Once My Country, Always My Country

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
this story exposes the problems of political ideologies and displays a real situation.

Submitted: April 15, 2017

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Submitted: April 15, 2017

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Chapter 1

My name is Emilia. Days after being born, I sailed with my parents out of my country, but I did not know I was living my future. Since my parents fell in love, they were different from the rest. All of their friends partied, but they stayed at home. Their love for each other was very deep; they did everything together. They read together, ate together, laughed together, loved together. Grandma always used to tell me she thought a string attached their hearts, a string of eternal love. When they met, their eyes melted in a pool of tenderness and affection. Three years after, my father got on his knees and asked my mother to be his companion, and make the string last forever. Tears wet her cheeks while my father heard one word; “yes.” The day of their wedding, my father gave my mother a special ring.

On the back, it said, “thank you for returning the color to my life.”

Years after, when my mother was coming home, she told my father, “Edward, it’s a girl.” They cried of joy and jumped of happiness. Every day, they would go shopping for clothes, cradles, car seats, and bottles. Excitement filled their hearts, and they counted the days for my arrival. Finally, on October the third, the doctor heard my cries. When my mother held me in her arms she looked at my father and uttered through her tears, “she’s beautiful.”

 I had the eyes of my father. Those intense brown almonds that were devoted to my mother. A week after my birth, along with my parents, I went home. The moment my father opened the door, I felt a wind of humbleness, care, and compassion blow on my face.

A day after coming home, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents came to meet me.

“Goodness gracious Emilia! You are as beautiful as your grandmother!” Exclaimed Grandma Nicky.

She held me, gave me kisses, and told me she loved so many times I can’t remember. Every minute, another person crossed the door. They all fell in love with my tenderness. My family chatted for hours in the living room, while I watched from my cradle. Though I was not yet a month old, I knew what family was, and I knew mine was a spectacular one. In the middle of the conversation, my father heard a knock.

“Did you hear the knock?” He questioned.

“I most certainly did; who is here at midnight?” said my aunt.

My father, trembling, walked towards the door and asked, “who is it?” “The police, open the door.”

Terrified, he did as he was asked. Before he could proclaim, he felt his hands tied together. He turned around and saw his wife and his newborn baby being carried to a police truck. He then was thrown in there as well. Without articulating a word, the driver took us to the ship port.

“Get off, you clumsy people. Get out of my country” the driver screamed.

“Excuse me, out of the country?” Asked my father.

The driver responded desperately, “The government doesn’t want you here; they say you oppose them too much. Now get on that stupid ship and go!”

My father jumped off the car, helped my mother off, and carried me. We bumped into a long bearded man that pushed us into an old, cranky ship.

There were millions of people: black, white, yellow, Catholic, Muslim.

“Good morning, my name is Captain Millen, and this ship will travel to Argentina, where there will be an army waiting for you.”

My mother was confused. She had never been told about this; she didn’t know what was happening. Every person protested, but all were ignored. There was nothing else to do. A man who seemed to be twenty years old escorted us to our room. There was one bed and one couch. The bed sheets were brown, full of dust. The bathroom had no water, and there was a giant hole in the wall. The other rooms were the same: broken, forgotten.

Days passed, then weeks; months. Every day, my father would walk up to the terrace and acknowledge nature. Ahead of him stood the blue, dense, eternal ocean. There seemed to be no life in it. In the months that passed, my father never saw a fish, a dolphin, or a shark.The sea was empty; it looked like if it was sad. Every day was the same. We woke up, ate breakfast, played a little, watched the sea, and then slept. It was a boring life. One with no purpose.

One day, everything seemed normal. The ocean was empty, the people were sad. Suddenly, I felt like a truck passed under the ship. It happened again and again. When my father went to the terrace in order to see what was going on, he saw the sea differently. It was not still; the waves took over the tranquility. Everything started to fall, and the ship moved like a roller coaster.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem. There is an upcoming storm, and this ship can not resist it. We will go through another path; a longer one. But we will be safe.”

 Nobody could do anything, as this decision would save their lives. As seconds passed, the sky got darker, and the sea angrier. It was already late, so everybody went to sleep. It was about three in the morning when an abrupt wave hit the ship.

The bed slid down the room, and the captain screamed, “Emergency, emergency, the ship is sinking. Put on your life vests.”

Enraged my father walked up to the Captain and pushed him off the wheel.

“I will die here because of your fault! You put me on this ship! I wanted to stay in my country!”

The ship turned over. My mother was holding me, and my father was holding my mother’s hand. I knew it was the end of my life. I felt the cold water on my legs. I waited to die, but nothing seemed to happen.

Suddenly, I heard my dad yell, “we have been saved! We are under the ship!”

Fortunately, we had ended under the center of the ship, and thus the deck made a roof.

“Hello, is somebody there?” exclaimed my mother.

She heard a voice that said, “Hey!!!

“We have been saved!”

Immediately, my father swam towards the noise and touched an arm. There was a little boy about five years old that had also been saved. We were safe there, but eventually, the ship would sink, and we would drown with it.

There was nothing left to do. We all knew our lasts breaths were soon to come. With nothing to do, my mother began to talk to the boy. His name was Allan.

“Where is your family Allan?” asked my mother.

With tears on his cheeks, Allan replied: “they probably died.”

My father consoled Allan, when he felt something bump his foot. He reached down into the icy water and sensed something. A giant wood plank. The look on his face told me something positive was about to happen.

“We can use this plank to roll over the ship,” he cried.

He dragged the big plank along the water and placed it besides the edge of the boat. Along with my mother, he pushed it into the water, and beneath the ship. Together, they put all their weight on it. “Splash.” The plank lifted and the ship separated from the water. The heavy, old, boat turned around and bounced on the ocean.

“We made it, we are saved!” yelled my mother.

