Sometimes I think my life sucks. Then I read about shit like this, and I remember that nothing in my life will ever suck this bad.
KAMPALA, Uganda – Stephen Batte works in a quarry under the blazing sun, chipping rocks into gravel with a homemade hammer. It’s tiring, boring and dangerous.
Stephen is 9 years old, and has been on the rock pile since he was 4.
“Life has always been hard here,” he whispers, carefully positioning a sharp rock before striking it with well-practiced accuracy. “But since my mother died, things have been much harder.”
He remembers her when she was showing him, as a toddler, how to crush stones.
“I sat next to her and she showed me how to hold the hammer. It’s not easy and at first I would hit my fingers so I cried a lot. It made my mum very sad but she said we had to earn money to buy food.”
Now he works alone at the quarry and spends his meager earnings on food. He sleeps in the crumbling mud hut he used to share with his parents and baby sister. He says his stepfather abandoned them after their mother’s death. The sister, 8 months old, was put in an orphanage.
“If I stay in the house I feel lonely and I fear the memories,” he explains. “So even though I’m tired when I leave the quarry, I go and play football with my friends.”
“I wish I could be helped,” he said, picking at a large scab on his knee, “but I cannot see another life for me.”
Whatever the worst shit you have to deal with in your life is, this kid would gladly trade you. Really.
And will somebody just fucking kill Joseph Kony, please? Really? Can we just get somebody to take care of this, please? Killing people doesn’t solve anything most of the time, but I think this might really be the exception.
The Ugandans don’t need relief aid — they need somebody to come with a lot of guns and slaughter that evil, wretched motherfucker and his inner circle. Because for every kid who gets helped, he kidnaps and brainwashes ten more — after he’s killed their families, of course. And that’s just the boys — the girls he turns out to get sportfucked in the back of the camp eight times a day. That’s until they’re too AIDS-ridden or too broken to be used anymore. Then they get beaten to death. Which makes sense, right? Why waste a bullet on a thirteen year old whore with syphilis? Easier to bash their skulls in with a rock.
How’s about we get our boys and girls out of Iraq and send ’em to do something honorable and right for a change? Like killing this contemptible cocksucker (or bringing him to trial, as a distant second option) and helping the children he’s turned into monsters and whores?
Seems like a better goal than whatever the fuck it is we think we’re accomplishing in Iraq — bringing freedom to a bunch of people who seem less interested in Western democracy and more interested in actively hacking each other to death over the vastly important question of who got to be Head Mullah In Charge after Mohammed took the big walk. All in the name of an unwinnable war on terror, and does anybody even really believe that, still? Stupid people, I guess.
You want to fight terror? Fight Stephen Batte’s terror. That’s a fight you can win. Help him get out of that rock pile. Help his brothers and countrymen to end this terror that’s been going on since long before those fuckheads flew planes into the World Trade Center.
Stop thinking about how much it costs to fill up your fucking car and how scared you were when you realized that bombs can go off on American soil as easily as anywhere else. Quit voting horrific men into positions of power. Quit making fun of Bono — he may be an earnest goofball, but at least he’s trying, and that’s more than I can say for most people.
Help Stephen Batte. Because he can’t help himself. Because you can do it, by writing to your Congressperson and Senator. And because it’s a good thing to do.