefully, satisfactory answers, if only for myself, to the (in any order) “How?”, “What?”, “Where?”, “Who?”, and “Why?” of my death. My soul will then rest in peace.

Had the xenophobic man who hated my father so intensely gotten to actually kill me when I was hardly 2 years old, a small child totally oblivious to the world and its ways, I imagine my soul would still be wondering erratically out in space, defiant to the earthly force of gravity. I imagine my soul would want to rather continue wondering and wondering in outer space till the end of time, not that time matters when dead, though. Who would want to return to a world that is so callous it kills cruelly, mercilessly, its children with the kind of gross impunity we see in our time? Spare me reincarnation stories, please. Tell it to holy cows somewhere.

Children don’t choose their parents; they don’t choose, when, where and how they will be born. The worth of humanity is not in how many children they breed, but how many they protect as they guide and help them to grow up to be responsible and value adding members of the global community; this, as a non-revertible human decency and moral obligation imperative.

I can’t help wondering as to how many millions of lost souls of our heartlessly murdered children are roaming the universe at this very moment. Do they even know they are dead, in the first place? Would pictures of disembowelled, charred, beheaded, limbless children’s corpses make any sense to them? How can anybody win freedom, or practice the right to self-defence and/ or self-determination at the expense of truly innocent children genuinely unknowing of the world and its ways? What do religions, what does politics of the world say of the inherent nature innocence of children? Forgive them, Father, for they don’t know what they do can never apply here, surely. There has to be other ways of solving all the major territorial and/ religious conflicts in the world today than through wars. Even if there may be places to hide when the missiles come, children just cannot run.

 

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
July 30, 2014

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