She put her feet on my father’s shoulders and slowly and with difficulty, crawled up the ship. Then, my father carried Allan and I up the ship with him. The wood of the deck darkened, and the beds were soaked in water. Fortunately, the bright sun shined above us, and within days, the boat dried up completely. There was no remaining soul of the accident. It was only Allan, my mom, my dad and I on the ship. All the food was gone too. Every day, at dawn, my father and Allan would jump into the water and catch fish. Since I was a baby, my mother would have to smash the fish and then give it to me. My favorite was Pargo, though other types were also delicious.

Every day, we did what we could to make our life on the boat worth it. Though it was a difficult experience, the ship holds many of my memories. In it, I met my eternal brother, Allan. In it, I learned to say “mom,” to walk. I grew up in that boat. The time we spent there was much longer than we expected, as the motor of the ship was ruined, and our only guide was the wind. I had ten birthdays, and all we could see was infinite blue. There was no sight of green.

 

 

Chapter 2

In an ordinary day, at two in the afternoon, my father and Allan were picking up fish, when they heard a strange noise. The wind carried screams. Allan looked up to the sky. Seagulls. He remembered what his teacher had told him. “The presence of seagulls indicates there is land.”

“Land! There is land!” Allan shrieked.

My mother ran to the terrace and called my father.

“Land!” He repeated.

Immediately, we all dived. In a line, we swam towards the island. My heart beat fast and I had a hard time breathing. I had swum ten kilometers. When we got there, we could not believe our eyes. Beauty took over our sight. There were all kinds of exotic flowers and animals. It seemed like there was multicolor rain, and it had colored the place. However, there was no sign of a colony. My father stepped ahead, and we followed him. We see anyone. That day, we found giant leaves on the floor and used those as bed sheets for the night. In the morning, we woke up to the sound of the wind that seemed like a conversation. That day, we decided to explore such an incredible place. Allan and I made new friends: monkeys, parrots, snakes, and frogs. They helped us to find food and a shelter. The island, which we called Penigia, became our home. Though my family and I were the only ones in it, we felt accompanied by the animals and nature.

In daylight, we would look for resources, and at night, we would play and sleep. I loved living in Penigia alone with my family, but this did not last forever. On September tenth, of 1996, we saw a cruise arrive. From it, came out 23,48 million people. I thought they were coming to harm us, but they proved me wrong. They had come to Penigia for the same reason we did. These people, who were from all around the world, had all been exiled out of their country. The difference was that they were brought here on purpose, not like us who ended up in Penigia by mistake. These people looked trustworthy; except one. His name was Dr. Andrés Ruttenburg. Dr. Ruttenburg was always the boss, and ambition flowed in his veins. When he looked at me, I felt intimidated. He had black hair and had a horrible wart on his forehead. His voice was strong and deep, and when he talked, it seemed that he was giving commands. In a crowd of people, Dr. Rottenburg could be easily found as he had an incredible amount of charisma, but to me, it was a negative one. When I thought of the devil, I thought of him. Of that ugly face that arose terror in me.

I knew he was not normal, and so warned the people.

“Be careful with Dr. Ruttenberg,” I asserted to the people on the island, but I was ignored.

“You are paranoid, and think everything around is there to harm you,” an old age man explained to me.

I sighed.

Nobody believed me, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Days now were not as exciting as they used to be. With so many people, there had to be order, and  I had no free time to play with the animals. Everyone on the island had a job: either it be a doctor, an engineer, or a housewife. Before, when we were alone, we had no economic problems as we did not have to buy anything. Nature would just give it to us. Nevertheless, with a bigger population, this changed. Penigia had an incredible amount of petroleum, and so the people that had recently arrived decided to make it the base of its economy. In order to find this oil, they needed to dig the land and ocean. This was very hard and took a lot of time, and the people that had the most petroleum were considered the wealthy. As a result, groups called Coliness would sneak out at night into the home of the wealthy, and steal the petroleum.

On an afternoon, a horrible crime occurred. Ethan carried a giant shovel on his shoulder and walked towards the spot where it was said the most oil laid. With all his strength, he pulled up the shovel and dug it in the dirt. He pushed it downwards for it to reach steeper inside. When Ethan calculated it was far enough, he jumped on the handle and threw all the dirt backward. Then, he placed an oil pump on the ground, and it suctioned the petroleum. He was returning home when he felt a push. It was the most well-known criminal, Manius Otorganeous. Manius stabbed Ethan and stole the oil. This is an example of how people destroyed each other for wealth; for money; for power.

The wealthy people became hungry for power, and this brought even more chaos. I could not step out of my shelter because there was fighting. It was dangerous to go outside. The moment I crossed the outside door, I could smell metal. Blood. The streets turned red and the houses locked. The daily newspaper was always full of assassination commentary, and how the nation feared an upcoming dictator.

Soon, schools opened. When I went to school, I had to hide my jewels because if not, Dr. Ruttenberg would steal them. On a Friday afternoon, I opened the door of my house and found Allan and my parents sitting on the couch, staring at the TV.

“What happened? Is there something wrong?” I asked desperately.

“Look Emilia! Next Thursday there is going to be an election. Dr. Ruttenberg and Ethan Attemture are going to compete for the presidency of Penigia.”

“What! Why? They are both ambitious men!” I yelled with disgrace.

My mother put her hand on my back, and in a soft voice, explained, “ambitious men are the ones that always get the power. They get to control everything even when they shouldn’t. Things in life are not fair, as everyone wishes they were.”

I sighed.

The elections were going to take place in three months, and by then I could start to analyze the type of government. I read articles about various historical governments. These types included democracies, dictatorships, oligarchies, and many more. After studying these governments, I began to look at the people who controlled them. I interpreted their characteristics and personality. Unfortunately, I found out that Dr. Ruttenberg and Hitler had similar peculiarities. This terrified me. Hitler was a man that did not give a voice to the people and did whatever he wished. A week passed, and my heart beat to the speed of a race car. The nerves in my veins got more intense every day, and the terror shortened my breath.

