Winning Essay on Torture.
PeaceTalk brings you the winning essay by Nansamba Daphne of Mengo Senior Secondary School on: “The most effective way of giving justice to victims of torture” selected from entries submitted to mark the International Day Against Torture.
JUSTICE FOR TORTURE VICTIMS
Nansambu Daphne Stella, Mengo Senior Secondary School
I hear of it, and what I do not hear about, I read about, and that which I do not read about, I see, and that which I do not see, I know it exists and I know, because it does exist.
I heard my neighbour’s painful cry piercing through the cold air of the night as she was battered into a coma, and what did I do? If I can recall, I think I blocked my door, or better still, I must have locked my ears, but even much better, I think I minded my own business.
I read about it in Bukedde, ‘Bamusse” was the title, but I had an excuse, it was not my business to mind about.
I saw him pulling his little red ears, saw her burning her little finger, saw them, with their blood thirsty batons and fists, feasting on his helpless lean body, only because he had no bribe to pay for his innocence. I saw it all, but just slipped away, and left them all to their fate to dictate and write life stories.
Now I know it exists, because it happened to me. The armed men came to me, and armless as I was; “Afande”, was the word to use, but it was woeful, it did not save me. My old cotton shorts were hitched up to both sides and following that was the profusing blood from my humble head. My wondering hands met the hard metallic cuffs and my lean feeble knees were engraved in tormenting kicks. My stomach echoed from the injustice of the punches it received and my chest, bare with bruises, could tell the unending story of torture.
My joints ached and oh, my innocent eyes, filled with tears, wondered helplessly about the happenings and the shadow of death and torture that surrounded me. My once white teeth floated in a red pool formed in my mouth, they floated in the blood of my citizenship but just like I had done, no one came to my rescue, no body minded about my business, but all who heard, saw, read about it and knew it had happened, just slipped away, to leave me to my fate, to write my life story.
Do not call it fate, politics or authority, not even justice because it just has one name, and it is “Torture”.
Torture roams around us all, and as we watch and slip away to leave it to its victims, we nurture its growth and nature and show our clear support by our silent treatment.
Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee, we lay our future in thy hands”, and so do we pray in our anthem and hope for a better future.
Dear government, arrest that armed man, who tortured Okuru to death, punish all those who tortured Musa and made him become a street child, and do not forget those armed ones, who butchered Okello’s limbs, and made him a beggar for life, nor should you ignore that old woman, who led Namusisi to child slavery at the tender age of two as her mother was tortured into the invalid state.
Good governance should be based on liberal politics and not on political bias or nevertheless may there be a peaceful prevention and resolution of conflicts.
All people deserve and are entitled to a right to justice, a right to speech, a right to a life free from torture.
Dear government, do not hide in the shadow of politics and make it blind you from the humanity of our people and may morals be taught to all people.
Arise all torture victims and all those who hear about it, read about it, see it happen and those who know it exists, arise and fight against torture for justice to prevail.
May all torture afflicters be penalized and any one caught in the act be prosecuted if found guilty, let them be imprisoned for life.
May we have a spirit of tolerance and nationalism under the motto, “FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY ”.
Dear editors of PeaceTalk,
I would hereby begin by thanking you for visiting us in the peacecamp2008 at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel and also in Ssese Islands. I saw the copy of the PeaceTalk June issue in the Daily Monitor and I would kindly request you to send us some copies, if possible one hundred, and also come to our school. And this will help me get more members of the peace club as for now we are 50 members only. May God bless you.
Wamala Richard Lule,
Chairman peace club, Entebbe Parents SS P.O.Box.474 Entebbe
Dear Richard Lule,
We sent copies of PeaceTalk to your school. We would like to commend your efforts in recruiting more members for your school peace club.
