Her handsome Dengs beautiful face was damaged! She felt like vomiting. The baby inside her stirred.
The soldiers covered Dengs mouth with masking tape, so that they would forever silence him.
Deng and Alek
Lovers Paradise Lost
The following fictional story is based on actualities and UN recordings. It contains scenes of gross violence, upsetting, offending language and racism that may be too strong for some readers.
She had been asleep in her lovers arms when they came. The men arrived in the middle of their loving embrace and changed their lives forever. Only last night the couple had slept in each others arms, under the millions of stars, by the river-bed. Together, they had watched in wonder, an antelope drink water from the edge of the Nile, and he had later fed her strips of injera (sour dough pancake,) beef and kop (sourdough corn ball pasta) before they had made love. He had picked up a crop of flowers; white irises and purple hibiscuses and placed some in her hair, while giving her a bouquet with the rest. He had even recited her some of his beautiful poetry. He had serenaded her with beautiful words.
My love, I have conquered
the beautiful labyrinth of your body;
You, who are like myriads of fireflies,
and exquisite galaxies.
You are precious, my dear Alek.
I kiss the silky glide of your skin
and feel the quickening of your pulse.
My joy when I hold you is insurmountable.
My love, kiss me with the richness
of your sweet Dinka lips . . .
And they had kissed passionately with the river roaring next to them. She had giggled with pleasure, while small insects whirled and stirred about them. In the middle of the night, while they were lying next to each other, under their thick red blanket, he had even reached out for her and felt the growing mound of her belly and smiled. She had smiled back at him lovingly.
A son, an heir.
Or if not, a beautiful black Dinka princess who looked just liked her mother. Alek was a woman-child; at that age when she was woman enough to be married off and with child, but still had endearing remnants of childhood and vulnerability in her. She was tall and lean, like the women of their tribe, with generous mandrake buttocks, rounded hips, young pointed breasts and long legs. Her eyes were hauntingly beautiful; shaped like a cat and with a greenish tinge to their brownness. She had chunky dark brown lips. Her head was completely shaved bald and she had a gap between her teeth, a symbol of beauty in many African cultures. When she smiled, two dimples formed in her cheeks. She was as dark as the night and sinfully beautiful.
Last night Deng, her 20-year lover and husband, had made love to her so tenderly, next to a fire lit to protect them from wild animals; it had been a provocative night of passion and pleasure and they had both slept with happiness on their faces. He had protectively covered her with the blanket and those beautiful brown eyes had watched her fall asleep.
Oh how she loved him!
And he her! It was reciprocated. They loved each other beyond reason.
Black African love that was seldom spoken of.
He was beautiful; jet black, tall and proud in all his Nubian Nuer glory. His ancestors had clothed him with the skin of panthers; smooth like soap and dark as the night. His facial features were warrior-like; he had gaar, beautiful facial tribal scarification to show for his courage. His gaar pattern consisted of six parallel horizontal lines across the forehead, with a dip in the lines above the nose. His Afro hair was thick and healthy. His body was one of a warrior; flat belly, taut muscles, angular shoulders and arrogant stance. He exuded confidence, power, and self-awareness.
She would never forget how he had fought off all the other suitors to take her hand. He had performed acts of bravery like no other man in her village ever had. He had wrestled wild boars, hippos, crocodiles and even a lion just to prove his worth! His military prowess and might was unprecedented and incomparable. Her father was a chief; one of the greatest chiefs of her village and many men had coveted her because of that as well as her beauty, but she had secretly hoped that it was Deng who won her hand. So she had been mightily pleased when he had.
Despite the fact that he was a Nuer of the swamps and open savannas on both sides of the Nile south of Malakal in Sudan, and she was a Dinka of the swamplands of the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Nile basin, Jonglei and parts of Southern Kordufan and Upper Nile regions, her father, the majestic village chief and beloved leader, Juak Diing Ruoic, had accepted him.
Deng, who was from a rich Nuer family, had given her father several dozen cows, as well as gold, myrrh, frankincense, well-designed fabric, wine and ivory for her hand in marriage. Cattle to the Nuer, and many other Africans, played a big role as bride wealth, where they were given by a husband’s lineage to his wife’s lineage. Deng was not only of respectful birth, but he was also kind and loving, and in Aleks mothers eyes a good choice for her beloved daughter.