Finally, the day I most feared came. December 6, 1998. The day of the elections. At six in the morning, my alarm went off. I got up, took a shower, and got dressed. I put on my fanciest clothes. When I opened the door of my room, nobody was awake, so I decided to go witness the elections alone. I grabbed the keys to my house and headed to the stadium where the speeches were to be given. It was about then kilometers away from home, and thus I had to walk a long distance. I got there just in time. The speeches would start at noon, and I got there at eleven fifty-nine. I rushed through the crowd to get a first-row seat. First, came up Ethan Attemture. He was a selfish man that only talked about himself. It was clear that if he became president, corruption would explode in Penigia. Next, came Dr. Ruttenberg. He disgusted me. His speech only promised what the people wanted to hear; what they had been asking for.

Recently, the peasants had been complaining that they did not have enough bread, and so the first thing Dr. Rottenburg stated was, “I will give bread to the poor!”

Everyone cheered. But I knew this man was a populist socialist. The only thing he would achieve in our nation was a disaster.

He ended with a quote that said, “there is no turning back.”

The hair on my arms stood.

 

 

Chapter 3

I waited and waited, but the election results wouldn’t show up in the news. Everything the television said was “Dr. Ruttenburg and  Ethan Attemture compete for the presidency, who will win?” This was of no help. I wanted to know the future of my country. I sat on the sofa for hours, but the television's message wouldn't change. The statement stayed the same. I was so sleepy, that I did not notice when the moon passed through the sky, and the sun arose.  

 I opened my eyes. The bright light of the television shined on my face, and through my blurry vision, I noticed different words. I blinked. My heart stopped. “Dr. Ruttenberg; the new president of Penigia.” I could not believe it! How could there be such ignorant people that voted for this man? It was impossible. I ran to my room and put a jacket on. Sprinting, I went to the newspaper section and took a paper. I stood in the middle of the street admired. What the television showed was right, Dr. Rottenburg had been elected as the new president. My mind went blank, and I forgot who I was, what was my purpose of existence. My world dropped and cracked. I knew this was the end of me; the end of my country.

With tears on my cheeks, I walked home. I sobbed as I opened the door, and encountered my family sitting on the couch, watching the television. Their faces were full of sorrow. Just like me, they knew the future. Tumbling, I got near my father and looked at him in the eyes.

“Can you believe these stupid people voted Dr. Ruttenburg as president?” I asked enraged.

Allan, to make me feel better told me, “people in the world are not perfect; they make mistakes. Let’s hope they learn from this one.”

I went to my room and sat down in my bed. Putting my hand on my forehead, I began to cry. My tears formed seas and rivers. I couldn't stop. Misery laid in me, and there was no way to get it out. I spent weeks locked up in my room; isolated. When I was younger, I thought that I was brave, but that day I discovered I was not. My lack of courage kept me from confronting the conflicts of Penigia. Dr. Rottenburg's inauguration ceremony took place three months after his election. That day, my world crumbled. I knew Penigia would come to an end.

I was right. Each second, my nation deteriorated. The line of quality went down, never up. Penigia’s economical status lowered, and to the world, it became garbage. At first, people thought that Dr. Rottenburg was a good man that would bring equality to the island; especially the peasants. During his campaign, he had promised them all they wished: bread, shelter, money. These people had no education, and so they did not have the ability to analyze the purpose of him becoming powerful. On the other hand, I knew his intentions. I was certain that Dr. Rottenburg was going to do everything for his benefit, and wouldn’t take the people into a count.

Effectively, this was what happened. In his first months of presidency, he did all he had proposed, but then, everything changed. Dr. Ruttenburg nationalized the most precious jewel of Penigia, petroleum. This held back the economy and implanted agony into the people’s lives. When I went outside to walk, I spotted frowns in every corner, but smiles were barely seen. The island had gone from being an amazing exotic place to one full of discomfort and grief. There came a day where I stopped buying the newspapers as all they said was the percentage of people killed by day. My life became a prison. I felt like bars stopped happiness from approaching me, and they kept squalor within me. The days I lived were in black and white; there was never a colored one.

Dr. Rottenburg kept making changes that only made a negative impact. It seemed impossible for there to be positivity at those times. My childhood was thrown into the well of crisis, and there was not a moment I enjoyed. Soon, lack of jobs began to spread around the nation. People’s pockets emptied, and before they could blink, they did not have enough money for their kids to have a good education. I became depressed. I wouldn’t talk to anybody, and I quit school for a year. There just wasn’t enough motivation for me to be successful. When I was little, I was told that life was a story and that no matter the obstacles, I had to focus on the happy ending. This protocol was easy to follow when I was glad to live, but now, I just wanted to die. My days had become restricted, and everywhere I went, there was danger.

A week after my fourteenth birthday, a tragedy occurred. I was sitting on the bench that stood on the porch of my house when I heard a noise behind me. I thought it was the trees rustling against the wind. Ignoring the noise, I stayed on the bench and watched the cars pass by. Suddenly, I heard something fall inside my house. Immediately, I surged to my feet and ran inside.  

“Mom! Dad! Are you okay?” I hollered, but there was no answer.

Fearful, I advanced in the direction of my parent's room. “Creeeeaaaaaak.” I opened the door. In front of me were two men in green, camouflage uniforms that help my parents as prisoners.

“Let them go!! Let them go!!.” I cried.

They didn’t even pay attention to me. With tears running down their faces, they were forced out the door. The men put them in a car and drove away. I was out of breath. My parents were gone, my life was gone, I was gone. I ran to my room and opened the closet. In the upper right corner, was an old, black, gun. It was my grandfather’s. He was a policeman, and this used to be his room, so he left it there. When I grabbed the gun, I felt powerful. Slowly, I moved my arm to my head, put my finger on the trigger, and closed my eyes.

“Emilia! What are you doing? Are you out of your mind?”  I heard a voice screech.

It was Allan. He had just got from school, which I no longer went to. Allan had no idea of what had just happened. When I told him, his cheeks turned white, and his chest stopped rising.

“Mom and Dad? No! This can’t be! Mom? Dad? I love you! Where are you?.” He bawled desperately.

