They Could Have Been Asleep

They could have been asleep. There they lay, a jumble of young bodies on the pale sand. One of them lay curled on his side, an arm flung across a compatriot’s chest. On another day, in a different world, they might have been boys, exhausted after a game of soccer…laying on the ground and staring up at the brilliant blue sky. They could have been sleeping, but for the blood that pooled under their heads. They could have been sleeping, but for the long-robed men that stood around in a half-circle, staring at the young, lifeless bodies. They could have been sleeping, but they weren’t.

On Tuesday, February 25th 2014, a terrorist group called Boko Haram attacked a secondary school in Northeastern Nigeria and brutally murdered over 40 people, many of them young boys between 15-20 years of age.

How could they? Why would somebody murder innocent children while they slept? Why drag children into your misguided political wars? 

There are so many questions. There always are, when things like this happen. It's difficult to wrap my head around the depth of evil and cowardice shown by these murderers, cloaked in religious zealotry. It's difficult to get the images out of my head - the murdered boys, laying on the sand, blood staining the sand. I stumbled on the picture by accident and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since then. 

In some ways, I ache to forget what is now etched in my mind - that brutal reminder of man's inhumanity to his fellow men, to children. 

But then again, I want to remember. I want to remember them because they deserve to be remembered.

I want to remember them because they were innocent victims of unscrupulous men.

I want to remember them because we, as a society can't afford to forget.

We cannot and should not forget that when good men do nothing, evil prospers.

We must remember. Regardless of what side of the religious or political spectrum we are on. 

We cannot forget. No society should sit back and watch its children get their blood stain the sands while we do nothing.

May these and other murdered innocents rest in peace...let the wicked be uprooted and exposed so that peace may reign. 

Onyih Odunze

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