Monday, February 14, 2011

Ikemefuna Obituary (Richard)

Ikemefuna originated from the village of Mbaino, but that was not his true home. He was 15 when he, along with a virgin girl from his first home, were taken in exchange for peace with the Mbaino village after they murdered one of our women. In the three years that he was with us, he had grown to become part of our community, joining the famous warrior Okonkwo’s family, where he and the eldest son, Nwoye, became inseparable. He was hard working and devoted to his adopted village, working hard with Okonkwo and Nwoye on the yam harvest. It is just hard to believe that such a promising member of our village would anger the gods.
Last market week, the village elders talked to the Oracle, who declared that the Earth god wanted Ikemefuna to be killed. Ikemefuna, who had worked so hard and whose new father had become fiercely proud of, was to be killed just outside of our village. Okonkwo, whom Ikemefuna had called his father, led a group of men out of Umoufia and down a deserted trail. Under the false pretense that he was going home, Ikemefuna followed the men and his father without question. Once they were a good distance from the village, they drew their machetes and struck him once. The strong boy that he was, he survived the first strike and called out for his father. Little did he know that Okonkwo would be the one to strike the finishing blow.
Talking to Okonkwo’s wives, I have discovered that this brutal act did not come without its consequences. Okonkwo did not eat for two days and did not sleep for many more. With no work to do after the harvest, Okonkwo did nothing but sit in his hut and drink, no doubt Okonkwo’s attempt to forget his actions. Not two harvest weeks before, Okonkwo, Nwoye and Ikemefuna had been happily at work, repairing their barn by re-thatching the roof and repairing the walls. A neighbor, the ozo Obierika, had something to say about Okonkwo’s actions:
“Okonkwo obeyed the gods, killing his most hard working and strong son, but he shouldn’t have killed the boy himself. This type of cruel action is likely to bring severe repercussions from the gods that may kill Okonkwo, his family or even the entire village.”
Nwoye, Okonkwo’s eldest son and Ikemefuna’s closest brother, was destroyed by this recent turn of events, claiming that he “knew what was happening, but could do nothing to stop it”. Nwoye and Ikemefuna could be seen every day strolling the back paths around our village or working hard at tasks that Nwoye had refused to do only a few short years earlier. Indeed, Ikemefuna seemed to bring Nwoye alive, teaching him to work hard and be a man. Without Ikemefuna, Nwoye will never be the same. 

The First Missionaries

When Richard and I first arrived to Africa, the first thing we noticed was the heat. After travelling by sea we took horses to arrive to the new land of that belonged to the so-called tribe “Umofia”. At Umofia, we met many sorts of people including many elderly people. These people were obviously savages, as they kill almost anyone that disobey their rules and have no understanding of the English language. We have been continuously trying to teach them but no success. These people also believe in some sort of inner power or higher being called the oracle, which is totally wrong, as god is the higher power, not some thing called the oracle.
            On day 2, we began building roads and schools for these savages, but instead they yell at us and hit us with sticks, telling us that we are destroying their land. These dimwits obviously don’t understand that we are helping them by giving them roads and education. We did have to take down a few temples and yam farms here and there, but it was worth it. Many of the men however, were crying about their yam farms being destroyed. This was extremely strange to us, as yams are the cheapest crop that could be grown.
            At nighttime, we saw a huge festival going on and decided to take a look. It turned out to be a wrestling match, however this was a much more crude version than our own wrestling matches we have. There was a bit of blood shed, and lots of drumming. It was a loud and crazy place to be in, and in the end we decided to leave.
            Most of the foods here in Africa are horrible. The people only eat crops such as yam. They even talk about how the crickets come in and are a delicacy to eat. For British people, crickets are the worst. They destroy crops; ruin massive areas of farmland and many people starve.
            All I want to do is just finish my job here and teach these savages what is right and what is wrong, and who controls whom. We need teach these people that god is the only one, and that the rest of them are incorrect. Once all of that is done, I just want to get out of this dirty ugly dust ball.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ikemefuna Obituary