* * * * *
Ah! The bliss of newly weds.
Deng and Alek had, in the process of looking for a romantic secluded spot for a picnic, gotten lost in the forest on the outskirts of their village. But he had promised to protect her and lead her back to their village. He had protected her against a lion, which had frightened her, and against a fleet of jackals and even a leopard. But he was unable to protect her against them.
They came and with them, brought the end of innocence and pure, unadulterated love.
They did not come in the thick of the night, as the legends said. They came in plain daylight when the sun was just starting to splay its rays. Deng and Alek were still sleeping when they descended upon them. It was dawn when she heard the violence of pounding horse hoofs and wild screaming men. The desert dust rose up menacingly, under the horse hoofs. They arrived by car, camels, motorcycles and horses wearing army uniforms. They looked as if they had been released from hell.
General, I have found some! a child soldier, who was barely older then her, yelled. He was inches away from them. They had not even heard him arrive! He was a few shades lighter than them, but with the unmistakable Arab hair that pronounced him as not Black, like them the blue Black Sudanese.
As soon as the other soldiers spotted the couple, they started shooting in the air.
Alek got up in alarm, rudely awakened by the threat of danger. Her heart stopped in her ribcage with horror. Deng got up, beside her.
Oh no! Not them!
It could not be happening to them!
It was the much-feared janjaweed.
The pro-government Arab, tribal fighters known as the janjaweed militia.
The agents of danger, hatred, racism and destruction.
How had they come this far south? This area of the Sudan was still considered safe, Deng thought with furrowed, worried brows.
Riding on horseback and camel, the janjaweed, many of them teenagers or young adults, were known to burn villages, steal and destroy grain supplies as well as animals, kill men and ruthlessly rape Black women. They were menacing in their military uniforms; clutching satellite phones and guns slung over their shoulders.
In Africa everyone knew that child soldiers were the worst. They were dead to feelings.
Alek started shaking with terror. They tried to run, but there was nowhere to run. They were surrounded by soldiers. A tall, handsome man with olive skin and midnight black curly hair stepped out of an army jeep. Big black army boots walked towards them. He gave the child-soldier, who referred to him as the General, a piece of silver, and the soldier smiled and scuttled back to a car.
The General was of a complexion that had been kissed by African blood, like many Northern Sudanese Arabs. In Cuba and Brazil he would have been called mulatto; and in America and Canada, according to the one drop rule, he would have simply been called Black. But here in the Sudan, because his blood was predominantly Arab, he was an Arab and therefore superior to Blacks. He had light brown eyes, a long thin European nose, thick Africa lips and a face that women stared at. He was spectacularly handsome and he had a well built body to boot. He had more military epaulets than the rest of the men and looked like he was in his mid 30s.
Despite herself, Alek stared at him mesmerized with curiosity, fear and female appreciation of his looks. But when she compared him to Deng, it was clear who took the crown. There was no comparison to pure Black man beauty. Deng was by far better looking, only with different ethnic features.
Deng quickly took off his golden ankh necklace and placed it on her for luck, and then he held her possessively and protectively.
He would die before anything happened to her, he thought.
My seed shall live on through you Alek, Deng said quickly in her Dinka language, which he had mastered. I love you and although they may kill my physical body, I shall come back in another form. I shall love you forever, my beautiful jewel! I shall always be there for you. Look for me in a flower, in a leaf, in an animal, in a butterfly, in a reptile. I am a reincarnation of great, mighty Nuer gods and my spirit cannot be killed.
She had never heard him speak like that, and so she was afraid.
My love, why, would they kill you? she asked, with a trembling voice.
Because the Black man is a threat.
The soldiers grabbed him and pulled him away from her. They took him towards the General, who stood with his hands behind his back, legs spread apart, with a detached look.
No! She cried out. But two soldiers held her back.
What do we have here? the General asked, raising his thick eyebrows, as he looked at Deng. He inspected him closely as if he were mere cattle. Not a man, but a slave. He is strong as well. For sure, his value will be great. Where are your other fellow slaves?
I am not a slave! I am a man, Deng said defiantly, controlling his anger. I am a proud Black man of an ancient civilization Nuba! My ancestral home is in Sudan!
