Post Mortem

My story - Our journey

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/19/2019 12:04:21 PM IST

 One

When they shot my brothers

I wiped my tears and vowed revenge

I took them down one by one

I was pleased

I let the fire that stoked when they call me ‘brave’ burn within.

It made me proud till I spent restless nights, 

remembering the names and faces.

I moved places but the memories surfaced

Some nights I woke up to dreams of screams

In the morning my mother’s calmness would sweep my thoughts

But when the night set the fears would return

I was possessed!

I disclosed my fears to the woman who bore our children

and shared my journey, but not my dreams.

She told me about Nebuchadnezzar

The mighty king whose sanity was restored when he looked upto heaven

I ran to the quiet of the room to find the great king of Babylon

Oh he had all the power and glory the world could offer

He had Pride!

It took him down.

I writhed in pain.

Heaviness choked my heart, 

my life

my freedom to peace.

I counted the years I have lived

Oh the few years I might have in hand

I did not possess the time or the design

I only had pride that walled my heart pretending to be bravery

I counted the deaths one by one 

to realize that the enemies were not them but within me

I ripped myself apart to face my great nemesis

My pride!

I knelt in shame

I hungered for forgiveness

I wept

And I remembered He wept too

In the dawn, my mother’s face appeared like the morning glory

I found my way to seek forgiveness 

And surrender my pride

‘Neath the cross

That night the dreams returned again

But this time,

We set the albatross around our necks free.

I had entered Reconciliation

Two

I found my peace but the war had not ended

It birthed widows and orphans

I sought counsel from the elders and the leaders; the learned and the sacred.

I knocked on every door but love, like life, was short everywhere.

I was restless again till I met the widow at a funeral

I remember her man pled for his life but I closed my eyes and shot him

The dirge was long and heavy

My anxiousness heavier

I ran through my memories to latch onto my mother’s words

It gave me courage.

We shook hands like it could thaw unforgiving hearts

I asked forgiveness.

She said she nursed her wounds, 

but never held  anger.

Her pain was like a long walk in the desert but it was in the matrix of God’s gracious plans

Like how it was for Joseph, son of Jacob. 

I returned home to the quiet of the room to find Joseph

His story of forgiveness that healed his brothers and restored light and dignity to them 

His wretched brothers! They tried to kill him but sold him to slavery. 

He had the chance to destroy them but he cried instead, in the joy of reunion

That night I slept thanking life

for the gift of stories

The different mystery and philosophy it opens to everyone

That night I walked like Joseph to a wider path of reconciliation

Three

The war continued like the incessant rain

But the battlefield was changing. The actors too.

The walls got higher, 

and the hearts, colder

‘We are for political and historical rights’ they all said

But raged lives and peace

The war spread to civil space and sense

Peace got more violent everyday

The youths lay wasted like the cadres

The church got bigger and the souls smaller

Women were asking for rights and becoming more patriarchal

Men grew wealthier and shallower

In the nights my dreams were of pitch black

I kept running in the wilderness

My prayers became laments

They were long and bitter

The land was mourning

Injustice grew deeper and showed its scars in splits:

Of movements, churches, homes, tribes, gender, civil societies, politics.

We had not found the centre to anchor.

If we are to emancipate our people

We must unchain our women and widows

Free the youths from condemnation, even if they fall 

Give new hope to our men when they fail 

Teach our children the colour of truth and justice first

Not the scars of violence and tribe

Insist our church to embrace lost souls, not tithes

And measure our leaders by the size of the heart, not wealth

When freedom is restored 

Like dignity and justice in the lives of the people

There will be peals of thunder that writes

Let my people go!

That will be the last walk of reconciliation!

Epilogue:

Reconciliation is a long road.

It is a political process. It is a spiritual churning.

It is both a personal and a collective journey.

My journey to reconciliation has been a lonely one.

Before my days end 

I must pass on my baton of struggles and stories 

to our women, the widow and her co-travelers in mourning

They hold the key to transform rigidity into love!

Tungshang Ningreichon

About the author: Tungshang Ningreichon is a mother from Ukhrul and is based in Delhi. She walks with the Naga peoples’ Movement for Human Rights and writes occasionally on issues close to her heart.

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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