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Prepared to Die for Peace – A Poem By A. Happy Umwagarwa

On 04 January 2019, I posted on social media the following statement: “Rwanda does not need warriors, but peacemakers.”


It was interesting but puzzling to read the comments from some young Rwandans. It was clear that some of them felt that we need warriors, and the fact that they could lose their lives in wars did not scare them.

Are we prepared to die for peace as much as we are prepared to die fighting?


© 2019 A. Happy Umwagarwa
All Rights Reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the author.


Prepared To Die For Peace : A poem by A Happy Umwagarwa


Please lend me words to write this piece
Words to condemn the motives of a war
Words to preserve the winds of peace
Why do I see lions preparing to roar
While the lambs forecast their decease?


Are guns their toys and wars their caprice?
What did they get from the battle of their corps?
Isn’t it time for us to lead them to a surcease?
The peacemaker should start to deplore
The poet should recite a masterpiece.


The term of an unknown hero simply a legalese
It doesn’t bring back our brothers we did adore
That the tears of the widows may cease
Who shall take away this fear of an encore?
Who shall respond to my call for peace?


Please let me pay the price for peace.
To build peace with those you don’t care for
Those you call enemies, I call brothers to be nice
Their wounds to heal and their dreams to soar
With the joy of being cared for by a Bernice


Why should I be judged for being a berceuse?
To the boys whose nightmares remind them a war?
And to the girls whose tears they can’t release?
All I do is to write a conversation piece
To call all my compatriots to the same dance floor


Hey, Umwagarwa, those are enemies to police
My sisters reminded me the perpetrators’ lore
No, Umwagarwa, all we want is our pain to decrease
Please look at our eyes and our tears don’t ignore
Why can’t I stand in the middle as a set piece?


Please let me tell the left to make peace
Please let me tell the right to stop the war
Allow me to show my compatriots their timepiece
I swear the hatred and the violence I can’t fend for.
I simply want the spasms of a pre-war to cease


Maybe I’m a girl with daydreams of a Viennese
Maybe I am a coward you should ignore
Please let me be a butterfly that spreads peace
All I will do is to write to those whose pain I care for
My father’s killers and my mother’s heroes on this fleece.


Should I fight those who may attack my peace?
Maybe I would have chosen a gun and go to war
Years ago my brothers did and pushed them to the door
But I am afraid it’s too costly to preserve peace
When the pain of compatriots we continue to ignore


I am a simple girl who quietly whispers peace
My brothers and sisters I aim to implore
To come to the mountain top of our fleece
Let’s open to the philosophers the stage door
Maybe the poets can recite a period piece


Here I am Rwanda to serve your peace
Guns I can’t hold, I am not prepared for a war
Insults I can’t trade, their anger may increase
I don’t want to die fighting those you care for
I am simply prepared to die for peace.

My name is Umwagarwa

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