Kigezi High School,
P. O. Box 58,
Hullo editor of PeaceTalk,
This is my experience of segregation and how I faced discrimination in my school. I was a head prefect in 2006 elected in second term. But then the cabinet I was given included my two deputies who wanted to show powers over me of which I tried so hard to show them that they were under me. When it came to the end of the year in third term, the term of promotion, I was advised to repeat because I had 11 points and they were promoting on 12 points so I had to repeat despite of the work and how tiresome the work I do was. This is because most of the work I did it alone without the help of my deputies. But again, prefect had 3 extra points at school of which they did not add. I went back to complain about this and I found that they had changed the Headmaster. I complained to the deputy and he couldn't listen to me. One of my deputies was a close ally with the deputy headmaster and had talked ill of me. So that is why they couldn't consider my promotion.
I did not go to shout a lot but I allowed repeating for the better of my education. Now here is the WAR. Once I returned to school to repeat. The deputy quickly demoted me but I did not mind, the whole school was in great joy and they all shouted at me once they saw me. This made me feel insecure in school and so inferior to other that I felt that I was an outcast in school. I was segregated in all activities of the school by the school leader and they took this chase to tease me and exercise their powers over me. Wherever I passed, they would abuse crude and dirty words to me. I even reached an extent of
passing behind buildings to go to my destination and I couldn't move around or feel free in a school which was mine. I was like a prisoner in one place I went to. I spent the whole year not attending the school assemblies because I feared they would dice me and abuse me all sorts of crude words. This reached an extent that one of the teachers felt pity for me and started counselling me because he saw what I was going through. He counselled me and I settled in school this year with my fellow students and it's this year 2008 that I started to fit in school.
Otherwise it was not all that easy to catch up with the trends in school since the student leaders always were looking for every small mistake to reprimand me and lucky enough they couldn't get any. I thank my teachers who counselled me.
Isaac Turyatemba, Kigezi High School
Unity is strength
At our school a boy came and told us about the peace club and told us about testimonies of people in PeaceTalk issue 2. who where affected by war and I joined him and we thought sharing peace talks with the school will solve problems of strikes and discrimination and we brought students who proved themselves to be stubborn in the club and ever since the club was set up we have not met any violence, strike or discriminative case and conclude saying that ''together we stand, divide we fall''.
Peace Club Entebbe Parents SS
The people of Uganda organised the masses and rebellion activities to fight for Ugandans independence, why can’t we as youth do some thing to bring peace in our community?
Peace Club Entebbe Parents SS
Hullo, this is my poem, ROAD OF PEACE, as requested in the previous PeaceTalk newsletter
ROAD OF PEACE
By Isaac Turyatemba
Build a road of peace before us,
Build it wide, deep and long
Speed the slow and check the eager
Help the weak and curb the strong
None shall push beside another
None shall let another fall
March together sister, brother
All for one,
And one for all!
If there were peace in the world today
Then people would laugh, dance and play
People would learn to compromise
Unlike war where everyone dies
The 6 O’clock news wouldn’t be bad
No more murders and everyone glad
If everyone learns to live that way,
Then we’ll have PEACE, here to stay!
W- Why do we fight? Remember
O-our world is in our hands, just
R-remember the word PEACE.
L-Learn to throw down your weapons and be friends
D-Don’t have any more wars and conflicts
P-Protect my future. Peace can happen if
E-everyone works together to
A-accept one another. Please
C-commit no more crimes, no more wars, no more hatred.
E-Every one can make peace happen if you just try PEACE.
The editor Peace Talk,
thanks for the brilliant innovative skills thereby introducing a very wonderful and meaningful page, let me hope all the fellow teens will use the page to improve their skills in language, acquire simple and meaningful approaches to life, improve their social life there by giving and sharing positive ideas and life experiences. Bravo!! Congs guys.
Best wishes to you all the peace seekers in the struggle to help our brothers and sisters in the north and all the affected areas.
LIBERTY ENOCK, 19, S.6 VACCIST, KENNEDY SS Entebbe
TALKING ABOUT PEACE AT SCHOOL
Peace is when one is free from any disturbance and is staying in good relationship with other people in the society.
The ways through which I do talk about peace at school are;
At school many students are found in situations which cannot lead them to a peaceful way of living especially students who get involved in early relationships with different partners before education. With this, I do advise them not to rush for early relationships because they can easily lead them loose senses hence creating a peace less situation.
Peace is good because if you have peace then you are free from any bad hazard. You many find people who are mentally disturbed, suffering from spiritual problems in a peace less situation so with this they end up losing their reasoning capacity.
