They’re killing us in Kasaï (Did you hear?)

They’re killing us in Kasaï

Did you hear?

With machetes, and guns, and rockets, and stray bullets

They’re burning us in Kasaï

Did you read?

With torches, and fuel, and tear gas, and flamethrowers

But who, but who’s

Attacking whom?

With whom and whom

In front of whom?

(Radio silence)

Oh, those goddamn people from Kasaï

With their big mouths that they don’t know how to shut

Their land full of diamonds

Their annoying arrogance

Burn them down, burn them down!

(and so they burned and they burned…)

September 1960 — The killings in the Kasaï province (Congo) ‘involve a most flagrant violation of elementary human rights and have the characteristics of the crime of genocide’ Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary General

But also…

September 1961 — The plane carrying U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld has crashed in Rhodesia after takeoff from the Congo.

(Silence)

They’re looting us in Kasaï

Did you hear?

Our mines, our fields, our villages, our forests

They’re slaughtering us in Kasaï

Did you read?

Elders and babies

From the oldest to the youngest

But who, but who’s

Massacring whom?

With whom and whom

In front of whom?

(Radio silence)

Oh, those goddamn people from Kasaï

With their exasperating habit of challenging everything

Hunt them down! Hunt them down!

(and so they hunted and hunted)

March 2017 — ‘In light of recurrent reports of grave violations (…), I urge the council to establish a Commission of Inquiry.” Zeid Al-Hussein. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

But also…

April 2017 — The bodies of the two U.N. experts who were investigating allegations of war crimes have been found in Kasaï

(Silence)

They’re assaulting us in Kasaï

Did you hear?

In Tshikapa, in Luebo, in Nkoto, in Tshienke

They’re torturing us in Kasaï

Did you read?

In Mwanza Lomba, in Bitande, in Tshimbulu, in Kamonya

But who, but who’s

Invading who?

With whom and whom

In front of whom?

(Radio silence)

Oh, those goddamn people from Kasaï

With their defiant ideas and their infamous opponents

Circle them, circle them!

(and they circled and circled)

Divide them, divide them!

(and they divided and divided)

Subdue them, subdue them!

(And so they tried. In vain)

March 2017 — The mandate of the MONUSCO shall ‘ensure effective and dynamic protection of civilians under threat of physical violence, including by preventing, deterring, and stopping all armed groups (…) inflicting violence on the populations. (resolution 2348, paragraph 34)

But also…

May 2017 — United Nations officials acknowledged that they were concerned about the situation in Kasaï. (Congo) Since last year, it is estimated that about one million people have been displaced, thousands of refugees have fled the country and at least forty mass graves have been discovered.

(Radio silence)

They’re killing us in Kasaï.

Did you hear? Did you read? Did you see?

©Sabrina Moella