George Tengbe

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Copyright © 2006 riceNpeas

George Tengbe is a Sierra Leonean whose poetry reflects the atrocities and sufferings his people have witnessed during his country's twelve-year civil war. Though the war ended in 2002, George feels the oppressive conditions which created the civil war still exist. He describes the current peace as fragile and says he is fearful of the future. The following is a brief interview with George, followed by two of his poems.

“Both the Government and the Rebels don't tell the truth; it is we, the people, who suffer. The pen and my poetry give me the chance and the power to be heard, to be able to speak to the people and on behalf of the people. I saw so many killings it is uncountable. I witnessed fifteen women being buried alive because they had had relationships with soldiers; the militia commander said they should have burned down the whole village. I am grateful for the peace we have now, but it will only last if the indigenous people recognise their mistakes. The government does not see the interests of the people. Leaders have to realize that when their time is up, they must leave. We still don’t have political freedom here; we are continually oppressed. The election campaign for 2007 is one-sided. Everything is geared towards supporting the SLPP (Sierra Leonean Peoples Party). If I speak out I could be jailed. There is no freedom of expression. Is this what they call Democracy?”

-George Tengbe-

By George Tengbe

They attack us,
Nowhere to go,
Shooting into the village,
Nobody moved about,
Life became a chance,
Death was in action,
Mother lay dead,
Father lay dead,
Oh! Revolutionary fighters,
Oh! Revolutionary fighters,
They cut our hands,
Their eyes dropped plastics fire,
They killed some,
They cooked some for source,
They ate our relatives,
Men became change from mankind,
The blooded revolution,
Life became a problem to civilians,
Man was in model,
Life wasn't final to mankind,
Death became our goal,
Oh! Revolutionary fighters,
Oh! Revolutionary fighters!

By George Tengbe

A refugee has no rights,
Whatever they said,
The secret policies beat them,
They are citizens of different lands,
They maltreat them,
They insult them,
They declare them evil people,
They laugh at them,
They refuse them,
Are refugees not human?
They too came from home,
Its change of power,
It causes war,
War is a danger factor,
War is to waive all your rights,
War is to change your ideology,
War is to move you from place to place,
War is not a good ideology,
War for power,
It kills the people,
All villages on fire,
All villagers lose properties,
Not an hour to talk,
Life will be the game.