A personification poem by Monica Terry
I remember being awakened on a warm Summer’s Eve to soft strokes at the foot of my Mountain Kilimanjaro and whispers at the banks of my Niger, Nile and Zambezi Rivers.
The voices and the movements were unfamiliar to me. This was another people. Something different about the way they touched me and spoke about me. I heard them speaking about how they would pry out of me my precious minerals and jewels.
Who were these? They did not belong to me. They were not the ones that had taken care of me for centuries nor had an understanding of what I gave back to them in return.
As time went on, their softness turned to harshness as they touched me; it went from caressing to groping at my mountains for my precious minerals, platinum, uranium and iron. They bore so deep, ripping from me the gold and ravaging at my rich soil in search of my rich black oil. Often I would smell the alcohol on their breath.
I wanted to yell STOP! But instead I tried to violently react with a sudden volcanic eruption that sent the newcomers scattering for safe ground. But after the ash settled, they still came back. It still wasn’t enough to make them leave.
I tried to deprive them various times of water with my occasional droughts, for I knew those that took care of me would know what to do. They could survive and adapt unlike the newcomers. But it still wasn’t enough to make them leave. Greed will make one madly blind.
They produced mining industries and forcibly took my beautiful diamonds, selling them to the highest bidders and forcing those that took care of me to grope and hack away in filthy conditions at gun point until they dropped dead. 100 million carats, and still…it wasn’t enough for them to leave.
Eventually the ones that took care of me began to disappear. Many times, I saw them carted off in ships. The times I dared to watch their fate, I saw them looking at me as if for the last time. I mourned with them, for now my fate awaited me to be plundered all alone by the rapists with grubby hands.
After such disparity in socio-economic status, the ones that were left began to be indifferent to me. They had been hardened and turned cold by the criminality of my stolen wealth. My borders no longer provided them with what they needed…..protection. They have tried in the past to revive my damaged areas, but the newcomers killed them.
The newcomers even divided me up into pieces and shared me with others that lust for my riches. Once my rivers flowed freely from north to south and my mountains and valleys could be inhabited with no care or disputes. There was even blood shed on my soil that I sorrowfully soaked up. And it still was not enough to make it stop.
But now a new day has come. I see the seeds of the ones that were kidnapped and taken away from me and they are strong. They are fiercely growing into seedlings that sprout bigger into hardened trees with resilient bark. They are saying NO MORE to my rape and my exploitation! They are saying ENOUGH!
They are being heard all over the world, crying out for me, for them, for the wrongs that have been done to be addressed. I see hope of my people returning to take care of me as in centuries past, and I will once again be a shelter for them.
I see that I need not be ashamed for being forced upon and defiled, for I was a victim of unthinkable crimes against me and my caretakers. And finally, I am not alone is saying ENOUGH!