Ikemefuna died, just recently. Ikemefuna was a 18 year old boy from Mbaino, who was given up to Umuofia after the killing of one of their women. The Mbaino clan was scared and did some peace talk, and ended up giving Umuofia Ikemefuna. He lived in Okonkwo’s family for 3 years, before the elders order him to be killed. In those three years he becomes closely bonded with Okonkwo’s family, but he also longs for his sister and mother very much. Ikemefuna even calls Okonkwo his own father, and Okonkwo adores him very much. The oracle however, wants the boy to be killed, and so he was, by his very own father (Okonkwo). Okonkwo volunteered to kill his own “son” because he wanted to prove that he was not weak, or a woman. However, Okonkwo regrets killing his “son” and it haunts him for the rest of his life.
Ikemefuna was a young boy who was strong and quick on his feet. He however, was the ultimate victim, his fate completely out of his control. He was taken away from his family for a crime that had not involved him. Once he reaches Umuofia, he is then subject to Okwoko, his new father, the elders and the oracle. Ikemefuna lived in the Mbaino clan before moving into Umuofia. Ikemefuna had a father, mother and a sister. He loves his mother and sister very much, but his father was mean, and he hated him.
Okwoko was very fond of Ikemefuna, but treated him just like the rest of his childs, with a heavy hand. However, he was proud of Ikemefuna, and found him a good influence on his other lazy children. Nevertheless, when the oracle said that Ikemefuna had to be killed, Okwoko obliged, and killed Ikemefuna himself. He wanted to prove that he was strong enough to kill a person he very much loved. On the inside, Okwoko felt sorrow and regret for Ikemefuna, and became very unhappy of his action for the rest of his life.
In the end, Ikemeuna was a full victim from the beginning to end. He was born to great and happy family, whom he so loved very much. He then was moved to a different tribe for a crime he did not commit. He then bonded well with the new clan and new family, but after all the things he had done, Okwoko, his new father, killed him.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to Write About Africa (Seriously)

When writing about Africa, always use the words “A new wonder”, “Untouched Nature” or etc. Subtitles may include “Happiness”, “Different People”, “Improvement” and other similar words. Remember to use these words when writing the story: “Beautiful Forests” or “Large Landscape”. Also note to describe the beautiful creation god has given to Africa. Also state Africa as small individual countries, not a whole.
            At the cover, it is best to show the pretty lush land, and the different and happy tribal people. Other good pictures may also be on the different kinds of creatures and animals there as well. Never include pictures of the starving, or tribal men with ak-47’s. Make sure you also don’t include naked men or women, or else they would not even publish it.
            When writing always focus on the landscape and the beautiful sunsets. Best things to include are the vast amounts of species of animals, the happy and different culture of the tribes and the huge forests. Always talk about camping, and the stories you hear from the tribal men, such as how their culture believe in how the world started. Do not mention the naked and starving women and children, or the foods they eat. Also do not talk about the wars going on between the tribes as well. The reader will most likely want to hear about how beautiful Africa is and how it is so much different from other countries.
            Make sure you show how Africans are extremely social between their tribes and have lots of stories and songs about the world. Also show how well they have adapted to their environment and can make use of what they have. They also have a good sense of humor as well too.
            Sensitive Topics: The wars between the tribes, how men and women treat each other, the diseases and infections, or about modernization and life in the city.
            When writing keep talking about how you thought Africa was a continent that did not have much importance to the world today. Keep telling the reader how you thought going to Africa was a waste of time and would be totally useless. However, after you have gone to Africa, talk about how your view totally changed, and that you now totally respect Africa. Sure, it’s a bit behind, but the different culture made you learn about how different and special the continent really is. Also mention how it was a life changing experience, and now you are grateful that you went there and didn’t miss out. At the very end, from any angle, make the reader feel that if he doesn’t plane on going to Africa, he will then be missing out on a lot of things not found anywhere else.