I felt the same way. We both ran out of the house into the lethal world. Every person that we saw, we asked if they had seen our parents. Lamentably, nobody had heard of them. The clock marked midnight, and there was no sight of them.

“Well, Allan, these are the consequences of injustice,” I told him

“I know, but it's just… it's just… not fair!.” Allan moaned.

I hugged him, and we went home. At night, before going to sleep, I kneeled down on the floor and prayed.

“Dear God,

I ask of you that you bring peace and justice to this country.

That you find a solution for the horror and paranoia.

Please guide my parents out of any problems they might be facing, so that they can return safely.

Give Allan and me strength to continue fighting.

Make Dr. Rottenburg realize the damage he has done to the world so that he can change.

My lord, as a favor bring tranquility to my heart, and joy to my life.

I thank you for the privileges I have.

I am grateful to have a roof to live under, and a family to accompany my heart,

and I believe that with your blessing, I will be able to see Mom and Dad again.

I would be eternally thankful if you complied with my wishes.

I love you.”

-Emilia

 

 

Chapter 4

There is one person I knew never would fail me. God. I believed in him. I knew that he would help me overcome this anguish. Allan and I never gave up. We kept looking for our parents. The moment the sun arose; at about five in the morning, we would quickly eat breakfast, wash our teeth, and go out searching. The way we thought to be more effective was to put posters on trees that explained the situation and knock on doors. We had hope that one day, someone would say they had seen them, but this day never seemed to come.

While we had the case of our parents, there were many other conflicts going on in Penigia. Each second, the inflation grew, and it came to be uncontrollable. Likely, people were tired of Dr. Rottenburg’s tyranny. In order to express their displeasure, the citizens would go out to the streets, carrying signs that said  “Out Dr. Rottenburg!,” and “No More Violence!.” In these protests, Dr. Ruttenburg and his people would throw lachrymatory bombs that were made of unhealthy gas that would make people lose their sight, and sometimes faint.

These demonstrations of objections continued over the years, but there was no change. This implied that the government was not open to opposition, and was not willing to accept disputes. Dr. Ruttenburg and his supporters wanted everything for themselves. He wanted to be powerful and did not care how much the people had to suffer for him to achieve it. I remember that in third grade I was taught that I dictatorship was where one man had all the power, and did not share it.” Dr. Rottenburg had all the characteristics of one. This scared me.

It was usually extremely difficult to take power away from a dictator, and it was apparent that this was the situation in Penigia. Dr. Ruttenburg's government was deteriorating the island, and if he would stay in office for eternity, everything would stop functioning. I could not let this happen. I had to do something. Consequently, Allan and I started informing people that we were disposed to take action and do something. Everybody agreed with us, except for those who supported Dr. Ruttenburg. After a month, we were able to form a group of opposites, that had about thirty people. In the meetings, we would talk about what steps were necessary to take in order to improve the island’s economic and social situation.

 “Maybe we could make more protests.”

“Or we could get more people together.”

“We could also raise awareness.”

“And we could tell people why Dr. Rottenburg is bringing negativity.”

Like this, many ideas emerged. Some were of common interest, others were rejected. The problem was that the government wouldn't permit any of them. If we tried to out to the streets, the soldiers would come out and hurt people. It was clear that there could not be a solution without violence.

“This is not possible, there has to be something Dr. Rottenburg accepts,” I told the people of the committee.

“I agree, but I don’t think there is one. Dr. Ruttenburg is simply too ambitious to allow it.” A man replied.

“It is very difficult indeed, but nothing is impossible.” Andrea expressed.

She was a very optimistic, strong, and independent women. Andrea always found a response to a question and a clarification to a problem. There was never something that she couldn’t fix. Every time we failed to bring change to Penigia, she would motivate the whole group by saying, “It’s now.” This quote inspired us to take actions at the moment, and not wait until the island is destroyed. She was the reason for our commitment and perseverance.

As a community of positive thinkers, we devoted many hours to our nation’s success. It was impossible to achieve our goal of overthrowing Dr. Ruttenburg alone, and so there were many people that would support us without having the necessity to attend the meetings. Penigia’s economic and social position was on the floor. Even the people who had voted for Dr. Rottenburg felt repentant. They said they used to believe all the promises he made, but now they felt guilty for the destruction of their country.

“I’m sorry, I just didn’t know…” a forty-year-old woman told me.

Empathetic to what she was going through, I responded, “it’s okay. You didn’t know what Dr. Ruttenburg was going to do. I know you tried to do the best.”

“Well, yeah. I hope the country forgives me.” She expressed through her frown

Trying to make her feel better, I told her, “of course, it is not your fault.”

Like this, there were many other people that thought Penigia was going to dismantle because of them.

In a house, three miles away from mine, lived a man that did not excuse his decision when voting on December 6, 1998. His house was decorated with signs that said “Dr. Rottenburg is a coward, a liar!! Out! Out! Out!.” His name was Bloch. Bloch was terribly enraged to see what Dr. Ruttenburg had done to the island, and he thought it was all his fault.

“I voted for him. I don’t deserve to live,” he told his wife.

On a Saturday Morning, Block went to the most well-known meat store in town. He ordered a beef for two people, and while the chef turned around, he crawled under the table and started the knife from him. He ran home and locked himself in his room. Shaking, he put the pointy knife on his throat, and a red drop touched the floor. His eyes went white, and his lips turned purple. He was dead.

When his wife heard the body fall, she ran to him.

“Blochhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What have you done? Why?  Why?” She yelled

Scared of the screams, all the neighbors arrived at the house and were frightened to witness the scene.

A little girl who saw Bloch go to work every day explained to Marina, Bloch’s wife,

“I heard him telling his friend that he would kill himself because he had voted for Dr. Rottenburg, and thought it was his fault how Penigia is crumbling.”

Marina was shocked.

“How could he? But, I told him it was okay.” She whispered.

Marina formed ponds, lakes, and oceans of tears. The sorrow and grief on her face made her look like an old, wrinkled lady. Like this, there were many other situations of self-harm and suicide due to the mistake of voting for Dr. Rottenburg.

