Saturday started out with a bang. Or, with a lecture. My youngest son asked me to put the security code in the IPad… I complied, and noticed he was on a music site. Curious as to what he was listening to, I pressed play. HOLY SHIT. It was a hip hop song…I immediately looked it up the lyrics on my computer…HOLY SHIT… it was filled with all sorts of profanity, very misogynistic (something about I’m going to “blank” on that “blank” and then the “blank” can take Uber home..) Ummmmm…..
I questioned my son about this…I asked him if he knew what this song was about…if he knew what all these words meant…he said yes…(OK WRONG THING TO SAY–although I appreciate the honesty…). I asked why he was listening to this.. he said that this is the kind of music they listened to back in Africa….
I began my lecture at this point. I explained that the women referred to in this song were in fact, somebody’s mother, sister, or daughter. I said that when he listens to songs like this, it embeds in his mind… and that eventually he could possibly think this is ok. I said that just because he listened to rap music back in Africa, doesn’t mean that is good for him.
I want him to remember his African heritage. I do. But not all of his African memories are good.
Later that evening, my husband and I watched the movie “Beasts of No Nation.” If you have not seen this, I urge you to do so. It is the story of an unnamed West African country during its civil war. It is the story of how one boy becomes a child soldier. It doesn’t say it, but I believe it to imply the country of Sierra Leone.
The country two of my children are from.
The young boy, Agu, reminded me so much of my son. SO MUCH. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where Agu is unable to escape with his mother–I began to sob. I knew his fate. I knew that had my own son been born ten or fifteen years earlier… this would have been his as well.
The movie was graphic. It could have been even more so…it did not include some of the more gruesome atrocities committed during the war. The point was made without the inclusion of these. The young actor, Abraham Attah, portrays his role so well…I bled inside my soul for all those lost children during the war.
Those children that were forced to fight and survived, are now grown. They are still in a third world country, with a weak economy, ravaged by ebola and other diseases, lack of education and sanitation, poor access to water or health care…how long before this type of war happens again?
These are memories I am so very grateful my children do not have.
But for those children still left there, with no hope of being adopted out…every single one of them could be a spark of life like my son or daughter. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
My heart hurts for them.
Watch this movie and see if yours doesn’t as well.