TITLE: A BROKEN ORCHESTRA
WRITER: AISHA KABIRU MOHAMMED, NIGERIA
REVIEWER: SESAME MOOKODI, BOTSWANA
A revolution is most often described by an act or a change but hardly by the people behind it or the motives that forced their hand. This poem sheds light on the instrumental ensemble that feeds the revolution.
The writer begins by challenging the common perspective that the people are viewed through. Their ability to overcome adversity is praised which diverts attention from the preventable circumstances of that adversity. In (S3, L1) it is made apparent that the perception is one that was beset upon them by saying they cannot paint them with the words. The next two lines of the stanza unveil the root of the peoples actions; fear. The choice in diction gives a somber mood and the adjectives effectively emphasize the pain inflicted (beaten bruised & festering wounds). Using the word motherland suggests a deep attachment to the place and speaks to the lack of security that the fear stems from when that place is threatened.
The next stanza delves deeper into the corruption of the place where one is meant to feel safe, using basic human needs (food) as a metaphor in order to further illustrate the distress that ensues when security is taken away.
From there we see the results of the distress, the reaction of the people in response. Incorporating the title of the poem into this stanza was a powerful tool; the writer uses musical themes such as whirled like dervishes (S5, L5) rhythmic beating (S5, L6) and added lyrics (S5, L7) and to represent the orchestra aspect brought forth in the title. All the violent components that come with protests (teargas, bullets, chants) are accompanied by the most important and often the one thing that perception often overlooks, the peoples intent.
In the last stanza, sacrifice and commitment are embodied in how the people are said to offer their bodies up for peace as death is not uncommon in such instances, all for the purpose of positive change for generations to come.