Penigia became a place for torture, agony, and despair. In my memory lays the moment when I set foot on this island. That moment, I thought my life would be one full of joy, and excitement, but I was wrong. When I woke up, I never smiled, and when I went outside, all I saw were people marching. The marches brought an uncontrollable agony to my life. The citizens became an army of Dr. Ruttenburg, and we had no voice. Whatever he commanded, we followed, and our lifestyle depended on his will.

“Dangerous areas” were no longer existent as everywhere I went, there was a risk that I could get assaulted, killed, or kidnapped. At first, many people told me stories about this, but I didn’t believe them. However, on a Wednesday evening, I experienced it myself. I was walking to the supermarket when I felt somebody pull my shirt.

“Hey! Who is it?” I screamed.

There was no answer. Suddenly, a man put his hand on my mouth and forbid me to talk. He took me outside the supermarket.

With anger in his voice, he hollered, “give me your watch!.”

He held a gun next to my head, so I gave him the watch. He left, and I stood there, in the middle of the street. My heart beat fast and my breaths were short. I was terrified. Since that moment, I knew Penigia had lost its reforms and justice. Something had to be done.

 

 

Chapter 5

On April 11 of 2002, the biggest protest took place. I was sleeping in my cozy, and warm bed when I heard the radio. “There has been a coup!.” Immediately, I jumped to my feet and turned the TV on.

“What is happening Allan?” I asked

Allan was just as confused as I was, and so he replied, “I don’t know. Dr. Ruttenburg plans on making a disaster in Penigia.”

Rapidly, we both put on our coats and opened the door. Everyone was punching each other, and there were soldiers arresting people. It was chaos. I tried to join the protest, but I had to return home because there were so many toxic chemicals that it was hard for me to breathe. At home, I watched the TV the whole day so that I could be informed of what was happening without having to be in the lethal areas of the march.

Sitting on the couch, next to Allan, made me remember the day I met him. When we were under the ship and my mom heard the voice of a kid. That day, my parents were with me, and I had no reason to be sad. Now, I had a million reasons to kill myself. I looked out the window. The streets were red, and the air was black. The crowd was full of frowns and sobs. Children did not believe in magic. Parents didn’t believe in their children. Nobody believed anything. Except, everyone believed Penigia would come to an end any minute, and everyone would die in the prisons of Dr. Rottenburg.

From that day on, people remained in their houses all day. They just went out to go to the supermarket. The citizens of Penigia tried to isolate from the underworld. The underworld that Dr. Rottenburg had created. I didn’t go to school anymore, but soon, Allan stopped going too. His school, as well as everything else on the island, became a dictatorship. He had no influence on the grade he got; it all depended on if the teacher liked him or not. It was horrible. My parents had been taken away, my freedom had been taken away, my life had been taken away. I grew to be thirty years old, and this communist government remained in power. My hair went from being bright brown to dark black. My skin looked pale regularly, and I didn’t even bother to cut my nails. Why take the time to look pretty when I didn’t even have a life? It was not worth it. By the time I was thirty-two, the funds our parents had left were gone, and we had nothing to eat. Though it was against our will and safety, Allan and I had to get jobs. I worked as a television reporter due to my ability to analyze political situation, and Allan worked as an architect.

 Having a job was even worse than staying at home the whole day. Dr. Rottenburg controlled every work center, every company. As a result, we had to work under his command, and this was something I intensely hated. As a television reporter, I was obligated to express how Dr. Ruttenburg was a wonderful president and had helped Penigia succeed. I believed the opposite and found it extremely disgraceful to have to say what I didn’t support. I knew I needed the money to have a decent lifestyle, but it was just too much. I quit the job.

On the other hand, Allan continued with his architect job. As well as me, he had to work for Dr. Ruttenburg, but he knew it would be like this in any job, so he just decided to continue. What Allan had to do was design buildings for the government. Usually, these were used for people that supported Dr. Rottenburg to have meetings where they discussed how his power could increase. Allan knew he was benefiting Dr. Rottenburg, but it was his only option. The other one was to not work and die of hunger. I preferred to do this as I knew that I would eventually die because Dr. Rottenburg would bring a lack of food and medicine.

At night, before going to sleep, Allan and I would always sit on the couch and talk. Most of our conversations were about Dr. Rottenburg and the conflicts.

“Allan, where do you think mom and dad are?” I uttered.

“Well, I don’t know Emily. They might be dead, or under extreme torture of the government.” He said.

The conversation continued until three in the morning.

“If they are alive, do they miss us?”

   “Yes.”

“Will they come back?.”

“I don’t know.”

“Are they hurt?”

“Maybe.”

“Is Dr. Rottenburg keeping them from seeing us?”

“Probably.”

“Why did the soldiers take them?”

“I don’t know.”

“Will they be okay?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Allan, can I ask you one last question?”

“Yes.”

“If you had to choose between being with your biological parents and not having met me, and being in the situation you are now, what would you do?”

“I don’t know, I have met very significant people in this journey of life lessons.”

 

 

Chapter 6

Allan’s response to my question gave me strength and energy to keep fighting. I thought the important person he had met was me. If I meant so much to him, I could not give up. I would spend the rest of my life fighting for Penigia’s freedom. Allan was disposed to do the same thing. We thought that the best way to make our voices heard was to start a campaign. The first step we took in order to achieve this was to go around in houses telling the people our plan to improve the economic and social status. Almost everybody agreed with our idea. Those who didn’t were the ones who supported Dr. Rottenburg. They were mostly government officials. We were able to make a group of one hundred people, and after this, we started with the actual campaign.

“We need to have some sort of symbol so that Dr. Rottenburg can identify us,” I explained to a member of the group.

“I agree,” she said.

The first thing we did was make a logo. This logo included the tri-color flag of Penigia, and the communist symbol crossed out by its side. Using this logo, we printed t-shirts, cups, and much more. As a group, we also made caps, but these were different. They represented the nation’s flag, implying nationalism, and so change. We gave free caps to the people in our neighborhoods, and this way, more and more people joined us. Three months after the campaign started, we had three hundred people supporting us.

