Postcard from Freetown – Where are the fathers?

I woke up this morning to a wet Freetown, the monsoon rain is finally here. We will be experiencing three months of it and my favourite part is the emergence of fresh fruits in the city. Fresh fruits from “up-line”, a Sierra Leonean lingo for rural area or village will be readily available everywhere.

Over the weekend amazing things happened. I got a surprise call from my “aunt” in the UK informing me that my foster-mother is in town and it was like a dream come true because I have dreamed for this day to come for over fifteen years and finally it is here. Nevertheless as I sat reminiscing on the memory of my childhood and the love I receive from my adopted mother Miss Doherty it brought to light the thought of my son Malakai growing up without me presently and my want to be part of his life. Heartbreaking I must say but then we have today in Freetown so many kids out there without fathers, no hero or someone to teach them the tenets boyhood and manhood. My heart sunk and I decided to bleed on the canvas again. Writing this postcard was hard because this is something I am very passionate about.

I have realized that one of the greatest deceptions in our society presently today is the notion that men are hurting over women. There are exceptions,
but you find that we are not grieving over our mothers or our wives. Majority of us men miss our fathers. It is from them that we most often draw our strength, our weakness, our pleasure and our unbearable pain. Somebody has stolen our heroes and they are nowhere to be found. Some left the day we were born and they never looked back ever since. Some are there but are practically vegetables like my dad, he is as good as dead but then I still love him because he is my father.

Absentee fathers and deadbeat dads have littered this nation with confused
sons and angry husbands. Millions of bitter and abandoned young men are growing into men without mentors. How can we expect them to touch hurts and needs in others like “real men” when their own deep hurts have never been healed?

There is a void of longing and brokenness in the men of my generation; it has spawned a raging flood of conflicts, promiscuity, perversion and domestic violence. Broken and hurting sons are asking their fathers for a deposit of true manhood, but their fathers are bankrupt and no one has made a real deposit in them! I ask where are the fathers?

It is painful to admire someone who isn’t there. A one-sided love affair is never fulfilling. Empty arms do not offer a heart-warming, reassuring hug.  Empty arms only reflects the emptiness of a son who took the risk to open himself up, only to be rejected and discarded on the abandoned porch of a broken home. Why was daddy not there to help fix the home with mummy?

Our young men have grown weary of playing sports before empty bleachers. As toddlers, they carefully colored pictures and proudly brought them home, but Dad wasn’t there to admire their work and reward them with a father’s priceless praise. Now, at the end of their hope and childhood, they have thrown away their coloring books. They have angrily punctured their footballs and bought guns and in Sierra Leone the rebel war was an excuse
for some to show this anger. They have grown tired of dancing to haunting melody of manhood alone now they are abusers and rapists.

Our young men are dying in anger and pain, wondering “what did I do to drive my daddy away?” A father is an image of a young man’s destiny. A living testimony of what time may bring to pass. Dad is our first definition of masculinity. His absence leaves us desperately looking for someone else to “fill in the blanks” If the church, the mosque, your spiritual affiliation does not do it, the gangs and drug lords, will do it. Empty sons will always look for someone or something to fill in the blanks left by the father who isn’t there and don’t intend to ever be there.

Well – tailored dark suits and vibrant silk ties cannot drape the gaping void of the empty blanks on the broken hearts of men. Even the most voluptuous of fast-paced and lace-clad women cannot console the anguish of masculine tears blocked and cries muffled. Broken men try to mask their hurts behind empty emblems of success, but hidden behind those frail facades are screaming hearts bound in a forced silence. They all share a common thread of desperate need, a familiar hollowness that traces their broken places and the jagged edges of nearly emasculated men.

A crimson river drips unchecked from the wounded hearts and hidden places of modern men. We hide behind our masquerades and attempted acts of chivalry, then like little boys, we brag about sex, though we have never known true love. We long for a tender touch, but are afraid of tenderness. We want to be strong enough to be leaned on, yet tender enough to relate to the pain of others. Can the wounded heal the hurting? I ask where are the fathers?

Where are the fathers?

@DanteBello on Twitter.

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One Response to “Postcard from Freetown – Where are the fathers?”

  1. @maromza Says:

    Your writing is on another level

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