Even months after escaping the grip of the System and finding freedom I cannot quite get used to being able to speak freely and without fear. Even the simple act of writing my journals would have found me put before a firing squad. Expressing the truth or an opinion carried an automatic death sentence. They could not stop the mind from thinking though.
Only a year ago I had to watch every word I said as even the walls seemed to have ears. You never knew who a friend or a System spy was. I was not able to read or write so that was not a problem. Despite all that I knew it was wrong, that was not how life was meant to be.
In the brief period of schooling, I had received from the System I had been labelled a rebel and troublemaker. A teacher had told me more than once if I wasn’t careful, I would end up dead. I realise now he was another free-thinker and was protecting me. Even the barbaric act of forcing me to witness execution after execution; he was protecting me.
I would watch as bullets fired into the back of a victim’s head as they knelt on the ground and I would watch as their bodies crumpled into the heap of a corpse. Adults and children alike – no one was safe. I felt their fear mingle with my own as I silently promised to remember them. In my dreams I see it played repeatedly.
Last week I asked Ariana if I could have a small piece of garden to make a place of remembrance. In that week she and Gai have helped me create something magical. Today Gai took me shopping and we found some painted stones and bought a few and we will buy more. Each one is a witness to the fight for freedom and the memory of so many who will never know it.
Tomorrow I go back to school and I am determined to learn as much as possible so I can find a way to stop the suffering under the System.
©JG Farmer 2013