What you need to know:
- Along with the conflict, the book Justice in The Hague portrays the effect and the aftermath of the Lord’s Resistance Army, combining the areas most affected by its actions
James Onono Ojok is a journalist, who is currently assisting the Public Relations Officer of Gulu University. His poem Lamunu, my mother won him the second prize in the Femrite Poetry Poster Project, which brought him into the limelight.
With books such as But My Heart and Heaven will never wait, Onono brings culture, wrapped up with the ricochets of the war and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Justice in The Hague.
Along with the conflict, the book Justice in The Hague portrays the effect and the aftermath of the Lord’s Resistance Army, combining the areas most affected by its actions.
Among these areas include northern Uganda, from where Onono originates and the areas in which the refugees, running for impunity, settled like South Sudan, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo jungles.
In form of poems, Onono manages to bring out the stories of the victims, the oppressors, the brevity the women showed, especially after the strong men were whisked away to fight, in an army they never intended to join, and the need for justice, which he doubts, may never come to life - for those who need it, badly.
With the book Justice in The Hague, Onono cleverly but simply writes his poems in a way for many, including the youth, to recite and understand.
He is able to relay his intention by using captivating names, allusions to historical and legendary figures of the tales told by his elders to bring them to life, never to be forgotten.
This intention of Africanicity is seen in his main poem, which he also uses for his title, as he calls for truth justice, peace and reconciliation. These values continue to manifest in the poems that follow.
The book is in three parts; My country at heart, which summarises the trials of the Hague and bringing justice to the oppressed and oppressors in the north especially, freedom, even to the people who were forced into the war, his example going to Dominic Ongwen and his pain on freedom limitation. He also brings up corruption and the named peace that has not fully registered in the north.
“Peaceful north, is field for researchers, pasture for gamblers, ground for gamblers,” he writes.
My personality cult, the second part summarises specific heroes in the land, including Lukwiya, The Great Northern Doctor as he writes, who died in line of duty due to Ebola. In the same part, he tells tales of the strong women, tales of their love, of their sacrifice and the future of justice, as portrayed in the poem The Judge.
Then comes part three, The Sum of My Culture, where Onono tells of the culture that has slowly but surely been eroded by colonialism. He also tells of the importance of kindness, of love as portrayed in Abayo Hill.
In the poem The life I Missed, he tells of the life before his generation. Of a love not based on money, or cars. He talks of communal parenting, which, he doubts, may never return.
“At the fireplace, the sister of my father says orphans and widows were rare dictions, because wives and children were communal,” he writes.
The theme of culture is also portrayed in the poems of The Witch, For the City Love, among others.
These virtues are artfully summarised within just 60 pages, making a light read that can take you through the slow weekend, or chilly evening at your own pace.
The Hague is a city on the North Sea coast of the western Netherlands. Its Gothic-style Binnenhof (or Inner Court) complex is the seat of the Dutch parliament, and 16th-century Noordeinde Palace is the king’s workplace. The city is also home to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, headquartered in the Peace Palace, and the International Criminal Court.
Most foreign embassies in the Netherlands are located in the city. The Hague is also home to the world headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell and other Dutch companies.