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And the Rocks Cried Out
(For Safiyatu Hussaini)

By Effenus Henderson

Special to NigeriaCentral.com
USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston

 

The river water ran swiftly
Over the timeworn rock
Smoothing its jagged edges
Providing the key to open the jail's lock.

 

The currents are gaining strength
Around the world today
Timeworn rocks are awakening
Confronting the injustice Safiya might pay.

 God is looking closely
At the wrath targeted at her soul.
Getting raped and impregnated by a neighbor
Is getting her stoned I am told.

A rock awakens
And its voice audible and clear
Safiya's fate is upon us
Death is lurking very near.

 And the rock cries out!
Don't kill this baby's mother
Do you hear what I
Don't kill this baby's mother
Set her free using God's way.

I am told it is a price -- yes the penalty
She is buried from the waist down.
Stones are hurdled at her uncovered body
Striking her milk-filled breasts by everyone in town.

The stones thrown at her body
Bombard her face, eyes, and chin
Landing like pellets from a
As people stone her for an 'adulterous sin.'

 A mother is taken from the child
Created violently out of wedlock
Forced to pay the ultimate price.
As the perpetrator hides from the flying rock.

Is the price of Safiya's calamity
Worth death and a motherless child?
Can we stand by and witness

Or do we hurdle rocks of outrage for a while?

Let stones of support
Be thrown like a blanket of love
Creating waves of confrontation
Blessed by God's grace from above. 

And the rock cries out!

Don't kill this baby's mother
Do you hear what I say?
Don't kill this baby's mother

Set her free using God's way.

 Far away in a place called America
Another mother sentenced to life
For killing five of her children
What an irony amid Safiya's strife. 

Safiya also bore five children
The last child born of this violent rape
Yet she is being forced apart
By a Nigerian court full of red tape.

 Is custom and tradition
Worthy of such a human price?
Is Safiya's child to pay
For the sin committed that day? 

Let he who is without sin
Cast the first
Let he who is with sin
Feel Safiya's pain deep down to the bone.

And the rock cries out!
Don't kill this baby's mother
Do you hear what I
Don't kill this baby's mother

Set her free using God's way.


Henderson, an African-American who resides in the state of Washington wrote this poem on March 18, 2002, the day of Safiyatu's trial. He plans to write more poems for USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper.

SAFIYA GETS REPRIEVE FROM ISLAMIC COURT: Safiya Husaini, a Nigerian Muslim woman who had been convicted of adultery under Islamic law and sentenced to death by stoning has achieved a reprieve from a Sharia court in the country. The lady who was divorced in Sokoto when she had her young baby has drawn international interest from civil rights activists and the media. She said what seems a well-known point in northern Nigeria "Others have committed worse crimes, but because they are men and because they have influence in high places, they are not punished."Another Muslim woman, Amina Lawal, has been sentenced to die by a Sharia court at Bakori in Katsina State. She she confessed to having had a child while divorced. Sex and hypocrisy of Gendered Justice


SHARIA SHOWDOWN: Nigeria's government formally declares as illegal and discriminatory the action of 12 governors and state assemblies who instituted the Islamic Sharia law in their states. Godwin Kanu Agabi, Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, sent a letter stating "The fact that Sharia law applies to only Moslems or to those who elect to be bound by it makes it imperative that the rights of such persons to equality with other citizens under the constitution be not infringed. A Moslem should not be subjected to a punishment more severe than would be imposed on other Nigerians for the same offence." He argued that "Equality before the law means that Moslems should not be discriminated against". And in a pointed manner, he addressed the states' chief executives: "As an elected governor, I am certain that you would not tolerate such disparity in the allocation of punishment. It is not only against the Constitution but also against equity and good conscience." Nigeria's president retired General Olusegun Obasanjo had faced criticisms for avoiding for 2 years dealing with the issue, from such distinguished Nigerians as Prof. Wole Soyinka. Obasanjo recently told the BBC that Sharia controversies and arguments about its sanctions were issues of individual rights, and that those who felt aggrieved or harrassed by the Sharia laws should go to court.
Implications of Obasanjo's late wake up to the challenges of Sharia in Nigeria. By Ken Okorie
Sharia-related killings and carnage in Kaduna reenact deadly prologue to Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. By Chido Nwangwu.
Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu
On the
Islamic Influence in Nigeria. By Enyimba, as coordinated by Dr. M.O Ene and Dr. D. Ozokwelu
Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu


TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.




DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE? By Chido Nwangwu
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa


Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
Steve Jobs extends
digital magic

Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam

Lifestyle Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe

Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.


Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfricaonline editorial board member, Ken Okorie. This commentary appears courtesy of our related web site, NigeriaCentral.com
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
NEWS INSIGHT
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with
democracy.
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.

Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS

DEMOCRACY WATCH
How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By Prof. Mobolaji Aluko

INSIGHT
When a Liar Tells the Truth. By Tarty Teh, USAfricaonline.com columnist in Washington D.C



Black Hawk Down and the Return to Mogadishu
By Ndubisi Obiorah
Africans need for a change in
attitude toward elections. By Abdullahi Usman
Igbos and Lagos' politics of 'taxation without representation' is dangerous, unacceptable. By Joe Igbokwe
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

Why Bush should focus on
dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide


Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson