of Peace is for, by and about peace activists and people affected
by conflict in the Mano River basin. The publication aims to give
voice to a diverse range of voices, particularly those of women, on
peace- and conflict-related issues. MARWOPNET welcomes feedback from
members, partners or other interested parties who would like to share
their opinions, stories, letters, photos, or other materials for publication
in the newsletter. Please write to the newsletter editor at email@example.com.
A PROCESSION OF SORROWS
the bombs burst, the tears fall. War spares neither man, nor woman,
nor child; it devastates villages and cultures. We live in a crazy
world where the arms race has become common currency.
--Lanciné Sagno, Permanent
CALL TO PEACE
Women of the Mano River
Women of Africa
I salute you
I applaud you
For all that you do
to bring peace to our land
I urge you to pursue
Our good work
Because you have succeeded
Where the men have failed
Lobby our leaders
Make them hear reason
Make them listen to their people
In order to avoid the consequences
To those who carry the name
of refugee, orphan, deplaced people
Of famine, poverty, epidemics, environmental destruction
I beg you to take your experience to
the Ivory Coast, Burundi, Uganda
the Congo, Sudan, Somalia,
to everywhere in Africa
Where arms still reign.
Dont we often say
What the woman wants, God wants?
Wasnt it you
who lost your hands
in this senseless fratricidal war?
Certainly you are the best placed
to bring back the peace
To help Africa find the way out of its fix
To give our children a chance to grow up
And go to school secure and well-loved
To give the chance to our elders
To share their rich experiences
To the coming generations in all serenity
To give a chance to our living forces
To fulfill their mission to develop
Posterity will be
Mr. Condé, MARWOPNET-Kindia
by Emmanuel Kolié, Lola prefecture
Why me? Can I kill
in a normal state of mind? Will I be able to find something to eat?
Why this violence in my life? Oh, man of Planet Earth. Doesnt
anyone care about me?
I would like to also grow up like you one day. And if I could vote
at my age, I would vote no to war, violence, and impunity, and no
to corruption, injustice, and insecurity. I would vote yes to dialogue,
justice and love; yes to patience and the quest for peace.
- Philippe Doualamou, student from
Boiro "Tout Pousse" school in the Lola prefecture
TEARS OF A NATION
The above drawing is one
of the many evocative illustrations in the unpublished manuscript
A Vicious Agony for Power and Blood Diamonds by Sahar
Gmp Fania, a Sierra Leonean refugee living in Conakry, Guinea.
The year the youth should have enrolled in a university, Fania lost
his father to rebels. Instead of continuing his studies, he got involved
in political activism in Sierra Leone. As chairman of a local human
rights group, he began documenting the human rights violations occurring
in his country, a project which has evolved into a 1,000-page, four-part
illustrated history of the war, its causes and consequences in Sierra
Leone and Liberia. Fania came to Guinea in 2000 to escape political
persecution and continue his research.
In his words:
This drawing depicts the events of 1992, the second year of
the war, which started at our borders, marching toward the capital
city of Freetown. This year was so bloody and destructive that we
finally began to doubt the changes the rebels said they were going
to bring. We came to understand the intention of the rebels was beyond
nation-building, because the democracy we were fighting for had already
been attained. It turned out to be a selfish war really waged by the
warlords for the achievement of power and blood diamonds at all costs.
I wanted to document the war, to show to our children and teach them
that the war is indeed not the solution.
who is seeking a publisher for his work, can be reached at
April Thompson, MARWOPNET-Conakry
AN IVORIAN REFUGEE
September 21, 2002 in Danané, Côte d'Ivoire, we were
surprised by the noise of rebels' rifles and we fled instantly. While
running away, some friends' lives were taken by stray bullets.
I entered the bush and came out in a village I didnt know. Later,
this village was also attacked. We borrowed a vehicle but unfortunately
the rebels blocked our route. In their search, they found two policemen
that they slaughtered in front of us and all their families.
Arriving in a village called Gnaglé, I took two days to rest.
The next day, the people signaled to the rebels that there was a young
Bété (an ethnic group in Ivory Coast) in their village,
so I took flight for an unknown locale. Walking one night in the bush,
I encountered traffickers selling coffee in Guinea; I transported
them to Tounkarata, a Guinean village, for 1500 CFA to be able to
eat after days of hunger.
I lost all my family in the war.
Ivorian Refugee in Guinea
I dont want war any
more; but since you insist that I talk about it, Im going to
relate to you certain headlines from my past.
On December 28, 1989 we were surprised by an armed attack from the
Côte dIvoire, destroying the village of Karnplay where
I was living with my parents. My father was killed and my mother was
taken by force to serve as a cook for the rebels. I was 15 years old.
Not knowing where the rest of my family was, I fled for the Côte
dIvoire, then to Guinea in 1990. There I encountered one of
our neighbors who told me about the death of my mother following the
atrocities. In 1991 I went to Sierra Leone with a friend to be recruited
in an armed movement to fight Charles Taylors forces. I fought
for two years in the movement, destroying everything in our path.
I cant begin to describe the cruel acts we performed -- at this
moment I wasnt normal. In 1993 I was reunited with my big brother,
who was looking for me in the shops and made me come back to Guinea,
where I now live in the Lainé refugee camp.
Chérif, Ex-combattant for the ULIMO in Liberia
Chérif, ex-combattant, Feri
refugee, & Lanciné
Permanent Secretary, Lola