A dark life
Written by Kokhob Mului Yemesgen Gebreyohannes
I call you "Mistir" and it means secret in Amharic and I call you Mistir because I'm going to tell you something that I've never told anyone else, so I'm going to tell you about my secrets.
Today I have thought to tell you about my sad and boring life. Now I am sitting in a dark and dirty room in the prison. I will be in prison for 25 years. Now I sit and wait for when the time will run out. But time is very long and it will not end soon. I can't forget everything that has happened to me, my tears, my stressful, lonely and dark times. I am 28 years old now and I am very sick and disappointed because my life story is very sad and strange. I don't understand why sad things have happened to me.
1999-01-04 My Life
Sorry I couldn't keep telling. I was a little sick so I was in the hospital. By the way, my name is Nafkot and I am from Ethiopia which is located in Africa. We were farmers and lived in a poor and small town called Awasa located in Ethiopia. We couldn't afford to buy what we wanted and we grew vegetables like tomato, corn and barley.
- How cool you think, right?
Although it was hard to grow and we had to do everything with our own hands because there were no automatic resources that you use when you grow in Sweden. But we also had such a small farm so we couldn't sell vegetables and get money like most people did in the city. We had few animals that I loved very much. I was smart and beautiful. The only thing my parents wanted was for me to marry a rich man in the city so that they would be rich and highly valued but I didn't want that.
I had two friends named Lomi and Veronika who would rather get married than finish school and get an education. But I always wanted to go to school like the boys and become the best doctor in town. But girls weren't allowed to do that because school stuff wasn't for girls, it was decided what girls and boys could do and not do. The boys had to go to school in my home country but we girls were not allowed to go to school even if we wanted to. We girls didn't get to decide, we had to sit in the kitchen and clean the house. Therefore I was always sad. I always think how unfair it is in my home country.
All my friends were married off in Awasa town and I was only 14 years old but still my parents wanted to marry me off like my friends. I wanted something to happen so that my parents forget the idea of marrying me off. I used to hide and steal books about medicine from the library and then I would go to the forest and read all the books I stole. Then I learned a lot about the medical profession. I stole the books because it was forbidden for girls to enter the library and borrow books. It was a strange culture in my home country where women were denigrated from a young age. Finally, a horrible event happened that I had wished for.
We may continue next week or next year.
2000-01-21 The war in my homeland and Libya
There was a war in Ethiopia and life became very difficult for us. Then we needed to escape from Ethiopia and it took a long time to escape to Libya. We were not lucky at that time. We were caught by some men from Libya who had black hair and a shawl around their face. We ran but they had weapons in their hands and we were so terrified that we could not move. They took us to a prison where they gathered all the refugees they caught and what they wanted was money to be paid. They told us they wanted 1 million money or they would kill us. My aunt lived in the US and she was rich so we hoped she would buy us free. She was the only hope we had at the time. The people there were very small and old and I felt sorry for them. There was no food, water, bed or toilet. I cried and my brother Alex got frustrated with the men and said in an angry voice:
- What kind of people are you? Get us out of here, right now! You kill people for money and you also want people to believe in the same religion as you.
Then came a tall man with a dark mask on his face and he had a very dark and scary voice. He said:
- Shut up you freaking immigrant!
The man took out his gun and killed my brother in front of my eyes.
Me and my family screamed:
– NOEEEEJJJ NOJJ ALEX WAKE UP PLEASE WAKE UP!!!!!! PLEASE WAKE UP!!!
As I tell you this, it felt like it was happening now. It is very difficult to see your brother die before your eyes.
I wish it was a dream. I was so scared and we cried a lot. They told us that if we don't shut up, they will destroy us all. My little sister, Fiyori, and my parents were scared and terrified. They took my brother in front of my eyes and threw him into a big hole on the ground. My anger is indescribable, I hate them incredibly.
I can't write more Mister, my feelings just woke up and this is still a little hard for me to share.
2010-07-09: The mean men
Good morning Mistir. It was a long time ago. I had almost forgotten about you, but I still want to continue telling you about the incident. After I told about my brother's death, I started to remember everything that happened in Libya. So I was in the hospital for almost six years but still I'm not well. Don't feel sorry for me because I'm used to this now, it's my life now.
I think they were muslims but they were different because they believe that if you kill people who believe in another religion you go to heaven. I had friends who were muslim but in the quran it says it is forbidden to kill people and when i told this to my friend who was muslim she told me they were weird and they want people to think that muslims are mean. But I also know that Muslims are kind people like everyone else.
