Today I am broken... (A true story)

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(Edited)

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Warning: Words and scenes related to violence and aggression contained in article.

Broken

I wake up and look
To my beloved
Country of birth,
In turmoil.
6000 miles away.

A man, erstwhile
A president,
Trailblazed a path...
Of corruption and fraud,
Moral and financial
Coffers emptied.
Sentenced to jail:
15 months.

Protestors march.
They loot,
They riot.
They come to destroy.
Protesting incarceration
Is the excuse,
The cloak they hide behind.

Shattered glass
In every unkept pavement crack.
Smoke billows spew,
From malls and factory hats.
Burnt out,
Cars litter the road.
People lie...
Dead by it's side.

Anarchy reigns.
Gunpowder lingers in the air.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Another volley rattles.
Men and women scatter...
Into the red mist of night.
Trolleys brimming,
With the spoils of their hunt.
Homeward bound.

An old man cowers
In the sanctity
of his bedroom.
He hears the Zello chat.
THEY might be coming back.
Shops exhausted,
Are homes next...
On the shopping list?

A man,
The President,
Speaks
On the tv.
To a nation
Under fire.
The army will deploy...
Finally.

But, there is no State
of Emergency.
Politics at play...
Once again.
.
This evening,
Madiba turns in his grave, and I...
I cry...
For my family, for my friends,
For my beloved country.
For she is broken.

This evening,
I lie...
6000 miles away,
With one eye and one ear
To my phone.
Alert to it's constant beep.

I am so tired
Of the corruption.
Tired of the ineptitude.
Tired of the hatred.
Tired of the violence.
Tired of the futility.
So very very tired...

But this evening,
I am broken...
And I cannot sleep.

Copyright asserted 12 July 2021 Samantha Smith

Footnote:

I share this poem with you; my thoughts on the chaos and destruction that has consumed South African provinces today and throughout this evening, and is still ongoing. I live in the UK and haven't been able to work today. I am unsettled and constantly distracted by the needless aggression swallowing my homeland and the fear for my loved ones. So, I haven't read much, curated much or commented much today...on anything. It didn't feel right. But, I needed to write this to do something. To say something! And I found it cathartic in a way to express my feelings.

My father is the man in the bedroom in this poem and I can't even begin to imagine his deep rooted sense of vulnerability and fear. I feel so helpless and I am so worried for his safety and that of my family and close friends who are in a real lockdown fight to protect their lives and their homes. The local communities are standing up to the rioters and looters but the fight is far from over and they are very outnumbered. I am on the Zello app which is a kind of walkie takie/CB radio style phone app, listening in to the constant messages in the community, the calls for help, the responses, the constant swing between calm and storm. I am also on a number of local community whatsapp groups monitoring the situation so that I can do what I can to help my family from afar. Please pray with me, and if you don't believe in a higher being, at least send positive thoughts for a nation and people in need of your strength.

Blessings everyone.

Photo credit: David Geib


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8 comments
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Very sad to see this going on in SA, I will say a prayer for your family and friends and hope that the situation is quickly brought to an end...


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(Edited)

Thank you Jaxson. It's heart breaking. Friends of ours have lost their family businesses. Where will their income come from now? So many people have said it's the final straw and they are leaving SA if and when they can. For now, my family and friends are all ok but the tension is still there and they have another night to defend.


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Thinking of you and your loved ones. Keep your head up.


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Thank you @Calumam. I am trying to remain practical and pragmatic and doing what I can to support my family and friends from here. It is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. I was awake til 3am monitoring Zello and the local emergency whatsapp groups. I got some sleep between 3-5am and then awake again to help. I managed some shuteye for an hour early afternoon before having to fetch kids from school etc. It's a living nightmare. UK tv is showing just small fraction of what is going on. It is on such a wide scale. Hoping and praying for some calm.


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Nice poem you have there expressing how you are feeling about your Homeland. I've heard about what is happening and the riots going on over there.

I really think you have to be strong at this point and be positive for your father and your love once to be save at this particular time.

I know the period is not safe and the country is in totally chaos. All I will suggest you keep on touch with them steady to know how there are doing and advice them to stay off the protest.


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Thank you for your words of encouragement and support. It has gone a bit quieter in my father's neighbourhood this evening and we are hopeful after good discussions between community leaders this morning, but the community remain vigilant and wary.


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That's great since the hit is not too much in your father's area and vigilante in check, I think you don't need to worry much for his safety. Just call in when you can to know how he is fairing.


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