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Sierra Leonean Boy Soldier

Sierra Leonean Boy Soldier by Samira JaJi

Sierra Leonean BOY SOLDIER   

by Samira JaJi

Featured Photo: cc/(AdrianHillman, photo ID: 26239379, from iStock by Getty Images)

I used to be good with my hands

I used to do good with my hands


I loved to play the drums

Carefree beats and melodies inspired by my beautiful homeland

Until one day without warning, the sheet music changed and the ground shook with the harsh vibrations of advancing rebel groups in the merciless trampling marching band


 They found us in our home …

Windows boarded up and doors sealed

We tried to conceal ourselves 

& spare our ears from the sounds of death and destruction the Grimm Reaper composed

just beyond our makeshift wood and tin refuge


But they found us anyway

They amused themselves for a little while,

Tormenting us by showing off what their sinister instruments could do

Their conductor then forced me to play a solo

So I traded my innocence for the false promise of my loved ones spared lives and the instrument needed to play the requested piece of blood-soaked sheet music

From which I played every red note 3 times over: for my Mother, Father, and Grandmother


I CUT, skin deep

DRIP, drop blood

SNAP, crack bones

RIP, tear flesh

They beg, scream, shout


The blade scrapes table

HANDS hit ground

I witnessed them SHOT, point blank


My spirit torn from my body I became a zombie, resigned to the fact that I would have to march on with the war mongering marching band

Morality and I became estranged

As I became more involved in playing the symphony of warfare that

Set fire to villages

Burned bodies

Raped, pillaged,

Broke the necks and backs of those that tried to flee the music

And I cut their pleading hands off




Making them release heart wrenching screams in harmony with the last breath that escaped from the lips of their loved ones’ final whimper of agony


It was a blessing for all when the diminuendo came

Intense violent conflict decreased until the chaotic raucous was replaced by uneasy silence

It was in this silence that I reunited with my guilt

I looked down at my hands, they had turned red

I used to do good, with my hands

Like indelible ink blood has left my hands permanently red

So I try to do better, with my hands

But if not for this war that has torn my land

And had I just a bit of opportunity, can you imagine what I could’ve done…

Not with my hands, but with my mind.











@Samira JaJi 2015







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