“If we continue doing this, there will be many people against Dr. Rottenburg, and he will be forced to change.”

“That is a great idea!” A man told me.

Just like this, we continued innovating products and ideas so that eventually, we would be able to have a free and liberal country.

We could achieve a lot as a group, but we needed a representative to travel to other countries and inform the people, to attend events, and much more. In order to choose one, we decided to look at the characteristics of each one of us and based on leadership skills, elect a person. It would be impossible to do this by asking everybody their personality and leadership experiences. Therefore, we made a giant poster that had everyone’s name on it, and there, every day, each person had to write one of their aspects. This went on for three weeks, and in the end, the poster paper was full. There were people that had only ten characteristics, and there were others that had more than one-hundred. However, the ones that had more were not necessarily the best ones.

As the founders of the campaign, Allan and I thoughtfully read the poster and analyzed each person. After doing this, there were two candidates for the representative. One was a girl named Antonella, and the other one was a man named Petrano. Antonella was eleven years old and had been president of many school communities like STUCCO, NJHS, and some others. She was a candidate as she had a lot of leadership experience, and we thought it would be easy for her to pass the message of the whole group.

Nonetheless, Petrano was a man that seemed to be an expert at analyzing political situations. Ten years ago, he had been a university professor of Political Courses and was able to use his critical thinking skills to withdraw conclusions. We thought that as a representative, he would be beneficial because listening to everyone’s ideas, he could have conclusions that expressed all they key points and concepts. Both nominees would serve the campaign well, and so it was very hard to appoint one. In the end, thoroughly interpreting personality and skills, Allan and I decided that Petrano would be the official speaker of the campaign.

With an elected representative, we made posters and signs that advertised him. The propaganda included our slogan which was, “there is a path.” We chose this slogan as be believed that there can’t be a problem without a solution, and so the problem of Dr. Ruttenburg had to have a solution. Since it was a very complicated one we decided that “there was a path” for the correct solution that would bring freedom and well-being.

Petrano started giving speeches in every town, and this way, we gained more and more supported. With a greater number of people joining the campaign it was easier to spread the word as we could make more advertisements that could encourage the people to tell others about our project. Likely, Dr. Rottenburg realized what we were doing, and sent armed troops to destroy us. This was very dangerous for Petrano. For his safety, some of the people that were part of the campaign became his bodyguards. This way, if anyone from the government tried to kill him in order to stop our campaign from expanding, he would have protection. With this safety, it was easier for him to travel longer distances to places where many people were not even aware of the crisis, and when we told them, they joined.

As the days passed, we had more and more supporters. After a year, our campaign had more people than Dr. Rottenburg had supported. Even though he had the minority of the people, it was still impossible for us to win the battle of liberty because all the communities that took decisions were under his control. Juries were under his control, electoral announcers were under his control, and the army was under his control. Like this, no matter how many people were with us, if we tried to take action, either they would kill us, or threaten us to do so. Even though every powerful man was against us, we were able to call for an election. The candidates were Petrano and Dr. Ruttenburg. This could be a chance to remove the chains Penigia had been under since Dr. Ruttenburg took the power.

Three months passed by before the day of the election. In these three months, we went around the little towns informing people about what Dr. Rottenburg was doing, and why he had to be stopped. This way, people would not fall for the lies he told.

One day, when we were in a small town where not many people lived, a little girl asked me, “why is Dr. Rottenburg the president if he is so bad?”

“Ignorant people let him be there, but you will see that one day, democracy will win over his dictatorship.”

“And what is a democracy?’

“A democracy is when everybody in the country has the right to say what they want, with no restrictions.”

“And, why is Dr. Rottenburg’s rule not a democracy?”

“Well, because if you speak against him, you might get arrested or killed. It is what we call a lack of expression.”

“And, if you kick him out, will I be able to tell my friends what I feel?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes. sweety,”

“Can I help you do that?”

“Of course!”

“How?”

“Well, you can tell all your friends how Dr. Ruttenburg is destroying the island, and tell them to join our campaign as well,” I told her.

The little girl gave me a hug and ran to her neighbors.

I heard her saying, “Dr. Ruttenburg is bad, and yeah, you need to help me and my group get him out.”

Just like this girl, there were many innocent kids that helped us gain recognition in order to win the election. Finally, the day came. Sweat ran down my cheeks, and my heart beat rapidly. I was really nervous. What would happen if we didn’t win this election? I didn’t see another opportunity, and so I knew Petrano needed to win. Before the event started, each candidate gave a speech. Dr. Rottenburg talked about all the materials and money he would give to the poor, and how he would do whatever they asked of him. The people who were not aware of the real situation voted for him because they heard promises they liked. On the other hand, those that we had told about what Dr. Rottenburg was doing, voted for Petrano. They were able to analyze the purpose behind Dr. Rottenberg's speeches and not encourage the continuation of the dictatorship.

The election took all day, and the government's supporters did not permit us to see the results. We stood in the door of the building where the winner was announced and held signs that said: “Let us in!.” “No More Violence,” but we were ignored. Hours later, when everybody was already at home, the television reporters said: “we carefully counted the votes of the election that have taken place today, and Dr. Ruttenburg will continue his presidency until another call for an election is made.” I was frustrated.

“It was rigged!” I yelled from the window.

I knew the government had brought illegal people to vote for them so that they could win. This was prohibited in the constitution, but if I tried to do something, I would get shot.

 

 

Chapter 7

We had lost the elections, but that was no reason to stop trying. Also, we had an advantage because Dr. Rottenburg was sick. Two weeks ago, a doctor in Cuba had diagnosed him with lethal cancer. We thought that this would benefit us because, with this illness, he would be weaker, and so unable to do many things like notice opposition parties and revolts. However, we were wrong. Dr. Rottenburg was the same with, or without cancer.

