The Fundamentals of Strategic Writing book launch at Alliance Française de Nairobi on 30 July 2022, officiated by Mr Joseph Wambo, Assistant Director for Human Resource Management and Development in the State Department of Public Service.
Take care of my children. His voice never left me. There were nights that I dreamed in such vivid detail that when I woke, I was confused, forgetting, for a fraction of a second, that I was in my bed. For the minutes that followed, the grief washed over me for the loss of a friend who had had my back, the uselessness of my life fighting for the imperialism of a country that didn’t care for me. Part of me wondered if the dreams would change, if one day they would be the same monochrome shadows of before Somalia.
War cries rage amid Allahu Akbars, machine-gun fire roars like a raging river, bombs engorge smoke rings as they shoot into the sky, turning to dark smoke in one moment and belching flame and crackling with lightning the next. As I look around, all I see are stray limbs and dead creatures—once fine young men, no longer recognisable—others splayed like rag dolls on the morning dew.
The crew room at Laikipia Air Base was a flurry of activity and a cacophony of telephones ringing off the hook. Fighter pilot Major Ahmednasir Ramah sweated copiously inside his flight suit as he waited anxiously beside the telephone, glancing every few seconds at the crew-room clock.
Deep in his bones, he felt that either this mission would pass as a blip in his military career or it would be his last. Ramah held the telephone handset tight, raised it to his ear, and listened.
“Then you will be court-martialled for dereliction of duty, breaking the rules of engagement, insubordination, and disobeying your CO’s lawful orders.”
“I see,” Ekuton nodded. “I don’t have a choice.”
“We both know how the court-martial works. You will be found, you are, guilty as charged. Termination of commission without benefits.”
In my isolation, I love you the most. Not when I am with you. I don’t touch you when we sleep, even when awake, and no cuddling. Only when we make love. At that time, I feel like I don’t need anything else. I love you, I whisper. In the cold silence afterwards, I wish you say it back.
In the rain of falling bombs, I crawled for cover beneath a body of a fallen brother, his blood the water I desperately needed.
“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” The cries were more of a benediction than a declaration. The attackers were everywhere, killing the already dead who lay singly or in piles, pitiful fragments of humanity.
Against my better judgement and Mother’s advice, I followed the love of my life to the barracks. Soldiers are never there for their families,she told me. You were never there for me,I retorted, and you’re not a soldier.
Every time he leaves for another mission in Somalia, I pray: God, let him come back alive.