But let me continue to tell you what happened next. What happened was that my aunt paid 1 million to the evil men and they let us go free. I knew a girl from there called Lydia and she was 13 years old, a year younger than me. She had no one to pay those horrible men from Libya - and I think they killed her. I couldn't leave without my brother, we wanted to take him even if he was dead. We couldn't stop crying for months because my brother died and I felt sorry for the people who were there. It's kind of like the holocaust but I heard it's even worse now that my older brother died.
Bye. See you tomorrow. I have told you enough for today.
2010-07-10 Good evening Mistir!
Those people with gun and black mask are like Hitler because they kill, burn, cut and do different scary and horrible things just to get money. They make you hate the day you were born. If you only saw the tears falling from all the sad eyes, you would start crying yourself.
Now you're sad too, aren't you?
2010-09-09 The scary sea
Good day Mistir!
It's me again and I'll keep telling you. Do you want to know more? Okay! I know you want to know more.
Then came the scary road. OMG. Over a hundred people joined and rode in a giant wooden boat. The sea was huge and scary. It felt like there was a hard hole in the middle of the ocean with a strong gravity pulling us down all the time. It also felt like we were all going to drown. There were many people who fell from the boat into the scary sea and became food for the big sharks. I kept feeling that I or someone in my family would suddenly also fall off the boat and die. I couldn't swim and I heard many people screaming and saying "help me" and many were already dead and floating around in the sea.
I remember there was a little girl sitting almost next to me and she suddenly fell from the boat and I think her mother was also fetching water like my father. It was storming and lightning and it was very cold. I reached out and my hand was shaking all the time, but I couldn't reach the small and beautiful girl. When her mother saw it, she ran and jumped into the great sea. Both died and I swear I couldn't stop crying and sometimes I think maybe I could have saved their lives if I wasn't so scared.
At the time I wished I was married because it was kind of hell to be there. On the way, many people were injured so I helped them heal their wounds. Many people were so grateful for what I did for them and my parents were proud of me. I also got a little happy and I was only 15 years old. I heard that many people are dying in Libya because of the evil people who want money. More people who die are from Eritrea and the country is close to Ethiopia. If you were there Mistir, you would want to help them.
We landed in Italy and the country is so beautiful and the people there are very helpful and kind. They helped us a lot. They gave us clothes, food, drink and rooms where we could rest. Very nice people. When I watched football, I usually cheer for them. Then we traveled to the United States.
2011-12-01 United States
Finally, I'm going to tell you something good today.
But we got through this and started living a normal life and I got to go to school like all the other kids. I was overjoyed when my dream came true. We landed in the US where my aunt lives and I was 25 years old when I finished university. I was a nice girl and I fell in love with a guy named Alex. He looked a lot like my brother and he had the same name as my brother. We got together and I was so happy when I was with him and it was because I felt like I was with my big brother.
2011-12-07 DAD said "no"
Hello my friend Mistir!
Now I'm going to tell you something terrible. When I turned 27, I got pregnant without knowing it. My parents didn't know about my boyfriend or my pregnancy. I was so scared that my parents would be so angry with me. I come from a culture with hard rules but I didn't follow them, I followed the rules of my heart.
My culture and my father were very strict, so I knew my father would say no. Me and my boyfriend went to my house and told almost everything to my dad. My father was so disappointed and angry. He said he expected much more from me. He denied and didn't want me to marry him, firstly he was poor and secondly he was white. My parents wanted me to marry someone of the same culture, color and religion and of course he had to be rich.
Hello my dear friend!
It was a long time ago. Sorry I couldn't keep telling. You probably understand me because you know what my life is like in prison, sometimes I get so stressed and usually I get really sick and lie in the hospital for several months or years.
My boyfriend and I were so disappointed when my dad forced me to choose between him and my boyfriend. I chose my father. I forgot to tell him I was pregnant and when I told my dad he passed out and fell on the floor. When he woke up, he beat me very hard and locked me in my room for two weeks. He decided to marry me off to a person who came from the same country as me. He was older than me and I don't understand how my father dared to do this to me.
I know my father didn't want to hurt me, but he probably did because he was very angry with me. He had also taken my cell phone so I wouldn't be texting with Alex. It was two weeks before my wedding so my dad gave me my phone back. When I opened my mobile there were 100 messages and 200 missed calls and it was from my boyfriend. Then I called him and told him everything. We planned how to solve the problem.
