I was Wondering….. if by A Simple Twist of Fate

I was wondering…….If by a Simple Twist of Fate, 

I was her instead of me.   

asimpletwistbokAnd I was born to drug addicted parents,

Not by choice, you understand, none of us have a say in our birth.

Just by

A Simple Twist of Fate

And I was wondering, what my life would be like, if by

that Simple Twist of Fate

I survived that first year or two, or even three.  

childYears, of neglect;

nappies not changed,

random feeding,

occasional washing,

And even more rare, moments of affection.

I was wondering if I was her instead of me

By that Simple Twist of Fate.drug

Would I have survived having my body sold ‘on the street’

By my parents to feed their addiction.

I was wondering if I was her instead of me,

Would I too have drowned my pain in the only escape

I knew – the same one they used to drown their demons.

By that Simple Twist of Fate if  I was her instead of me.

Would I have her strength, feel her pain, know her fear,

Sense her isolation as she crawls through her adolescence,

Not free of her childhood and yet with no childhood,me

With no ground beneath her feet,

With no one there  for her

With everyone there to take from her;

From her body, from her soul.

A Simple Twist of Fate  puts her and not me

Behind bars;    

handsThat fate of birth;

That fate of opportunity;

That fate of nurturing;

That fate of belief;

That fate of security.

That fate of birth

And if I was her instead of me, I was just wondering, would I harden my soul against the world as I sat for seven years, contemplating the Simple Twist of Fate and faced my

‘Rehabilitation’.

I was just wondering, if I was her instead of me,

would I emerge bitter and fuelled with anger or would I, if I were her instead of me,

emerge like her, with hope despite the pain or rejection by her family ,

with thoughts to a future in spite of her past,

with humility and wisdom despite no ‘schooling’

images

I was just wondering, if,

by a Simple Twist of Fate

I was her instead of me, if I could now,

Speak of the pain of the past

Speak of the rejection of the present

Speak of the hope for the future

As my friend does.    

My friend, who instead of me by that Simple Twist of Fate

Walked a journey so different to mine, and not because she, when she was young decided:

“When I grow up I want to live on the streets, be an addict and end up ‘inside’

Rather because of that Simple Twist of Fate.friends

My friend,

Did her time for her crime

And finds now, in my world,

That the time for her crime is eternal.

That women pull their handbags closer to their bodies when they learn about her past.

That no one will give her a job.

That accommodation is almost impossible to find.

That she may not volunteer.

That men assume her body is for sale.

That my world sees her as a curiosity, always an outsider, never to be trusted.

images-1

That the only place she feels welcome is the place of her past; the place that will put her back

Where she started life;  by a Simple Twist of Fate.

By that Simple Twist of Fate,  I am me, not her.   

And I wonder if it is I who needs the rehabilitation.   

The courage and grace to forgive the crime, served by time.

To practice what I ‘preach’: the belief that everyone Really Does Deserve a Second Chance.

And then the strength to live by that code;

To believe it; to work it; to support it;

For surely I know that if she were me, by that Simple Twist of Fate,

She would offer the hand of grace;images

For she, not me, by

That Simple Twist of Fate

Has walked a road of pain so great, that she, not me,

Is filled with love for her fellow man,

Not because they are wealthy,

Not because they are smart,

Not because they are clean, have teeth, combed hair,

But because they are Human;

Almost always doing the best they can with where they are at;

Because of  that Simple Twist of Fate.

I was just wondering…………

A Simple Twist of Fate – Joan Baez

Secure

I failed to mention security/crime/safety.

Every place you enter, be it shop, restaurant, museum, gallery, hotel or air port you are searched as is the car.

Police and military work together and are highly visible almost on every street corner – relaxed, friendly, armed and visible. Which is why I could happily walk in the dark alone in an African city and feel completely safe – no one jostled me, hassled me or made me feel nervous
Great feelingimg_5373

Surprise

Early start for Nairobi
What a stunning surprise Rwanda has been

And I didn’t tell you plastic bags banned here (and Uganda) only paper allowed

City Absolutely spotless – quite remarkable – not a piece of litter anywhere

And I noticed – no graffiti

And the traffic lights go into Amber ftom midnight till 630am! So sensible

Very liveable city

Pride

A Nation’s pride

Rwanda acquired, last week, their first Airbus 330-200

It sits on top of the hill at the airport for all to see and was shown to me with such pride

On its arrival in Rwanda it flew over the city for everyone to see and admire

Definitely a people looking to the future

Genocides

Kigali Genocide Memorial

is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

It honours the memory of the more than one million Rwandans killed in 1994 through education and peace-building.

I wasn’t sure about visiting this centre – I have read quite a bit about this particular genocide and remember it well – would this be a ‘token gesture kind of place’ or so harrowing I would need space – lots of it to find equilibrium again.

It was neither – it was a remarkable place which honours those so brutally murdered and does so much more – it puts it into a context.

It does an excellent job about educating – about how incremental mind changes, subtle gossip and creation of envy can change neighbours into enemies.

“It is a crime against humanity to be
accused of being born ”

It looks at genocides throughout recent times :

– The Armenian 75% of those in Ottoman Empire murdered
– The Hereros 80% of population murdered
– The Pol Pot in Cambodia 25% of its population killed
– The Holocaust killed 6 million Jews (about 2/3 of Jewish population in Europe) and 5 million non Jews
– The Muslim killings in Bosnia Herzegovina has disputed figures but it is believed 200,000 people were killed, 12,000 of them children, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes.
– and the rest

And doubtless as our present becomes history more will be added – Syria? Iraq?
Who knows

The word genocide is a fairly recent addition to our language:
Geno=Greek race/tribe Cide=Latin killing
But the act can be traced back to the Old Testament.

The centre has lovely gardens where contemplation is possible and while I spent three hours there I noted a large school group ; not just on a school excursion as we know them – a day out of school and a bit of fun . Rather an intense visit which included a long session in the Peace Room of interactive discussion. There were guides talking to them through each area and conversation appeared two way and deep.

2 mill dead in two months and it is believed that the number of foreign troops used to evacuate foreign workers could have stopped the attacks which they knew were planned. Communal guilt?

Gacaca (grass) courts were set up throughout the country post the killings – these were not ‘kangaroo’ courts but serious attempts to seek the truth and sentences ranged from prison to community work – those who found it possible to confess and asked forgiveness of relevant victims were generally given community work as ‘punishment’ 12000 courts in 10 years did much to bring some kind of resolution and these courts have been called the finest post conflict justice courts in the world – I wonder how many of us had heard of them?

Rwandans may be defined by their history in others minds but they are working through education to ensure it never happens again – (as can be seen by the two posters I copied.).
They also seem to know that without forgiveness moving forward is not possible

img_5363
The gardens – the elephant with the mobile phone to keep communication open
img_5364
Enter a caption

img_5365

img_5366
This statement for me is hope
img_5367
The posters referred to – actually a different site

img_5368

img_5369
10 Belgium soldiers murdered here during this time
img_5370
Beautiful memorial to them

Be

img_5371
The explanation
img_5372
Let us…..