Not paying attention to past failures, Allan and I continued to reinforce the campaign by making more people join and finding evidence for citizens to realize the torture we were living in. Several years passed, and cancer seemed to not affect Dr. Ruttenburg, but one day, he had to be submitted to various emergency surgeries. These were done in Cuba because he was afraid that doctors in Penigia would try to assassinate him. There were months where he wouldn’t show up. The one who would give the speeches for him was the vice president, Dr. Sealiding. Dr. Seleading was worse than Dr. Rottenburg. He was an ignorant and ambitious man that did everything to have wealth and power. I remember there were rumors that he only got up to third grade, and never studied more. I believed this as he would make up words, and say things that even first graders would consider grammatically wrong. I wondered where Dr. Rottenburg was, but nobody spoke about this topic.

Finally, on March 5, 2013, Dr. Seleading came to the stage, with tears on his face and said,

“my beloved people, I am very sad to announce that our commander in chief, our most grateful, Dr. Rottenburg, has passed away.”

The nation’s reaction was one of joy and excitement. There were groups of citizens that occupied the streets and roads. In their hands, they held the same posters they did for all the protests. Those that said, “No More Violence,” and “Strength And Faith.” For once, in many years, I could see smiles on people’s faces.

Obviously, the government didn’t allow Petrano to become president. Dr. Seleading, now that he had served as president for the past months, became Penigia’s official president.

At a meeting for our campaign, I told Allan, “I never thought I would say this but, I think that Dr. Seleading will damage Penigia even more that Dr. Rottenburg did.”

“I know, I think the same way,” He replied.

As Allan was three years older than me, I supposed he was also wiser. Therefore, I started asking him questions, so that I could have a clearer picture of the island’s future.

“Allan, do you think that we will die under communist rule?”

“Maybe, I don’t know.”

“And how can we avoid it?”

“Well, it is really hard, but we could continue doing what we have been doing and make sure that everybody is aware of the situation the country is facing.”

“Oh. Also, how do you think Penigia will end if we don’t stop this.”

“Probably, there will be a lack of food, of medicine, and there will not be enough money to feed everybody.”

“So, we can become poor if we allow Dr. Sealiding’s rule?”

“Well, yes. I suppose. Even the richest can become poor when there is extreme inflation.”

“What exactly is inflation?”

“Inflation is when the products are overpriced, and so people can not buy them. If people can not buy them, then they will not have enough money to pay their workers, which then would have a debt, and the whole economic system would crumble.”

“Really? And, is there a way to prevent this.”

“The only way is to replace the communists with a new and democratic government..”

I remember when Dr. Rottenburg got elected. I used to think that there could not be anything or anyone worse than him, but Dr. Sealiding proved me wrong.  He was an illiterate person that did not know what he was doing. It was obvious that he tried to follow the malignant steps of Dr. Ruttenburg, but he couldn’t. This man was brought so much destruction and despair to Penigia, that I am brave enough to say I prefer Dr. Ruttenburg. It seemed that nothing improved. Every day, every single aspect of the nation went down, and hearts began to stop.

Our campaign tried protests again, but they didn’t work. No matter how many people attended them, the government would ignore them and continue doing what they wished. There was not a characteristic of the political system that followed the constitution or followed justice. It was like the country was locked inside a globe of negative thoughts and actions. I became desperate. Seeing that nothing worked, I decided to just pray and hope. Hope that someday, there would be a solution for the problem, and I would get my country back. Before closing my eyes and traveling to a magical world, where there were no conflicts I always said a special prayer.

“Dear Jesus,

You, being the son of god and Virgin Mary, can guide me.

I ask of you that you bring wisdom and tolerance to Dr. Sealiding

so that he can take wise decisions and achieve peace in the nation.

Please, give every soul the necessities their life asks for.

So that nobody lives in war, and soon,

Penigia can have freedom and liberty.”

-Emilia

 

 

Chapter 8

Every second, the injustice grew more and more. The unfairness came to be so much that people, who had not done anything, were put in jail just because they opposed the government. There is one case, of a guy named Minor Lettiter, that got imprisoned for saying his opinion, and to this day, remains in jail.”

It was a regular day of agony and misery, where the people had gone to the streets to march when Dr. Sealiding came to a stage in the middle of the row and announced that Minor Letter would be put in jail.

“People of Penigiga, Minor Lettier is going to be imprisoned today. He is a traitor. He has killed many people with no reason, and so, following justice law, he must remain in jail until his the consent of his act arises and permits him to live as a fair man. Until then, he will be under military guard, and will not be allowed to commit any other criminal action.”

When I heard this, my face got red, and my hair stood.

“This is so unfair! The one who should be put in jail is Dr. Sealiding,” I expressed to Allan

“I know! But, this is what you get out a brutal and unfair dictatorship” He responded Enraged, I ran to my room and shut the door. Hoping to give energy in strength to the country, I spoke to her and gave her encouraging words.

 “Dear Penigia,

For many years, you have been part of this world. You have completed it with your beautiful lands, with your blue skies, and with your pure air. With your yellow, with your blue, with your red. Since you existed, you have given shelter to all your children. They always lived under your protection. That protection of laughter, of jokes, of affection, of love. The rivers overflowed with joy and the waterfalls were full of union. The smiles were permanent, until one day a drop of blood fell. They tied you up with chains and forbid you to be free. Every day that passed, it was another drop spilled; Drop by drop. They never stopped, and more and more. The smiles turned to tears and laughter wept. The chains were unbreakable and tightened every day. Days passed, weeks, months, years, but the chains still did not break. You were already desperate and your children died of anguish. They decided to free you and let you shine like you used to. They decided to remove those who tied you, but they were unjustly wounded and unable to free you. They tried it several more times, but injustice always won. Injustice controls you, but justice soon comes. You never failed your children, and they will never fail you. I will do my best to take you out of this one. I promise”

-Emilia.

 

When I said this, I noticed that everybody had more courage and strength. Consequently, I decided to frequently write letters to Penigia. I would write in certain situations.