I do talk about peace through preaching the gospel to my fellow students and teachers at large. Through the bible and constant praying after believing that God is the giver of life everlasting , then you can have peace throughout the your life and remember with peace education goes smoothly (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
I also talk about peace through a word of encouragement and love. This is where after creating Godly love with one another as brethren then peace will come your way.
Peace, peace, peace I don’t know whether everybody loves you as my society does. What to talk about you is a lot. But all I have for my own is all from God’s peace. Call me and I will explain more about peace especially in my society and the district at large which is usually attacked by wars and mostly civil war between Bakonjo and Basongora plus other tribes.
Ahebwa Gladys, Kasese District, Busongora South Karusandara
Uganda Martyrs High School
8th May 2008
I am so glad to participate in the PeaceTalk writing to share my experiences on violence with the rest of the world. My experiences on violence happened twice, one took place during my primary level. By then my father was working in Soroti and my mum was away for a one month workshop and some of our elder brothers and sisters were schooling in Kampala while others were studying in Soroti. So what happened was our mum left us with one of our cousin brothers to look after us since he is part of the family and also lived with us for many years.
We were three young boys and I was the youngest boy around and daily we were supposed to wake up, sweep the room, compound, open for the chickens to come out, take the goats to graze, cut grass for the cows, do some digging in the morning and then fetch water for washing, take breakfast then run to school and everyday we were fond of reaching late at school and some of the teachers at times could not understand our explanation and beat us before other pupils. And when we were back at home we had to do the same in letting the chickens in, bringing the goats home, feeding the cow, fetching water and cooking as well which was done by my two elder brothers and after eating and entering bed, the person told to look after us would return home when it is approaching midnight at times even beyond when he is fully drunk, wake us up with slaps and forcefully demand for his food and after gets the torch off goes to check where we dug, if he was not pleased, he could shout/order us to pick hoe and complete and the following day he doubled the size. And when you are all in the bed he can hardly sleep and if he is not asleep we too were not supposed to sleep because if he talks and you don’t answer he comes and beat you up claiming that you don’t respect him.
And the next experience was during my o’level in 2005, I was still a new student in that school and it was morning prep time and we were for our personal reading in class when a fellow student behind me requested me to lend him my maths book and when I turned to give him the book, the teacher saw me giving him the book, he came and caught me by the collar of my shirt and when I tried to ask him what was wrong he slapped me, I could try to explain to him but he was not listening and started caning me at the back and pulled me out of the classroom, took me to the football ground and ordered me to collect all the stones in the field and he said that unless it reached two heaps of wheelbarrow, I should forget of any activities of the day, prep time ended but I was still busy collecting for the second heap and what made the matter worse the stones were very small in size and they started serving lunch but he refused me to go for food but after seeing that I was very tired and only made 1 ½ heaps of stones he released me but I also did not find food. I felt very bad but I had no option and besides I never wanted to end my study for I knew I was going to miss a lot so I decided to play it come and let it go.
TALKING ABOUT PEACE
And I have also ever talked about peace at school many times, by encouraging the students to do what promote peace, for example, writing peace messages and putting on the notice board, bible quotations which talk about peace, that is, love your neighbour as you love yourself, don’t do to the rest what you don’t want to be done to you, etc and also discourage the on the act which kill peace at school like strikes, fighting, blackmailing etc. and since I am a leader I do follow closely to see that justice is practised in order to achieve or maintain peace and when ever I am giving speech on the assembly I normally emphasise so much to the student with low self esteem to approach me in private and explain their views and help them to work up on it. Besides I do advice them to exchange the best for the worst and stop using violence to solve conflict but use forgiveness as a tool for revenge against conflict.
In our school we usually talk about peace. This is normally through the students’ council where we talk with teachers about our problems. We also have a peace club. I realized that peace can easily be lost and is hard to regain. Some members are discriminated by their fellow friends because some of them come from different places and some of them are discriminated against because of their tribes and languages. For example, if someone is a Muganda, she or he will discriminate an Acholi because of the tribe. But as we peace promoters we have to ensure that we encourage peaceful co-existence because peace is like a glass and it needs to be handled with a lot of care and responsibility. I conclude by saying that let us avoid discrimination because we were all created in God’s image.
