Mother’s cries: ‘Genius-cidal’ and ‘Prioricidal’

By Mustapha K Darboe

It was a day in the spring but not, certainly, days like any other. There would be no sun in the sky and the stars too in the night that follows would rather have a day off.

Leafs of paper would rattle the streets because, apparently, the biggest fraudulent literary project was underway. History would be rewritten, the past defiled, raped and murdered to save face of the criminals who attempted her murder.

This is unusual! But lots of things are unusual. The deserted old woman stood, sun-stripped, and starring into the thin air scanning for answers— answers to questions that defied the most conning of mathematicians and the most intelligent of renowned scientist and bewildered the cruelest of people and yet finds its explanation in the logics of a nursery school student.

She was Adam and funnily also Eve—the first to be created and you may call her the cradle of humanity. All religious scriptures told her story, but even prophets were bewildered by the patience with which she tolerated and accommodated all species of people, even her unrepentant enemies.

She is as old as old itself is but still strong. The old woman, because of her silent tolerance and less appetite for blaming, would be presumed an uneducated idiot. But she would wake me in my bed and drag me through her history. She would recreate scenes, retell old but told and untold stories, walked me to lands soaked in fratricidal, patricidal and ‘allcidal’ bloods— bloods of her dead sons and daughters.

I was already confused not only because of the age she claimed to have had but her inexplicable beauty and natural physique and I might add, and chemistry. Thus, before she start her story, she realized it was necessary that she introduced me to her unfamiliar story and the two words that she would say explain her trauma, following which, history would be rewritten to prove her guilt in a crime against herself.

The two words, she said, are ‘genius-cidal’ and ‘prioricidal’. Perhaps a tactic of the old to keep a young boy waiting, she would hesitate that I find out the meanings of the two words in a literary work she has done.

But I have read over one thousand books from childhood, I said with pride. She stared at me with fire in her eyes and protested: “you are my son but you don’t know a thing about me because the criminals who have raped your mother were the authors of not just her history but her fate, extreme poverty”.

Give me that folder, she requested. I did. However, my journalistic curiosity would not allow me not to peek at the content of the documents before I handed it over. Inside it was a poem she wrote. With a borrowed brain of Walter Obrien, the man with 197 IQ, I would memorize it.

She held up the document with pain in her eyes as visible as an inferno in the wild. This was how it all started, she said. What? I asked, with the confusion of a civilian tasked to defuse a bomb. She crawled towards me, caressed my cheek and asked: Can you read this poem?

I hesitated but my eagerness in demystifying the identity of the old woman had reached a boiling point. And it would occur to me that perhaps reading her poem would reveal a trace to the destiny from where this charm in the form of a woman was sourced, but even knowing and mining not just her mind but her past. For if there is any common plague among writers, it is that they all work streets naked— they share their lives with their readers in words.

I would lift my right hand and jostle slowly but steadily towards the old lady and belch, with an amount of courage it would take to attack Hilter, “give it to me”. She surrendered the paper in my hands and said, with the caring voice of a mother, “read and know and be convicted that I was, I am and I will be”. And the poem would read:

The night traders

I heard their engines roaring

And shackles screaming

The commodities began crying

As they began a journey from home

Left-overs there weep as they watch their right arms being choked

And the future of their land being taken away

Young ones watched in bewilderment

Wise and strong ones were shipped

They would be taken to no man’s land

Where they would toil on the fields

Till their souls out of them jostled

Their remains to the masters’ dogs thrown

The night trader

Great symbol of man’s inhumanity to man

Extreme power harms

Pity inside man it crushed

As on hunger for money and prestige it feeds

Wouldn’t they have stopped?

As in their eyes young ones stared

Pleading they be freed

From the ships they there shackled

Rendering the land infertile

The night traders

Now that much time slipped

The wounds to scars turned

Will man recurrence shunned

And good lessons learned

If earth is to be maintained

Stop! She bawled like an angry lioness in a den struggling to cope with the reality of having her babies killed by a hunter. But in her eyes was a different message— she has come to save her son. She was right, I though. She is my mother.

‘I am a mother and it hurt me that mother my sons and daughters are not only poor despite the huge reserve of wealth I have saved for them; they are beggars at war with themselves,’ she said.

‘The powerful among them have connived with those that loot the wealth of my family and send them oversees.’

I noticed the pain in her throat, mind and spine, as she recounted these stories. I have got many geniuses but they were killed by my own sons and daughters at the exchange of few coins from my family enemies: ‘genius-cidal’. Priority areas for the progress of my family were equally slaughtered by my own but powerful ones for praise from my family enemies: ‘prioricidal’.

This episode will introduce me to seeing, for the first time, a human being falling in pieces as she paced the sandy floor of my room. It was the leg, the knee, the waist, the breast and then the head. Read on, she managed to say, crying.

 

Sun-stripped for the abattoir

Stationed atop the city’s tallest tower

Scanning the land layer by layer

I could hear pleas and screams from afar

They were trapped in a cross-fire

The city is caged in a cool fire chamber

It was a clash between two fearless powers

Both craving to be the country’s powerful power

Society’s weak was the price they both offer

Guns screamed and bullets danced as women suffer

The children couldn’t elude the death Engel either

Life was but deadlier

Off the apocalypse only the dead were cleared

But do they care?

The throne at all cost each wants to wear

Sun-stripped for the abattoir

Behold! Women and children locked between brutal folds

Pen scribbler write and records have it told

Weak’s life at the mercy of the powerful’s goals

Reducing the human race to a crawl

Tell the tales of the old

And that child!

Resting his head in despair against a corpses’ pile

Don’t deny them the battle’s true picture

Where is the future?

Many are being tortured

Sun-stripped for the abattoir

Tell them at the city’s outskirt we saw shadows

Of the souls of women and children skying in groups

To where they will finally rest

Tell them many have succumbed to the venomous bite of poverty

Some are laid bare bones

Their flesh disappeared in thin air

Poverty has eaten it all

Alas! Won’t they stop now?

The subjects have had enough

After ending that poem she slowly leaned her head against my shoulder and pronounced again: “I am your mother. I am Africa”. Though the dream continued but this is what she allowed me to relay to you. Pray that she appears today and allow me to write further about my dream of mother Africa.

 

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