 

I wrote this letter just after coming back from art class:

“And they all decided to paint landscapes, but I did not paint that. A landscape is beautiful, but Penigia is more than beautiful. Penigia, you are one of the most important things in my life, and for which I will fight until the last beat of my heart is heard. Penigia, the truth is that I have lived most of my life outside your borders because I have been forced to live in a Penigia that is not really you. It is a different one. Living in a Penigia where communists rule is like not living there. Nevertheless, I carry your true essence in my blood, and that will never change. Not living in the true you does not mean that I don’t value you because you are so hurt that it impossible for you to be who you really are. What I most want is, to experience living in a healthy you, but it is not easy. These people have made you shed every last drop of blood, so much so that your own children have had to leave. And your children, who have been forced to leave the true you, do not live the same life that they would live in your streets of the past. Those of love and affection. I have been told wonderful stories about being a child in the real you, about growing up with you. Those stories are full of joy, and for this, I fight for you. I fight for you to heal the wounds that have done you. I can not lie to you, but what I want most is to be one of the people in the stories, and grow with you, the healthy you, by my side. For this reason, I draw you, because even though you are hurt, I will never stop loving you and I will always say ‘I AM FROM PENIGIA.’"

-Emilia

 

This other one I wrote one day when I was sitting on the couch with Allan:

"It's been various years since I had to say goodbye to the healthy you. Various years in the past, the ambitious people started controlling you. In these multiple years,  there has always been something that I lack. I've wondered what it will be, but I feel it is something so special that it can not be explained. Little by little I have been putting together the puzzle and today I realized that what I lack is you, Penigia. I miss your healthy beaches, the people you give a roof to smiling, but above all, I missing waking up, and seeing you healthy, with a smile on your face. At night, when I lie down in my bed I start thinking, what did you do to deserve this? Why do those people have to abuse you like this when you're more than a country, if not my friend? I wish that someday I could go back and see a smile on your face. I wish I didn’t miss the healthy you. There is something that I want to be very clear Penigia, you are my everything. You are my friend, my partner and a large part of my life. With sadness, I tell you that I miss the healthy you a lot, but I say proudly that I am from Penigia."

-Emilia

 

This last one I wrote on an evening when the government told me that since I was not born Penigia, I could not be part of the opposition campaign:

 

“Many people ask me where I am from and I tell them, I from Penigia. I may not have been born in Penigia, but I feel like that country because my heart is from there. For me, the definition of being from Penigia is not to be born in Penigia, nor to have parents who are from this country. To be from Penigia is to love your country with the heart, to have hope for a change. A change that will make people realize that Penigia is not a country of war and murder, is a country of peace and love. A country where the first thing people wear when they dress is not the shirt, not the pants, but the smile. This is the Penigia that I want, where I come from. I AM FROM PENIGIA.”

-Emilia

 

All these letters I wrote demonstrated the agony that was implanted into my life, and because of this, I would do what it took to get Penigia out of that country.

 

 

Chapter 9

Minor Lettiter, when he got imprisoned, said that he would go to jail because it was for the freedom of Penigia. He expressed that resisting being in prison was just the proof that the real warriors could combat every obstacle when the goal was significant. In his case, the purpose of his sacrifice was to overthrow Dr. Sealiding and make Penigia a democratic nation.

Minor spent his boring days in jail, where there was nothing to do. He would wake up, eat, pray, and then go back to sleep. Back in his house, was his family. His wife, Adriana, and his two children, Jack and Emma. They missed him very much, and with a lot of fighting, they were permitted the right to visit Minor every Sunday. However, on some Sundays, the soldiers forbid his family from passing, and so they could not see them.

“Mom, when is Dad coming home? When can we see him,” Jack asked his mother

“Yes, mommy, I want to see Daddy. It’s been so long.” Emma added

Looking at the expression of her kid’s faces, their mom explained, “your dad is being held unjustly in jail, and we cannot do anything about it.”

The kids seemed not be satisfied with this answer, and so they began to ask questions for their tranquility

“Is he going to be okay?”

“I hope so.”

“Does he miss us?”

“Yes, he misses and loves us very much.”

“Why is he there if he didn’t do anything?”

“Well, my loves, as you know Dr. Sealiding is very unfair, and he put your dad there because he was brave enough to oppose him.”

“Oh, and, mommy.”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Will you still love Daddy no matter how much time he spends there?”

“Yes, honey, I will always love and appreciate your dad. He is a man of great courage.”

Like this family, many people had to learn to live with the injustice of the communist government, but the campaign we made when Dr. Rottenburg was alive will never die because as long as our faith and love for Penigia remains, the campaign will stand.

 

 

Chapter 10

Many years passed, and the same government lived in the presidential house. I fought for Penigia every day, but I was able to understand that eventually, the world would realize the crisis we were going through, and they would help us end it. It wasn’t a matter of killing, of getting frustrated. The solution for this problem would not be another problem, and so, what was left to do was to peacefully, continue to say my opinion, and wait until God through it was the right time to free Perugia.

One day, on a Friday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch of my house. Besides me were Allan and all the people that formed part of the campaign. While fighting for our country, we had become really good friends. More like family. We were talking about how we had faith in the change we had always been waiting for.

Allan, as the older one, stated, “Our actions will impact the situation and with this,

we hope that our children and further generations will grow up to see a free, liberal, and

democratic Penigia.”

While he said this, everyone hugged each other, and then I spoke.

“We have done our part, now let the other generations do theirs.”

While we were chatting, I heard a knock on the door.

“Who is it?” I asked, but there was no answer

I walked to the door. When I opened it, I saw two policemen in front of me.

“Excuse me, sir? Can I help you with something?” I told him.

The policeman screamed at me, “Yes! Do me the favor and get out of your house!”

   “But…”

“There are no buts! Get out!” He yelled at me

Obeying, we all stood in a line in front of the door. The policeman pushed us into a car and drove us to a boat.

A man escorted us to our rooms and he heard the captain say, “we will travel to Pánama. The government wants you out of Penigia because you oppose them too much. Say goodbye to your country.”

With tears on my face, I looked back and said, “once my country, always my country.”


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