Thoughts That Keep You Up At Night

It’s 4:21am. I can’t sleep. I just stepped away from a painting. I painted most of today and kept returning to 3 paintings. Finally, for the one, I just painted over it.

I returned to my bedroom, got under the covers, and began typing away on my iPhone. With no specific agenda in mind, I jotted down my rambling thoughts.

What could I talk about?

• My pressing urge to go on a road trip?

• Villanova winning their 2nd championship?

• Or, the nightmare and violence that plagues the Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC)?

I have the option to either tune in or tune out what is going on right now in the DRC. I have the option to plan a road trip, or write about a sport team winning a game. I have the option to lay here, on my iPhone, and tune the DRC completely out.

Others, like those living in the DRC don’t have that option. They are living in a place where political unrest has torn apart their country, homes, and families. Recently, tensions over land between Hema herders and Lendu farmers have erupted. The internal conflict has led to families being displaced and torn apart. A quick google search will tell you that last month, over 40 people were killed but, the headlines do not describe the manner in which innocent lives were taken (many, decapitated) and headlines can’t put into words the terror innocent people are living with.

In an attack last month (March 12-13) that killed over 60 people, assailants fighting for control of land burned down thousands of homes and slaughtered innocent men, women, and children with machetes, arrows, axes, and guns. Nearly 200 people, the majority Hema, were killed. That number grows with each new discovery of decomposing bodies. Thousands of people were displaced and hundreds left dead. An unaccounted number of woman and girls were raped and sexually assaulted. These numbers don’t reflect the trauma and heartbreak left with those who survived.

Over 57,000 Hema have fled in fear, seeking refuge in Uganda.

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I got done painting about an hour ago. Unhappy with everything I created, I finally decided I had wasted enough paint and walked away. I returned to my bedroom, got under my covers, and tapped away on my iPhone. I wrote this blog and after hitting publish, I may watch some Netflix before falling asleep. Tomorrow will be, hopefully, a pretty regular day for me. I have an idea of how it will go. I will lay my head tonight without living in fear of an imminent attack on myself or my family. My reality isn’t such that I have constant fears, worries, or trauma from living amongst constant bloodshed. Others, at this very moment, are devising plans to flee their homes so that they may narrowly escape being killed.

Home, it’s where you’re supposed to be able to feel the safest. For many people, the reality is the exact opposite.

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Before you judge refugees, ask yourself one question, could you make a home out of their nightmare?

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