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I am the voice of Diaspora, the One and the many who live in two worlds, pulled by the memories and attachments of their places of origin, resurrected from the dead by an assimilated life in the present pursuing their dreams in a new place of migration.

I am the voice of a lost generation, whose youth galvanized their will to break free from traditional culture, ran from their history and denounced their ancestors.

I am the voice of the untold numbers who are unaccounted with whom I have an eternal bond, and for whom my loyalty triggers emotions of guilt and a sense of duty.

I am woman whose traditions in my native land drove me to flee to new frontier regions where I could explore my possibilities and find a self-unchained by gender.

I am the voice of hundreds and thousands whose lives are torn by civil wars, ruthless dictatorships, forces of circumstance and calamity, abject poverty and oppression.

I am the voice of the countless who survived torture and unspeakable terror in the hands of their native brothers and sisters. I am but only one of the many who survived the adversity of renegade governments, militant political factions, fanatics, mercenaries and opportunists who squelched human rights and caused communities to flee by night through borders across deserts and high seas to become refugees in foreign lands.

I am the survivor who journeyed for more than two decades with guilt and self-recrimination only because I lived. I journeyed with self-loathing in my newfound home in a foreign land to realize my self and to find a small niche where I could build a life. I struggled to break free from social isolation and mental torment and from being voiceless and helpless, in a society where I am marginalized and invisible.

What was the crime I committed that caused my self incarceration? I condemned myself for having chosen my own life, because I willed my own destiny and chose personal fulfillment forsaking tradition and old habits. I forged a new path separating myself from my ancestors who died to defend my motherland and to preserve the beliefs that make me stand strong, tall and resolute today. For that I punished myself with endless self -loathing and sabotaged every effort at having an iota of happiness.

I am the voice of that child who never had a chance at the tender age of two or three tangled by starvation, and tripped by the giants like kwashiorkor and marasmus. I am the one who is the means of collecting money for aid agencies on whose behalf they plead, and you see me on your television screen, skinny legs and distended stomach whose eyes are the feast of dragon flies and whose wail is not heard across the Atlantic. I am the one whose father fled to make a life in another land, or whose mother became a young indentured servant forced into prostitution among strangers where she speaks not the language nor understands their culture.

I am the voice of thousands from Albania, Armenia, Burundi, Bosnia, Chile, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Haiti, Kampuchea, Kosovo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Vietnam and many more places I could neither spell nor pronounce, who left behind their dead siblings unburied, or dead parents un-mourned. I am the one who moved forward determined to make a life so that one day I could become one with the Eternal Voice.

I am the voice from beyond the material realm, the Spirit that has risen from the dead, who has revived and grasped the sweet honey of life and is now an embodiment of living in Grace. I am the voice of hundreds and thousands of immigrants illegal and unprotected by law who are abused by employers, wrenching in their sleep alone and confused with depression, post traumatic stress disorder from isolation and helplessness.

I am the voice of the Spirit, the One who desires all children of the universe to heal, all people to love one another live in peace, to prosper in harmony and rise to their manifest destiny.

I am the voice of Spirit abiding in every home with each individual whose worries at night and by day entail how families have been torn asunder like the peas from a pod blown by the great wind across the fields.

I am the voice of the guilty and the shamed, humiliated and terrorized children of Diaspora who negate themselves in the hopes of passing their children for first class citizens in a new country where they migrated. They come and go, labor and toil bearing the brunt of bigotry, racism and discrimination, in a world that has increasingly become more materialistic, more unjust and more blatant in its obliteration of human rights.

I want a world of peace and justice and a human community elevated to the highest level of Divinity.

Hanna M. Kebbede (no date)


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