You Black people, the General sneered, Slaves you always were, slaves you are and slaves you will always be! Slaves! Nubas! Do you have a god? You are ugly and Black! You are godless! We Arabs are your god! Your god is Omar al-Bashir! You are his slaves and the slaves of the pale-faced ones!
The soldiers laughed.
Deng did not laugh. There was a look of murder in his eyes. It was as if he knew that death was at his doorstep. He was defiant and proud. If death came his way at the hand of these murderers, he was going to at least die with the dignity of a man.
My people were here before your people, and we will always be here. Who do you think built the pyramids you are so quick to claim? Who do you think reigned as kings in the Egypt and Sudan that you claim as yours? Africa is the land of Blacks! Deng shouted defiantly, You cannot eradicate us from the face of the earth. We were Black before your ancestors were born and we are still Black! There are more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt! How do you explain that?
Bastard seed! the General spat out and slapped Deng. Do not answer back to me, you little Black piece of shit!
Deng gave the General a dangerously poisonous look. It was a look that could kill.
Deng! Please Alek begged, her eyes misty with tears. Naively, she thought that perhaps if he were a bit subservient, they would leave them alone. The General angrily ordered his men to get out hippo-hide whips and use them on Dengs back. Two men held bound his hands in front of him with hemp rope and the other two whipped him cruelly on his back. They beat him severely. Some other men even came and kicked him with their hard army boots. He winced with pain.
But his Nuer pride was unbreakable, as they whipped him mercilessly.
Long live the SPLA! Praise goes to Queen Ma-at! Praise goes to our ancestors, who you tried to bury in your man-made lake to hide the fact that our civilization is older and greater than yours! We Black people were here before the Egypt you now claim as yours. You always claim, rape and steal the best of Africa. You are newcomers to the land of Africa! It has always belonged to us the Black people! We are the mothers and fathers of the Egypt and Sudan, which you now populate. In fact if you were to check your bloodline, you would find our Black blood in your veins!
There was instant chaos and anger among the soldiers.
Shut the nigger up! the General ordered. How dare he! The nerve of that dog!
Other men threw in dehumanizing racial epithets.
Our leaders were right when they told us that we should kill all the Nuba. There is no place here for the niggers any more! One of the soldiers shouted. You are abeeds, you are slaves; nothings!
You Blacks are gorillas! You are Black, and you are ugly, Another soldier jeered, No Black can stay here! We can no longer allow Blacks to stay in Sudan. The blood of the Blacks runs like water. We take your property and we chase you from your area and our cattle is on your land. We rape your women and you can do nothing about it because you are not men. You are animals! The power of Al-Bashir belongs to the Arabs and we will kill you until the end! You Blacks, we have killed your God!
We shall rid Sudan of her blackness! Sudan belongs to the Arabs! We shall make all the babies of Black women light skinned! We shall eradicate the Black man and woman from the face of the earth!
Oye! They all cheered as they continued to beat Deng senseless.
Alek looked at the half-Black soldiers, not understanding their hatred. She was frightened. Most of them clearly looked as if their mothers were Black, or at least their grandmothers. Not all of them were pure Arab. Many of them had the signature mixed-breed look; the kind of look she had seen on many kids who were born of Arab rapists and victimized Black mothers. The Sudan was teeming with many of these half-Arab seed; seed who were given a status higher than Blacks, based on the lightness of their skins and silkiness of their hair. She was puzzled. What had the Blacks done to deserve such hatred and scorn?
She heard her loved one speak.
You can silence me now, but there are many of us! You can try and water down the black in our country, you can try and eradicate the blackness from this land, but you shall never succeed. Inshalla, our gods will descend upon you with wrath! It shall be so! The words Bild Al Sudan mean the land of the Black people. It is OUR land. The world will hear of your atrocities against the Black people in Sudan, on OUR own soil, and you shall be judged and punished!
Enough! the General yelled and walked hurriedly towards Alek. Drop him to his knees and make him face and watch her! I know how to break his manhood!
