Darfur Misspelled


Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, president of Sudan, sits in the Plenary Hall of the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 12th African Union Summit Feb. 2, 2009. The assembly endorsed the communique, issued by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, to defer the process initiated by the International Criminal Court to indict Bashir.

Ali Garang Salah stared into the black mirror and saw his past.

He was only five years old the first time he was raped. They murdered his Father right before his eyes, then raped and murdered his Mother and three sisters. The Sudanese soldier took a liking to little Ali, or so he said, and spared his life.

The little boy “served” the soldier, who he was ordered to call “Master,” until he was seven and old enough to use his rapist’s own knife to slit his throat.

He was found by foreign aid workers when he was nine and working as a prostitute in the back alleys of Juba. They put him in an orphanage, but he ran away. He was put back again after a hospital reported him. The beating he’d taken from one of his “customers” was worse than usual. A broken arm this time.

An American woman, a physician from something called “Doctors without Borders,” took pity on him and convinced her husband they should adopt him. It was a miracle that only a year passed before his survival instincts told him it was better to pretend to adapt to life in suburban home in San Diego.

His adoptive white parents, brothers, and sisters never understood him, though he acted like they did. The black American kids he went to school with didn’t understand him either, and couldn’t possibly believe that life in the Sudan wasn’t like that fictional country they saw in a Marvel superhero movie.

No one understood the hideous anguish Ali kept hidden deep inside, so he wrote it down. At sixteen, his English was pretty good, but he still had trouble with spelling. He called it “The Book of Durfur,” misspelling Darfur, and tonight, he was about to write the last chapter.

Ali Garang Salah gripped the hilt of the combat knife he found in his “Father’s” storage shed, a memento from when he served as a Marine in the Iraq war decades ago. Then he stepped through the ebony glass that had somehow possessed the mirror mounted on the back of his closet door.

The bedroom was dark, but there was just enough early morning light filtering in through the curtains to see him under the blankets. He looked like a round teddy bear. It was him. It was all his fault. The International Criminal Court had indicted this man for the rape and murder of Ali’s people. If it weren’t for him, his parents and sisters would still be alive, and he would have grown up at home in love, instead of selling his body to strangers.

The big man stirred and rolled over and then opened his eyes.

“Good. I want you to be awake when it happens.”

He saw Ali and gasped at the intrusion.

“Omar al-Bashir. It is your turn to die.”

Ali left the knife inside the mass murderer’s voluminous gut, buried to the hilt, but not before slitting his throat, and then mutilating his face and genitals.

Covered in the despot’s blood, Ali stepped back through the mirror, but although he had found revenge, he feared he would never find peace.

I wrote this for Tale Weaver – #170 – 10th May – Making Sense of Nonsense hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. For today’s challenge, anyone participating is supposed to take the phrase “The Book of Durfur” and use it as the inspiration for crafting a poem, short story, or other creative work.

Of course I looked up “The Book of Durfur” on Google and found Darfur: A 21st Century Genocide, Third Edition (Crises in World Politics) Third Edition by Gerard Prunier. That led me to the Wikipedia page for the Darfur Genocide.

It is quite true that in 2013, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the ICC in 2010 for the crime of genocide, as well as crimes against humanity, rape, forced transfer and torture. As a result of this “ethnic cleansing, more than one million children have been “killed, raped, wounded, displaced, traumatized, or endured the loss of parents and families.

I created this entry into my Dark Mirror series as an expression of the pain of all of those children. You can learn more about the orphans of the Sudan by reading this New York Times story.

11 thoughts on “Darfur Misspelled

  1. I found this very moving James, excellently written and a reminder of the world we live in where there are people suffering terrible oppression. One of your best pieces i think and thanks for sharing it with the tale weaver. I do test every word/phrase I use against our friend Mr Google. Many a time I have thought I had a fine bit of nonsense to use only to discover it actually is a word or phrase.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.