How to Write About Afgahnistan

            Always use the word Freedom or Terror or Infidel in your title. Subtitles should include the words America, Soviet, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Pashtun, Terrorist, Mountain, Tora Bora or Bin Laden. Also useful are words such as Guerillas, Tribal, Mujahedeen, Ancient, Dusty or Education. Note that “them” refers to goat herders, while “Them” is a vague reference to all terrorists.
            Never have a picture of a happy Afghan on the cover of your book, or in it, unless he has attempted to kill Americans in a particularly nefarious way. AK-47s, dirty beards and women without noses: use these. If you must have a picture of an Afghani, make sure it is either a woman in a hijab or an angry man in a turban.
            In your text, treat Afghanis as if they were all the same. It is always hot and dusty and there are mountains everywhere, filled with people who live in caves and oppress their women. Don’t get bogged down with precision descriptions. The country is hot and people are too busy dying of thirst or blowing themselves up to kill infidels to read your book. The country is full of forests, grasslands, rivers and cities, among other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions violent and scary and leave out everything else.
            Make sure you show how all Afghanis hate America and are primitive tribal people. Do not mention democracy, doctors and schools that allow girls to attend; suicide bomber is the occupation of choice in Afghanistan, along with IED manufacturer, terrorist leader and sheepherder. Make sure you show how you are able to withstand (and even enjoy) the attacks of all of them-- because you care about Afghanistan’s democracy.
            Taboo subjects: running water (unless there is a lack thereof), medical facilities of any sort that are not owned by the US military, kindness between an Afghan man and an Afghan woman, references to educated Afghan men who still live in Afghanistan and mention of school going young women who are not suffering from attacks or facial mutilation.
            Throughout the book, adopt a disappointed voice, confessing to the reader, and a sad I-expected-faster-results tone. Establish early on that you are a contentious objector, and how your eyes were opened to the failures of the US government, and mention near the beginning how much you hated Afghanistan’s mountains, how much you love being away from them. Afghanistan and Vietnam are the only countries you can truly hate—take advantage of that. If you were a soldier, describe how much you hated hauling gear up and down Afghanistan’s steep mountains all day. If you were an aid worker, describe how scared you were all the time, and how everyone hated you, even though you were there to help them. Afghanistan is to be bombed, pitied or left immediately. Whichever angle you take, make sure that you leave a strong impression that Afghanistan is doomed to fall back into the hands of “Them” without your contribution and your very important and soulful book.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The State of Sudan

       Since the end of our movie in 2003, Sudan has undergone several changes. In 2003 and 2004, the government and rebel forces in southern Sudan made considerable progress towards peace. In 2005, they signed the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement, granting southern Sudan autonomy for 6 years. After six years, they agreed to have a referendum about Southern independence. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement created a co-vice president position and splits Sudan’s oil deposits equally between the North and South. Recently however, the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups like the Sudan People's Liberation Army, Sundanese Liberation Army(SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement have fought each other in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur, Red Sea and Equatoria regions. This violence has also strained relations between Sudan and Chad, which exploded in 2005 but calmed down again in 2007. The death toll from this violence has reached 200,000 and has displaced 2.5 million people. The referendum has just been voted on, with about 99 percent of the population voting for southern succession. The representative of Southern Sudan has urged the NPC and SPLM, the northern and southern based political parties, to allow Southern Sudan to have independence peacefully.
            The leader of Sudan is President Omar al-Bashir, who seized power in a coup in 1989. Al-Bashir instated Sharia law in Northern Sudan and used the military to eliminate all other parties, so Sudan is a one party system now. In 2009, the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, stating that he implemented a plan to destroy the three main ethnic groups in Darfur (the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa) using rape, murder and deportation. He is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and all the charges but genocide stuck. NATO, Amnesty International and the Genocide Intervention Network support the arrest warrant, but Sudan refuses to comply. Sudan claims it does not have to bring in al-Bashir because it is not a state party to the Rome Statute, but a UN Security Council Resolution has stated that Sudan does. Many members of the African Union and the Arab League do not agree with the arrest warrant, allowing him to land in their countries without being arrested. The ICC prosecutor Luise Marino-Ocampo has come up with an idea to possibly avoid confrontations with the African Union and still arrest al-Bashir by intercepting his plane in international airspace.

How are Peter and Satino now?

            Satino and Peter are now self-sufficient enough to support their own life and bring some money back to his family and friends at Sudan. The two boys however, split up, and now live in different places. Satino is now living in San Jose, CA, while Peter has stayed in Kansas.
            Peter eventually graduated from Olathe East High School in June, 2003. He is currently in Green Mountain College in Vermont with a full scholarship. He is believed to have graduated from medicine because Peter wants to help people in Sudan by becoming a doctor. Peter still plays Basketball, but has joined the track and field team and has found a lot more success there. He also attends meetings on refuges and Human Rights. He also has gotten a lot of support from many people and is able to support his own job and lifestyle.
            Satino eventually passed his driving test, and left the factory and Texas. He now has now moved to San Jose, CA. Also because of the film, he has been interviewed multiple of times and has received lots of support from other people and charities. He has also heard of his siblings and family is still alive even after a year since he has departed. With his financial support his brother has been able to gather his family and they are planning to go back to their home village in Yiroi. He has also been able to enroll into a college with a full time scholar ship because of one of the listeners.
            All in all, the two brothers have been doing well and are fine. They have received huge amounts of support and financial care from the audience.