Deng was forced to his knees. The violence against him continued. It was clear that the soldiers enjoyed the torture. They did it with glee! He was beaten, slapped, whipped, kicked and boxed. His lower lip was bleeding and the skin near his left eye was purple and tender with swelling. In fact she could barely see the eye! His whole body was a bloody mess of cuts, lacerations and bruises. Tears burnt down her face. She felt pain in her heart. Her handsome Dengs beautiful face was damaged! She felt like vomiting. The baby inside her stirred. The soldiers covered Dengs mouth with masking tape, so that they would forever silence him.
He had said enough to rattle them.
Some of the child soldier had questions in their eyes.
The General walked purposefully to Alek. Soon he was in front of her. She caught a few whiffs of ganja coming from him. She knew that smell. Many warriors of her tribe took it before going to war. He also smelt of disgusting armpits, blood and sweat. He was dirty and had not bathed for a while. She cringed and tried to take a few steps back, but two soldiers behind her grabbed both of her slender arms.
The General looked her up and down with an appreciative gleam in his eyes.
Hear hear. She is a beautiful one. Tell me Black woman, how is it that one with such offensive dark blackness has such a beautiful face? he asked insolently.
Alek was offended. Who had told him that Black women were NOT beautiful? Who had lied to him that only fair-skinned women had a monopoly over beauty? She was enraged. If Black women were ugly and animals, then why were the janjaweed militia raping the so-called ugly animals? They were not raping jackals and hyenas, which were known for their ugliness. The contradictions were too much for her young, innocent head.
What was bizarre about the situation was how handsome the General was. In Aleks experience, beautiful people were always attributed with good qualities; purity, kindness, benevolence, and so many more qualities like that. She could not believe that the Devils representative, for there was something satanic about the General and his men, could come in such a deceptively beautiful package. He was the kind of man who probably had many women fighting for his attention in Khartoum, and yet here in Southern Sudan, he had unmasked his cruel devilish qualities to them.
He reached out and caressed her soft babyish cheek.
No! She cried out, as if her cheek had been burnt, knowing what was coming. She had heard enough stories to imagine. But she had never imagined that it could ever happen to them! His eyes hardened at her rejection.
But she did not care. Surely they would not do it to a sixteen-year old pregnant woman! Surely there must be a God, who would dress their hearts with mercy and feeling.
But the Generals eyes were stone-cold. The only emotion they were only filled with, was lust. She saw in his eyes the secret desire which many men who were not Black, had for Black women. She saw herself fetishized, sexualized and fanaticized in his eyes. She saw herself reduced to nothing more than a sexual object. Something to be penetrated, used and discarded of.
Sex with the Black woman, the ultimate fantasy of many men.
He tore her long linen clothes off with his strong bare hands, and threw her onto the grassy ground. She felt the morning dew, wet against her skin. By now her body was trembling with sobs. She tried to fight him off, but he pulled out a knife and threatened her.
Deng! Please protect me! she begged, no longer a woman, but now a little girl.
Forget your Deng and your gods, the General laughed with contempt, as he unzipped his trousers. You infidels refused to accept Islam and stuck to the white mans religion – Christianity. Let us see how your God helps you!
All the soldiers laughed. It took four men to hold down Deng, because he had managed to fight off the two and tried to run in the direction of his woman to save her. Two other soldiers jumped out of their jeeps and slammed him in the head roughly with their rifles. He crumpled to the floor. Four soldiers held him down and two pointed their guns at him.
Six men to one.
Did it not just prove how much stronger and superior he was? He really was a threat.
As the Generals pants dropped to the ground, the obscenity of his private parts made her nauseous. He had a long scar on his stomach. Seeing the thick pubic hair and angry, reddish-brown weapon-like, sexual object of another man frightened her. It represented violence to the nth degree. It represented a loss of her innocence; of the last childish elements in her body. It represented a loss of her humanity and her rights as a woman to allow or refuse a man. It represented the deprivation of liberty. It represented powerlessness.
Make sure the nigger watches!
In a few seconds, the General was on the floor, on top of her. She tried to push him off, but he showed her his knife again and she shuddered. She could not believe it when he fondled her heavy breasts and his fingertips circled her erect nipples. He had a strange, hungry look in his eyes. He licked his lips like he wanted to suck them. He shocked her when he bent down to her breasts and did just that. Alek was confused and angry. How could a rapist avail himself to such an intimate, sensual act? Instead of being aroused, like she always was when Deng touched them, she was thoroughly disgusted.
Then he spread her legs apart and he entered her.
