Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Film Evokes Memories of Childhood Horror

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Film Evokes Memories of Childhood Horror

Article excerpt


The movie created a mood that triggered memories, sending his mind back to a childhood malaise of murder, mayhem and madness.

The recent movie Blood Diamond trip-wired disturbing memories for an Arlington resident and author who grew up in war-torn Sierra Leone, the West African site of the film that explores how diamonds mined there are sold to finance constant fighting between government forces and rebels.

It reminded Roland Bankole Marke of the perpetual conflict he experienced and has written about in books such as his latest, Harvest of Hate, and in numerous nonfiction articles and poems.

After the Academy Award-nominated movie rekindled Marke's sense of the absurdity and inhumanity of war he experienced in his youth, he wrote a poem called Blood Diamond Malaise. He began to wonder, if Americans and Europeans knew the real cost of these "precious" jewels, would they still cherish them so - or if the grim reality would dim the luster ... and their lust.

Here's an excerpt from Marke's poem:

But a captivating grim image demonizes the symbolism of love

A nuptial oneness, loving friendship or lasting happiness sealed?

Woman's best friend, the inviting luster that captures her heart

Our grim horrendous untold tale seems clouded amid blind glitter

Sweet home Sierra Leone, endured agony like a mutilated child

Trade in blood diamond fueled violence launching rebel warfare

Marke's Harvest of Hate (Publish America) is a collection of stories and essays delivering a bare-knuckled look at greed, conflicts, the child soldiers of Africa, girl victims of an enduring slave trade, the global effects of terrorism on humanity and even the cultural ugliness exposed by Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

Marke grew up speaking Krio, a sort of African creole passed down through the generations. He says he listened to the BBC every day to learn "proper" English.

Marke, 51, is also the author of two collections of poetry: Teardrops Keep Falling, published in 2003 by Minuteman Press, and Silver Rain and Blizzard, which was published last year by Publish America.

Marke, who was a school teacher for 10 years in Africa, has also published numerous articles and stories nationally and internationally over the past two decades. …

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