War Crimeshttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/post-apocalyptic-photography-2500x1600-012a.jpg?fit=1920%2C1229&ssl=119201229Bronwen GriffithsBronwen Griffithshttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/4thAug2017Bronwen-194A-2lores-e1544130076635.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
The endless sifting of papers. The noting of names and dates. The cross-checking, referencing, the words, photographs, videos, recordings and interviews. The tears. The coffees, the discussions, the sadness. The shouting. All to be examined and dissected. To bring the murderer to justice.
The baby white and heaving, his skin grey with dust, a smear of blood on his forehead. The baby gasping but soon as still as a stone. He will not move again. Nothing left but his small bones buried in an unmarked grave.
The order was given and another and another but each order was the same as the one before. Eliminate by all means possible. No one is to be spared in this place. You hear! No-one.
The women wept. Their tears flowed down their cheeks and onto the podium. Their tears flowed down from the stage onto the floor. We were flooded with their tears. We could not breathe. Nothing to be done but watch and listen to the cracking of their hearts.
She could not find the man. He had hidden his uniform. No, perhaps he had burned his uniform. Now he had disappeared into the wilderness of the city’s streets. Or perhaps he had gone to the mountains? He might even have traveled overseas. But she will always remember his face and how he brought that cheap, sharp smell of cologne into the room with him. She knows his name. Everyone knows his name.
Five years. Ten years. The long waiting.
The General speaks of trash and re-cycling. He talks of burying. He means bodies. Yours and mine.
The weight of tears. The nights of wakefulness. The knock on the door. The sifting of papers and one day, an ending. Even a small justice.
Bronwen Griffiths is the author of two novels, A Bird in the House & Here Casts No Shadow and a book of short fictions, Not Here, Not Us, stories of Syria. When not writing or taking photographs of leaves and flowers, she volunteers for Syria UK. She lives in East Sussex, UK.