He exploded into her dry depths.
It was pure violence.
She screamed with pain and he slapped her into submission.
There was a clear difference between the honey-sweet, caring, gentle lovemaking of her husband and this horrible invasion of her private parts. He tore into the core of her being, like a bullet tearing into skin.
The General rammed and hammered into her with the determination and deliberate need to hurt her. He slammed into her, invading her like a colonizer raping Africa; his paleness assaulting her blackness. Despite herself and her efforts to be brave like Deng, tears burned her cheeks. She was a child again, crying out in humiliation and shame. The General held her fragile frame down; pressed down her slender arms with brutal force. His breath was rugged and laboured, as he raped her. She could tell from his stifled moans that he was enjoying it. She held back the vomit that threatened.
Alek could see the anger and murder in Dengs eyes. He struggled to be free, but the soldiers reined him in, forcing him to watch the heartbreaking scene. She could see the pain in his eyes at witnessing the brutal rape of his precious, sweet beloved. His lips strained through the masking tape to say something, but it only came out as muffled sounds. She cried out in agony; this rude intrusion of her most private, inward parts, the rose petal softness of her womanhood, killing something inside her. She felt the stirrings of hatred and anger, but decided to focus on her unborn child.
God, please protect the child inside me. You were not able to protect Deng and me, but please God, see to it that my child is not harmed, She prayed inwardly.
As the General mutilated her womanly sexual organ with his angry, abusive organ, the other men cheered on, waiting for their turns. They were happy! They sang, in harmony while he raped her, telling her that Africans were just slaves and that they could do with African women as they wished. Some of them were even openly masturbating.
There was something very offensive about the way the General emptied his seed in her. His eyes rolled back and he growled like an animal, completely ignoring the wetness of her face and redness and puffiness of her eyes; not to mention her frightened look.
Finally his raping stopped.
He whispered in her ear, so that no one else would hear the de-womanizing, de-humanizing disrespect in his tone.
Your black pussy is intoxicating. There is no high like fucking a Black woman. You Black women are whores who always want it. You cannot get enough. You are the best at sex, but thats all you are good at!
It had the effect he wanted. She looked at him with savage anger, wanting to kill him. Now she understood why other children her age, and younger carried AK-40s. It was to kill demons like him! He laughed cruelly, knowing that his words were as abusive as the bodily harm he had conducted on her.
How could be possibly be human? Human beings had hearts and consciences. Human beings did not do bad things to each other, the child in her reasoned.
Devil bastard, she thought.
He got up and spat on the floor.
Now you shall have Arab babies, and not those bastard nigger children that your man would have given you. You shall no longer produce a child of the enemy.
Deng was still struggling to get free. There was a wild look in his eyes. The General walked up to him and spat in his face.
Kill him! We need slaves, but an outspoken one like him is a danger to us. We do not need him raising up the other slaves into rebellion. he ordered.
No! she screamed, Deng!
How would she bear life without her warrior; without the love of her life, the man of her dreams? How would she raise her child alone? If people of her village knew that she had been raped, they would ostracize her. How would she survive without beautiful Deng to protect her?
Kill the bastard! The General, who was now sniffing a white powdery product, which a child soldier had brought him, shouted. His eyes now looked diluted, like many of the other soldiers.
The soldiers tied up Dengs sexual organs and pulled from both sides. He gave a deep throaty groan of pain, and tears poured down his face. Alek, who was now being raped by the second soldier, closed her eyes so that she would save her beloved the indignity of being watched by his woman; so that she would further save him the humiliation of having his woman watch him lose his manhood.
Close your eyes Deng and remember only our good moments. Remember only our love, she said softly in her language. She knew he had heard her. The soldier raping her slapped her and ordered her to shut up.
She did not count how many men raped her. They were too many to count. By the time they were done with her, her teenage pregnant belly was unnaturally swollen.
But what she would never forget was how they killed Deng.
She still got nightmares from it.
They tied him to a tree and shot him numerous times. They removed the masking tape from his mouth so that they could hear his screams, but he did not scream. He refused to break down in front of Alek, much to their annoyance. He wanted her to remember him as her brave warrior; as a real man and not a coward. Alek felt as if each of the bullets were hitting her. She flinched with each shot.
