Comrades Power

Written by: Vicky Tsiluma


Where were you when history was happening? That question had always bugged me…first mistake. Comrades power! Power! The shout went out with an eagerness that would put revolutionists to shame. The air shifted…the students converged ready for war. And I…I was determined to see this through. Student riots were becoming rampant and I had escaped two of them already. This time I wanted to be a part of history. This time I was taking a stand – against what, I forget. The accusations were leaded in ambiguities. Comrades power! Power! The peaceful sit-in quickly turned into a them versus us. Them, as in men-in-blue. And some in green. Stones flew higher than tempers, Gun shots rang like electric bells. Cars went up in flames. Tear gas and frozen water hit their targets. Screams played out distant stage whispers. A wall came down, and out we dashed. Survival first – I knew I had to ditch the group, the only way out was through an army base that bordered the campus. Fortunately there was the washer-woman, and fortunately I had believed my mom when she’d reminded me courtesy costs nothing. Maria accounted for me at the gate and I was allowed through. In, I went. And that’s when pigs started circling in my head. I saw others bundled up. The full brunt of the law was ruthlessly unleashed – the deaths, the beatings, the maimings, the rapes negated any precedent. I had nothing to lose – I ran. The scene played out in slow motion… Shot rang…bullet hit my back…stone tackled my foot… I fell. Ground broke my head…blood oozed from my mouth… Darkness invaded my mind. This can’t be it…it can’t end like this. I felt as if I was being pulled in all directions. I gasped for air. ‘Wake up!’ The voice called. I opened my eyes, my nephew was shaking me awake. I’d fallen from the bed as I was combating my nightmare. It had all been an anguished dream! Tears sprang in my eyes and I held him close. I knew then, I’d rather be labeled a coward Than die for an unknown cause. So next time I’m asked, Where were you when history was happening? I know what my answer will be… Infront of the television, watching it unfold.
11/20/2012 © Vicky Tsiluma