Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Uncle Omar

My grandfather was the glue that held my family together. With his death, his firstborn son, Omar was to take his place as the head of the family. Instead, he seemed to quickly unravel. My uncle was an intelligent and kind man when he wasn’t high and wrecking havoc around the house. A High School dropout, he didn’t work nor did he feel the need to. Most of his days were spent, roaming around town with his junky friends or lounging in his room, listening to Bob Marley and constantly getting high with money he sweet talked out of my grandmother, mother or aunt’s hands.
My uncle stole my innocence. He destroyed my childhood and raped my mother’s trust.
Maybe he thought that he would get away with it or that I was too young to ever remember. I have been starved, beat and left to sleep on a rotten mattress but nothing has hurt me more than being sexually assaulted, at five years old by my mother’s brother.
I never told him to stop, I was too scared. But it hurt, it still hurts. Being touched, being forced. I never told anyone because I was so ashamed.
When I was 8 months pregnant with my second child my mom, over the phone, innocently suggested that he be named after my pedophile uncle. After all, she said he was always so kind to me. He always gave me baths, bought me candy and walked me to school. I exploded. I tried to hold it in, but like food in an anorexic’s throat, it just wouldn’t go down. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The pain, the anger, the shame, the loneliness, through sobs and tears, I told her. I told her everything. I told her how much I hate him; how I wish he would die. A weight had been lifted, part of the elephant in the room, tackled.

We were the first in my neighborhood to have a Color TV and VCR player, courtesy of my dad and like most people in poor countries; one TV in the neighborhood is a TV for all. Our backyard turned into a movie theater that never emptied. One night, as we watched “La Vengeance Aux Deux Visages” (Return to Eden), Uncle Omar came home drunk and for no particular reason went into a dark rage. He stumbled his way into his tiny room, on the dilapidated section of the house, picked up his baseball bat and without warning, turned our beloved box into a pile of crushed plastic and broken glass. My usually pleasant, mother was livid. Not even my grandmother’s teary pleas could stop her from having him arrested. After 24 hours at the local commissary, he returned home. I was almost seven and in the first grade. Maybe his stint in jail had a positive impact on him because he stopped abusing me.
My uncle never married, never had children. He amounted to nothing. Today, he lives off of handouts from my grandmother. He still lives in my grandparents’ house, in the old middle class neighborhood junkies like him turned into a slum.
My dad was a hardworking man. Less than two years after leaving for New-York, he made enough money from selling T-shirts, knockoff bags and watches to buy my mom her dream house: a two bedroom house, less than a mile away from the Atlantic Ocean.
And again, it was time to move.

7 comments:

Analysez mes mots: c'est là où je me trouve! said...

Well! my english is not the best but, when i started reading the first post, i could'nt stop.
You're right! you have to write!
Let me just say: God bless you!!!

Souleymane said...

I read your comment yesterday about being sexually molested in xibar.net (I think it was you), and it touched me. Today, after reading your blog, I really feel your pain. I am sure that it must have been difficult for you to deal with this all these years.
There is not enough words to describe how I despise pedophiles...
Stay strong, and may Allah Guide you through these difficult times.

PS: By the way, I am a man living in Boston, MA.

Souleymane said...

I read your comment yesterday about being sexually molested in xibar.net (I think it was you), and it touched me. Today, after reading your blog, I really feel your pain. I am sure that it must have been difficult for you to deal with this all these years.
There is not enough words to describe how I despise pedophiles...
Stay strong, and may Allah Guide you through these difficult times.

PS: By the way, I am a married man living in Boston, MA.

claudia33396 said...

"Part of the elephant in the room, tackled," I love the way you worded that. It describes that situation of your life so well.

Very said...

The stories are beautifully written but I admit I am confused by the postings on your blog. I read a firs post about arriving in New York. The pos was dated n December I believebut the English used has nothing to do with I am reading now. Are there two people writing? The tone has also changed, I never thought the posts will turn so personal. I hope this is fiction, if not, I am very sorry for all the pain.

Ibrahima said...

It's not too late, your uncle Omar have to pay for his crimes. Go to the Police office and tell your story.
It's crucial!

Sayuri Jane said...

@Analysez: Thank you so much!

@Souleymane: It must have been someone else. Sexual abuse happens a lot in Senegal, people just don't talk about it because of Kersa, Soutoura and Mougn!

@Claudia: Thank you for reading!

@ Very: You must have read another blog. I started writting in January and no my life isn't fiction although at times I wish it were =)

@Ibrahima: I wish this was true but the justice system in Senegal is still lacking. My uncle has nothing to live for and at his death, i will be forgotten by the world as if he never even existed. I have accepted that he will never pay for his crimes, but he suffers from them today. Karma is avenging me.