Long live Sudan, the Land of the Blacks! Deng kept yelling. Like the martyrs of Uganda, who were killed for their religious beliefs, he was indestructible. It took many bullets to kill him.
They kept shooting as they kept raping her, swimming in each others semen. She could not even worry about that disease AIDS, which she had heard had ravaged many countries in Africa. She was already dead. At that point she had zoned out mentally. It was the only way she could survive the brutality. She imagined the rising amber sun she had seen yesterday morning and soaked in the scents of the honeysuckle and jasmine trees around them.
Long live Alek, the woman of my dreams! were his last words.
Then they beheaded him.
Deng! They had killed her Deng!
She heard the slicing of a sharp panga against skin and heard his head drop and roll, but refused to open her eyes. She would remember him as the proud, handsome warrior that he had always been.
She gave a deep, sorrowful, animal cry. That area in her body that was breaking just had to be her heart. They were supposed to have had many children, and grown old together.
Deng, we shall be re-united in the next life, she thought.
Once they were done with her, the General came and looked at her with a strange look of disgust and pity in his eyes. She opened her eyes and looked at him, memorizing every single thing about him. He was her mortal enemy and she placed an African curse on him for the rest of his life and for the generations of his family to come. Some of the soldiers cocked their guns and aimed it at her. She thought that they were going to kill her but they did not.
Leave her! the General said, with a catch to his throat, There is no way that she will survive.
OK General, the other soldiers all walked off to their camels, motorcycles, horses and cars.
He stayed behind and continued looking at her.
It is a pity you are Black. You are one of those rare beautiful dark Black women. If your skin was lighter I could have made you my woman. But your blackness is of no use to me. You are nothing but a curse to me. My only consolation is I hope I have left some pale-faced seed in your stomach, so that you do not produce more of the enemy!
Ill kill you, Alek thought bitterly. I will look for you and avenge my Deng! I will kill all of you! I am going to fight for my people. I am going to fight for the memory of Deng!
As the General walked off, and the whole procession of janjaweed soldiers drove off, she hoped that she had not lost her baby, her only link to the only man she had ever loved with deep passion. She had to stay strong for her baby. She was a strong Black woman and she would survive. Her ancestry was one of strong survivors. She absolutely had to stay alive and keep her last reminder of Deng, which was growing inside her expanding belly.
Alek was not sure how long she lay there in the sun. She went in and out of consciousness, trying to gather up the strength to get up and walk. Once when she opened her eyes, heavy clouds basked in the sky, another time the sky was a silvery blue and another time the sky was a cobalt blue. Vultures flew above her, so she made sure to make a few movements so they would not attack her.
But when she woke up finally from her stupor, there was a middle-aged white female face with sympathetic green eyes peering down at her. The sunset was a few stripes of cerise. Behind her was a procession of UN jeeps. She could see that someone had compassionately covered her with a piece of kente cloth. Probably the green-eyed woman.
Hello there? Do you speak English? I am part of the UN Special Representative for Darfur Force. We have come to save you.
Yes, I speak English, she spoke haltingly and wondered what exactly they were saving. But for her child, her life was over. I am pregnant. I want to make sure that I am still pregnant.
Who did this to you? Was it the janjaweed militia?
There was an angry look in the green-eyes.
Please, I also beg for a respectful burial for my husband. That is his body there. He tried to protect me, Alek explained with tear-stained eyes, and they tortured and killed him.
The lady with the blue eyes tried not to gag, but she understood. She too had felt the glow of love at a younger age. She could not believe the savagery of some people. This job was getting too hard. She promised Alek the dignified burial of her lover and husband.
Alek was delicately carried into a car and given medical care. Not caring much about herself, she kept inquiring about her child. She could not bear the thought of losing both Deng and their baby. That would be too much to bear. Death was better than that.
A butterfly flew past and settled on a ledge next to her. Alek blinked in disbelief as its wings fluttered. She remembered Dengs words.
Its a miracle after what you have been through, but yes, you are still pregnant, the lady with the green eyes said, shocked at the resilience of the beautiful woman-child, who she had found lying in the middle of nowhere.
Then Alek did something that the white woman thought was strange, considering the trauma she had been through.
She fingered her golden ankh necklace and smiled.
posted 20 October 2007
update 3 March 2012