Aba Saheed: Brut’Alaye The Butcher of Mali
I dream a lot and messages in my dreams usually come to pass. In fact my grandmother who passed on during the Plague of 1917 told me I used to relate messages of my dreams to her. My mother who passed on in 2013 confirmed the same gift when she told me that I used to dream even when I was in her womb. Anybody in doubt could cross check with my grandmother at her resting place which I may not be able to locate since she died 105 years ago but my mother’s resting place is Tomb 595, Row 105. Muslim Cemetery at Oke Lamgbodo, Ijebu.
It was last week I was rudely woken by the horror of the denouement of my dream in which the Emperor of Mali was the central figure. Emperor of Mali, Brut’alaye Kunte otherwise known as the Butcher of Mali was a very ruthless man known throughout West Africa as a coldblooded murderer and enabler of terror. His notoriety as a cruel, insensitive, uncaring and reckless dictator was legendary. Nobody dared cross his path. He had a knack of crushing every opposition in his way and he was very queer and predictably unpredictable.
This is what I saw in the dream:
Hundreds of thousands of people were shouting all sorts of expletives on him as he was being led away in handcuffs and shackles. He had just been pulled out of the underground tunnel in his palace. His four wives were also pulled out and right in public glare they were stripped naked and raped repeatedly by some angry youths in the uncontrollable crowd, His 10 daughters were not spared either. They were stripped naked, flogged and spat upon while the youths gave them the crude sexual orgy they feasted their mothers on. They screamed, cried and wept at the same time. And each time they screamed the crowd yelled at them.
The Emperor was frog-marched on the streets and each time he gave a sign of tiredness, he was flogged and dragged while his wives and daughters in their nakedness thronged along with obvious signs of serious sexual abuse.
Dreams could be funny and frightening. Later in the dream, I could no longer see the wives and the daughters. All his male children had been bludgeoned to death in the fracas leading to the capture of their father. I saw the Emperor tied to a slowly moving truck as he was made to trek several hundreds of miles until the truck reached Tunis where he was squeezed into a ramshackle boat with his heavily armed captors.
As soon as the boat reached its destination somewhere on the mainland Spain, Emperor Kunte was again dragged unto the road and he was made to trek hundreds of miles again, this time, to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
A fat puffy-faced middle-age bald-headed man read a long list of criminal charges brought against him. My dream did not indicate the periods he was allowed to rest, if any, and he bowed his head in shame and regret as the charges were read out to him. He was offered two lawyers to defend him.
I saw regrets boldly written on his face, he was apparently thinking of the hundreds of lawyers who were in his pocket when his eye contact alone was law. He was the empire, he was the government, he was the legislature, and he was the Judiciary. He was the Press, he was everything. He was the dispenser of life and death while he was the grand creator of wealth and poverty, of fortune and misfortune. He had succeeded in his 14-year autocracy in destroying everything he inherited from his grandfather who was the emperor before his father’s short reign.
“Emperor Brut’alaye Kunte, can you tell this honourable court while you were brought here? Do you know why your subjects call you the Butcher of Mali? Do you know why the international community label you the Butcher-in-Chief of your empire’s armed forces? Do you know why you are so unpopular and why you had to be smoked out of the underground hole where you hid your entire family?’’ so many questions were pouring in before the charges brought against him were even touched upon.
Kunte had no word to say. He just lowered his head in shame while his bloodied ankles treated him to excruciating pain. He looked bland, expressionless, deaf and dumb as he appeared lost in a dream-land. This might be the reason the Chief Judge ordered he be allowed to sit down.
The court was packed full with Kunte’s kinsmen from Sudan, Cameroon, Morocco, Algeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Senegal and even from Yemen and Afghanistan. No one really knew the identity of Emperor Kunte; his genealogy, like that of his ancestors had always been shrouded in secrecy.
A fifty-page document was brought by the Chief Prosecutor who took his time to read out the itemized charges one by one.
‘’Mr. Emperor, please listen attentively to the charges against you:
Charge 1. You are accused of being the sponsor and enabler of all the assassinations of political opponents in your empire.
Charge 2. You are accused of being responsible for the deaths of 8 million children who starved to death as a result of your economic policies.
Charge 3. You are accused of being the master-mind of all the horrendous activities in your empire.
Charge 4. You are accused of being responsible for the breakup of 1 million marriages as a result of your wicked activities which led to the separation of husbands and wives and children.
Charge 5. You are accused of being responsible for the collapse of farming and agriculture in the empire due to violent activities which drove away millions of farmers from their farmlands.
Charge 6. You are accused of being responsible for all acts of favouritism, nepotism, reckless impunity, and divisiveness, religious extremism and crass intolerance which had torn the fabric of your empire to shreds.
Charge 6. You are accused of poisoning all the rivers and waters in West Africa region thereby killing millions of innocent citizens of the sub-region.
Charge 7. You are accused of promoting banditry not only in your empire but throughout Africa and beyond.
Charge 8. You are accused of being a security risk in the continent of Africa.
Charge 9. That you, Emperor Brut’alaye Kunte, brought military hardware to your empire and used the arsenal to kill your own people.
The Chief Prosecutor continued with the litany of accusations and charges and after 4 hours of reading out the lengthy charges he concluded with a cheering note. ‘Mr. Emperor, this is World Court, the apex dispenser of justice. The Court holds you innocent of all these charges until you are proved otherwise.’ He thereafter took a bow and the Chief Judge, a very thin and stern-looking old man, announced adjournment.
There was thunderous stampede outside the court as hundreds of Kunte’s accomplices were brought to the premises in suffocating trucks numbering 50. They hid their faces, the Malians who had come in droves to witness the downfall of their erstwhile oppressors were therefore unable to recognize any of the heartless men and women who stole their empire to the bones.
One silly mosquito pinched me and terminated my horrible dream.
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