23 August 2009

The Ones Before Me - A tribute to FALINTIL

Written by: Lukeno Alkatiri With the contribution of: Low Heng Boon 20th August 2009 - This piece is dedicated to the historical FALINTIL for their struggle and sacrifice. I dedicate it to all the men that were part of it. I dedicate it especially to FALINTIL’s founders (Nicolau Lobato, Mau Lear, Alarico Fernandes and others), including the only living founder: my father, Mari Alkatiri.

As I travel on the back of the crocodile land, I follow the path you left behind representing your beautiful and courageous struggle. I walk with it or behind it but never in front of it. For, unlike some, I cannot bear the idea of giving my back to story and history you have left us. I try to understand the source of your strength during the years you were locked away from the rest of the world, a world that took its time to come your rescue and now forgets who you were and what you have become.

I follow your tear drops and your drops of blood that many times fed this soil. They are still here, resisting and not allowing themselves to dry. I notice that each drop unlocks the narration of a beautiful tale. Your tale, therefore, our tale. Tales of sacrifice, of desperation, and most importantly, drops of blood and tears that provide evidence of the trail traced by your dreams and your beliefs.

On this journey I also follow the sound of your scream that still echoes from the top of these mountains. So many times you screamed, hoping that someone would hear you and put an end to the madness of your enemies. So many times they ignored you, deluding themselves to think that your screams would one day surrender to silence.

Little did they know that it was their own silence that would one day break. The bullet shells that are still left untouched on the sites of your battles represent the existence of a cause. Next to them are some of the bodies you left behind. Your own. However lifeless you left them and regardless of the mutilation you suffered by the horror of witnessing their last breath, you assured that their self-sacrifice would keep our ideals alive. They represent the countless times you were forced to suppress the sadness and the mourning for your loss in order to leave them but always remembering that you owe them your continued existence.

Before I started this never-ending journey, people told me about you. They told me that you were fighting, hurting but keeping yourself relentlessly alive for us. For this reason I decided to follow your path, to hear your scream and to let the trail your tears and blood guide me to the place where you have become forever our hero. I will catch the shells of the bullets that pierced through your flesh and show them to the world. I will lie down next to the bodies you left behind and I will let them tell me the stories of your battles. They will tell me their names so that I make sure they will never be forgotten. And after I thank them for their sacrifice, they will teach me how to face the future battles of the struggle that is far from over. And I will learn, from these everlasting souls, how to tear, bleed and scream, when it is my time to continue tracing the trail.
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Image added by ETLJB: Falintil Flag.
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