Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Weapon Of Words---The Obit of Mr. Njawe

"A word can be a weapon, and I believe that with the word...we can build a better world and make happier people."

The above quote is from the obituary of Mr. Njawe, which appeared in "The Washington Post" several weeks ago.

Mr Njawe was an African journalist who wrote his values with uncommon courage. He was an independent writer, editor, publisher and foremost, a fighter for truth in the written word in a country that punished such open, steadfast dedication to freedom of the press.He started Cameroon's first independent newspaper "The Messenger" in which he wrote openly about government corruption and abuses. He received many death threats and was arrested more than 100 times.

I am in awe of such courage, such fierce dedication to freedom of the press and to the truth as he saw it. The world is surely better for his having lived in it. His death in a car accident at age 53 is a loss for all of us.

His quote goes on "....So why give up while duty still calls? No one will silence me, except the Lord, before I achieve what I consider as a mission in my native country, in Africa and why not, in the world."

His life inspired me to write this poem.

Elegy to Pius Njawe

You were called to


with weapons of words,

aimed over and over,

arrows to truth,

the courage of a


silenced by death,

while we are still