Nambwayo Winnie, St. Noa Girls Secondary School, Zzana
Discrimination is the treating of one person or group worse than others. For sure, discrimination is very bad. In our school we had people who were practicing that issue of discrimination. And those people used to abuse people because of their tribes and people could fight. And one day a girl was beaten up seriously. And because of the peace club members of the school we rescued her. And we advised her not to do it again. And people, who were practicing that, please stop it for heaven sake. We teenagers, we need to ask for forgiveness and we should always for give each other.
May God Bless You.
Nanjego Pamellah, (Senior Two), St. Noa Girls Sec. Sch., Zzana (Entebbe)
I would like to send my greeting to all the peace talk readers. I decided to join the peace club in my school because many students at my school were facing a problem of discrimination. Many students used to be discriminated like tribes separate themselves. At school we have many different tribes like the Baganda, Banyakole, Acholi and many others. Many of these tribes used to discriminate them selves like the Acholi sitting separately, the Bagandas also used to sit separately and these tribes used not to allow any one mix up with others so when I joined the peace club I decided at least to struggle hard and stop the problem of discrimination and I advice the youth out there to work hand in hand with me and fight hard to avoid discrimination. And if you can throw stones during strikes, why can’t you fight discrimination in your community?
Nyaketcho Dorah, St. Noa Girl’s S.S, Zanna
Dear PeaceTalk readers,
I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity of writing about discrimination. I live in a village with my grandmother. She denies me education and forces me to fetch water over 10 jerry cans a day after digging for long hours from 4:00am to 12:00noon. By the time I return from the garden, I find there is no food to eat. She always forces me to fetch water and do domestic work. If I delay, she always canes me. Her sons and daughters, whom I call my aunts and uncles, come everyday. If I get a chance to eat food, it is very late. After along quarrels from her daughters and sons. These relatives of mine refused completely to pay for me school fees yet they are very rich which leads me to suffer at school. This is because fees defaulters are caned severely at school if they come to school without fees. So members of PeaceTalk I am suffering a lot. At school there is no peace. At same time home is full of problems as earlier mentioned. I am planning to escape from home but our home place is very far for me to walk all that long distance. In that way I am so much discriminated at home.
Namawejje Suzan, 13 years, S1, PeaceTalk Club
Dear PeaceTalk readers,
I greet you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I take this opportunity to thank the editors of PeaceTalk to allow me share my experience about discrimination of religion in my school. It’s then when I completed my primary school which is Bugema Adventist Primary School. I was taken to a secondary school known as Bweyogerere Central Secondary School where I studied S.1 to S.2 from there I went to Royal Comprehensive High School where I also studied S.2 to S.3 after I transferred to Ristaka High School which brought me to be discriminated so much that even I don’t with it my friends. I was discriminated against because of my religion. I was an Adventist in Catholic founded school. I was not allowed to suggest or to bring opinions about studying on Saturday. This was opposed and I was told to keep quiet because it was not an Adventist school therefore I should go and look for area where I fitted so I was missing lessons on Sabbath which also contributed to my poor performance in UNEB. Therefore I do appeal to PeaceTalk to keep Uganda as country of unity.
I remain yours faithfully
Nanyonga Patricia Dianah, S5, Sparrows High School Bugema
POEM ABOUT PEACE TALK
By Tabua Grant
PEACE PEACE PEACE
Where are living these days?
Our country Uganda needs you
In northern Uganda we are looking for you
So much like a woman who recently married and the
Husband has died soon after marriage
Peace! Without you we not survive in this part of
The country because the rebels are destroying our lives
My parents, brothers and sisters have all been killed because
You left us.
Peace peace peace we seriously need you
Because everything we do is wasted to war for example in
Agriculture we have failed to participate in the fields, in
Education, we have failed to study and many other things
Have all failed.
President religious leaders non government organizations
And others stake holders let us join together because
Violence does not require violence to over come but
Dialogue with the rebel leaders is the most important way
To bring peace home.