2013-07-02 The reason why I am in prison now
Hello dear Mistir!
We decided to flee from the US to Sweden on the same day as my wedding. My wedding dress was on the bed with the man's suit. He would wear a white shirt, black men's shoes, blue tie and black trousers. I would wear a white wedding dress and white heels. The shoes were on the floor near the big bed.
When it was 6:00 and I slowly opened the door and slowly started to walk forward. But then came the old man who was going to marry me. He came up behind me and pulled my hair and said:
- Are you trying to escape or not? Haaaaaaaa, haaaaaaaa, haaaaaaaa!!!
He hit me hard in the face and laughed the whole time. He called me a "whore" and I think it was because I was pregnant. He tried to hit me again with a knife on the table so I stabbed him in the stomach with the knife. I was afraid that I became a murderer and I ran from the house with a red and terrified face. My body and hands were shaking all the time and I almost couldn't stop running. The wedding clothes were left on the bed with blood in the big and scary house. It was my first time wearing a wedding dress and I loved the wedding dress, but what does it matter when that man wasn't the right person for me. I never wanted to let my parents down but it happened.
2014-01-05 The police
I ran as fast as I could to the place where I was supposed to meet my boyfriend. But the police stopped the car I was in and they took me to jail. The judge decided that I should spend 25 years in prison for killing a person. They had decided that I should spend life in prison for killing the man. But I was lucky because I had a good lawyer and the lawyer was my boyfriend.
My belly grew and I gave birth to a child and I named him Mickey. Mickey is my gift from God and he is the best gift I have ever received. But they took me back to prison. It couldn't stop me from love and I couldn't let my parents ruin my future, but I ruined my future with my own hands and only made it worse. I start to cry when I start thinking about everything that happened to me.
2018-09-07 Memory problem
Good evening Mistir!
There is also something that I didn't tell you and that is that I had some memory problems after all that happened. The day the police took me to jail, I fainted and forgot some things.
I forgot who I was. What I remember at that time was the war in my homeland, the long roads in the desert, people who died on the road, my brother's death, the scary man, hell and the scary sea. I was then in the hospital for 3 years but now I'm fine, thanks to my boyfriend Alex. I wish all this hadn't happened and I really want to live my old life. I want to play with my cute animals while feeding them and growing vegetables for my grandma. I want to live a new life but it will never happen after the death of my parents and my brother. I have learned a lot in life and one of them is to be happy with what you have. What I want to say is that you should not look for other things to be happy.
2020-11-09 MY GRANDFATHER
I have told almost everything about my life and I hope that now you understand why I wrote "dark life" in the title. You know what my grandfather used to say? My grandfather used to say:
- If someone said that he will give you 1,000 million money but that you will not wake up the next morning. You wouldn't take the money so that means it's so big that you're alive and breathing, so you should be happy and grateful that you're alive.
2022-07-06 My parents
I heard that my parents died and that my sister was married and had three children but I am very sorry that I was not with them when they were happy and when they were sad. I cannot describe my sad feelings. I was constantly trying to evoke feelings that I had when I was a child and when I was sitting next to my grandmother and my mother. If I could go back in time, I would want to live my old life.
Mickey is big now and Alex is not married because he is waiting for me. I heard that my parents regretted it and that they later learned that it doesn't matter what culture you have and where you come from. I also think it's the personality that matters and not your culture or color.
Today is my last day in prison and I am very happy. I want to see the sun shine, I want to breathe clean air, I want to eat my favorite food, I want to drink my favorite drink, I want to play like a child, I want to dance and sing, I want to ride a bike and fly like a free bird, I want to swing , I want to camp and barbecue with my family. I want to eat ice cream and swim, I want to hug my husband and my son with joy, I want to see my sister and her family and I also want to go to my parents' funeral and talk to them with joy so that they will be happy too. I am 51 years old now so I have time to enjoy life with my husband and son. I think now life will be bright for me.
Hello my best friend!
Do you know what I'm doing now? I am sitting with my son and my husband. I did everything I wanted. The sun is still shining brightly and it is very hot here and soon I will go for a swim before I turn red. As I said: life is different for different people and life teaches us all the time. Thanks to you Mistir, I wasn't bored because you were a friend who listened to me when I talked and wrote all the time. But I couldn't write every day and that was because I was often sick. Thank you Mistir and I always have you with me. My husband and son love you very much too.
GOODBYE DARK LIFE!