Issue 1:1 (summer 2008)


Guilty Conscience Speaking by Efrata T. Obsa / go back to First Issue

Harmee and Ababa
Akko and Akaaka
Your sisters your brothers
Uncles, aunties, cousins and others
Worry about tomorrow
Their heart filled with sorrow
Can’t repay what they borrowed
The fertilizer is not working
Aint no rain coming down
The cattle are dying
What you gonna farm with now?
Aint no milk from the cow
Guess we’ll starve the baby
Will he survive to see the next day?
Yaa rabbi!
What’s with this malaria?
Starvation diphtheria
Keeps coming back to the area
More people on the carrier
A long walk to the clinic
Don’t call me a cynic
If I tell you most of them won’t make it
Guess its time to panic
Wayyo! Wayyo! Nan badee! Nan badee!
See that’s the wombade
That kidnapped my daughter
When she walked home from school
Took her by force threatened her by slaughter
Isn’t there a law a governing rule
She’s only a child how could you be so cruel?
Maalo! Maalo!
Why are you so shallow?
So heartless so callous
To turn a cold shoulder
On all those who need you
And whom you once needed
The ones who gave you your life
Along with their own
How could you withstand
The guilt that’s at hand
A five dollar phone card on the weekend
And you act like you saved them from the deep end
And brought them back from the edge
Yaa gudii
Why are you so greedy?
Spend a fortune on desire
Brand names and designers
While Borana cries for water
Harar for some dry land
The starving for some food
The weak for a helping hand
All four limbs and a brain
That’s more than necessary
Please get up and do something
Don’t waste time, please hurry!
Before the lenders reposes Akaka’s house
And the disease wipes out the town
Before another girl is raped
And a criminal is left unbound
This is your guilty conscience speaking
The time to act is now!


Efrata T. Obsa was born in Finfinne, Oromia, and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland.