Free people may be alike everywhere in their freedom, but the oppressed inhabit each their own hell_ Chinua Achebe( Anthills of the Savannah)
“Knock! knock! Open this gate! “
“Hello! Open this gate or we will bust in! ” the men outside commanded angrily.
It was 11 o’clock in the night and Clara was tightly being spooned by her husband, Nsiah. The intermittent rapping at the door spooked Clara awake. She turned, looked at her husband Nsiah , who with his lazybones was not even bustling to get out of bed.
“N-s-i-a-h, ” Clara stretched while shaking him awake.
“Listen! ” Clara hissed
“who might it be at this hour? “
“That’s what I want you to find out honey.”
“Ooooooo ” Nsiah complained lazily as he stepped out of bed.
He descended the stairs with his feet firmly fixed in his slippers.
When he opened the door, he came face-to-face with five armed men in military gear who aggressively requested that he come with them for questioning.
When Clara heard the ruckus from upstairs, she came down to check what was happening.
“what is happening here?… Wait, where are you taking him!? ” She requested shrilly having seen the soldiers try to drag Nsiah away.
“Are you his wife? ” One of the soldiers queried as he approached her.
“Please come with us ma’am, ” a soldier requested as he put his arm around her to slowly but firmly direct her forward.
They shoved Nsiah into the jeep they had brought and Clara was made to sit in front with a driver who wore a grim look.
At the back of the jeep, Nsiah was sandwiched between two soldiers and the remaining two, attached themselves to the jeep in the true fashion reminiscent of lorry mates at Circle and Kejetia .Then the jeep zoomed off and disappeared into the night.
Everybody in the neighbourhood knew what had happened. They all heard the disturbance in the night but who dared intervene. In this regime’s era, things like this happened all the time. Ministers went missing in broad daylight, Civil servants got abducted in the middle of the night only for their bloody corpses to be found in the morning.
But quite frankly, Nsiah’s abduction was a mind-boggling affair. Nsiah wasn’t a government official or held any ministerial appointment. He was a class one teacher at the local assembly primary school. His wife Clara was just a typist for a small company in the city. So why had he been abducted?
It was Clara herself who answered this question 14 days later. She had been found one morning strapped to a post on the Tema highway, naked as the day she had been born , bloody and crying her eyes out.
When Samaritans had taken her home and had taken care of her, she narrated their ordeal this way:
They had been taken to one of the military camps. Don’t ask me which one for It was too dark for her to tell. When they got there, they had accused Nsiah of being a traitor. They claimed he was indoctrinating the pupils with anti-regime messages and that he was also conspiring with others to overthrow the government. How preposterous!
Anyway, as a punishment, they forced him to watch as the four soldiers took turns in having their way with his wife. Once they had finished, they handed Clara a firearm and asked her to shoot him. And just to make sure she complied, they took turns slashing Nsiah with their machetes. Clara who couldn’t bear the screams and the blood(oh there was too much blood) depressed the trigger. Nsiah gave up the ghost instantly.
Beginning of the End
Anyway, Clara went mute after telling her story but there was still an important part that she had omitted which her sister Ofeibea told us:
It had been one of those usual days and it was Clara’s turn to get lunch for the office.
You see, Ofeibea says when Clara was almost at the place near that junction where Auntie Korkor sells the gari and beans… ahaa! At that place , she realized, a long black car _the one they call a ‘Limo’ _pull up right beside her.
Tinted glass was rolled down and there inside was the almighty General himself! It is said that he propositioned Clara but the latter refused him(He the supreme military ruler!)
Well, Offeibea says from the way his face had contorted like folded flaps of skin on a baboon, he was very displeased at Clara’s impudence and had fumed about letting her know what power truly was and now… well… now here we are.
Beginnings Newly Begun
Some few months later
Have you seen?…have you heard the news today?
They say the General has been overthrown and yes by the same junior officers who had abducted Nsiah in the night. The Press are calling it a palace coup. I wonder where that palace that precedes the coup really is?
Anyway, the junior officers were on the radio channel that belongs to the government; they said their new regime represents a “New Beginning”…but the question is… for whom?
Vanity Card #7
It seems to me only fitting that I ended the year with a post about “New Beginnings“. Beyond this little story of mine , are ideas of what certain “beginnings” entail(emphasis on ‘certain) From our brothers and sisters in Belarus struggling to free themselves from oppression; to our Nigerian family who showed a great intrepid spirit in the face of their oppressors and said , ” No, we won’t have this anymore, kabisa!” : they have shown that the struggle for our liberties continue. Though oppression wears a new ‘face’ these days and has learned to be flexible in order to succeed again and again, I urge all of us to gather our strengths and shout with our Nigerian brothers and sisters that , ” Enough is enough! Kabisa!” Also, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you! You’ve really held out well!
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