Madman on the Trigger
It was exactly 9:49 pm when we arrived in Ikenifite town. I would often steal glances at Kate to read her feelings, but that made me feel things that I had never felt before and did not know if I would ever feel that again.
I did not know for certain if she was afraid, but what I did know and did not say was that I was afraid.
She was a nice lady but little did she know about my country. She looked deep into my eyes, but I was not sure if she found what she was looking for.
When I told her that my country is exactly the opposite of her country, she did not say anything else.
We looked at each other, but none of us said anything. I looked at the time on the dashboard of my car, another half hour had gone. We were silent.
The lights of the car coming before us were bright and I put on my sunglasses and started driving slowly. We did not get very far when we saw what seemed like dead people on the road.
They were lying in a trench. It was the most awful thing Kate had ever seen in her life.
We were creeping ahead slowly but surely at not more than 25km/hr speed because the road was too bad. We stopped and looked at them, then I reached out my hand to open the car door. Who these people were and what they were doing, I did not know; but it seemed to me they were herdsmen.
Well, after they saw us came down from our car, they stood up and started shooting off a big gun. They ordered us to give them our car key and then left with our car and luggage.
As I looked around and gazed at the dark street, I remembered from where I came.
I came from a country where some groups of people do what they like. I came from a country where people seem to be in Hobbes’ state of nature. Since Hobbes claims that no one in the state of nature recognizes anyone else’s rights, then there is no morality, people resort to killing, stealing, kidnapping, and raping.
Even if the Police were doing their job, there was as yet no effective effort because where we left the police checkpoint. I was sure they heard the gunshot. I took off the sunglass I was wearing and dropped it on the ground, not wanting to have to deal with wearing it around in the dark.
I started to feel like I wanted to blame the police too, but even though I knew it was not their fault, they should have at least do something.
The root problem was the Government of the country because even before I came home, there was a widespread perception that the government is corrupt and ineffective.
My plan was to take a flight on Friday morning, reach Ikenifite that evening, visit Idem the next day, and in the afternoon start for home but the plan did not hold. When we arrived home on Sunday evening, Kate, mincing no words, said,
“Das Land hat keinen Führer oder der falsche Führer führt” meaning.
“The country does not have a leader or the wrong leader is leading”.
That evening, our people had taken some food out of their houses and were hiding in the bush eating it and wondering what to do next.
When we rode in, nobody told us what had happened, but we seemed to understand without being told. When I asked one man when they would be returning to their homes.
He said they were afraid to do so since the herdsmen started setting fire to their building, killing people and raping their women.
“…we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. Over the past three years, we have never had rest.
“The Government should stop protecting cows, let them look over us,” said the man. Trekking towards the traditional ruler’s house with colorful aprons to prevent dust on my white shirt!
A recorder and a notebook, Kate was stared at, but it was because she was a beautiful, white woman with dark hair.
When we reached the market square, we felt bad. It was unnatural. It seemed that the gods themselves had died and the people are forgotten.
People were suffering! Many people were dying and the property being lost, but very little effort was made by the Government to ameliorate that.
“…It is a pity to have such a Government; a Government of the people by the people and for the people.
A government that has no concern for its own people especially the youths. Most of the people who are living in this part of the nation are suffering may be because of a reason I do not know” Said the traditional ruler and continued.
“…watching people suffering, thousands of people without water, without a job, without food, and without medical care have become the common thing here.
The government of this country is a mass of corruption, injustice, and extortion.
She cares more for the cattle than she cares for the human beings under her charge. Yes, it appears that she cares about animals more than human beings because her soldiers take delight from killing innocent people thereby calling them terrorists.
Soldiers killed without reason, and we lived every single day in fear. I still wonder what must have been going through the president’s mind, to be so malicious and order the killing of so
many innocent people.
many innocent people.
They kill the innocent people on a purpose only known to them but for me, human beings should not be used as a means.” After that, I saw Kate looking at the traditional ruler.
I would catch her eyes, and she would give me a smile, and pretend she was not looking at me, but if I looked away, and then slid my eyes back to her, she was watching me. What did she want? Why was she recording what he was saying? I did not know.
She laughed weakly and took the recorder from where she dropped it. She noted the local accent of the traditional ruler and, as she smiled. I also noted the open front tooth and single-pointed nose that adorned her face.
Her chest pressed into my back as she turned me to face the ruler and put the recorder in my hands. “Now,” she said, “play it and put it here.” She positioned it on a desk.
“Now listen and play it back,” she instructed. I marveled at how the traditional ruler had said many things I did not hear at the onset.
“Because they want to have our mineral resources, too. They will want us to be one … But, seriously they do not want equality. You know they do not want us to go. They do not want separation, they want what we got.
A time is coming if care is not taken when most of the people of our nation will be massacred by an enemy they thought was their friend. By then and only a few will get away from the slaughter.
If there can be a misunderstanding between two people from the same culture. There can be much more common between two people from different cultures. And these misunderstandings can lead to consequent instability, disorder, and violence because one culture may try to dominate.”
I did not know there were many things I did not hear when the traditional ruler was talking except when I finished listing to the tape.
“It all depends on the Government. You must do just what you think best,” said Kate to the Traditional ruler. “But who is the Government?” asked the traditional ruler. I shook my head and said, “Kate, think a little more before answering.
“Who is the man causing the trouble? He asked again. She thought harder, but could not find an answer, yet she did not tell him that she did not know.
She paused for a second and thought after she remembered that the only person who can set the lives of anyone in danger is when a madman is on the trigger.
My eyes were watching what everyone around me was looking at, but I could see it has stopped playing. I felt with my eyes that some of the traditional rulers can as well set people’s lives in danger. I did not know what the people were thinking but I thought if I say it, they would kill me.
I was not certain; I believed Kate did mean that any ruler who does not care for his people is a madman on the trigger.
Any leader who does not care for the people is a mad man on the trigger. When a mad man is on the trigger, everyone becomes afraid.