This story wasn’t written by me. It was written by a very dear friend of mine. With his permission, I am placing this essay on my blog to share with all of you. Stories are told to convey a message. It could be as simple as in the story of the boy who cried wolf, or as deep as it is in this one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Luke, great work you have (:
The Stolen Freedom of the Colourful Lorikeet
By: Lukeno Ribeiro Alkatiri
This piece is dedicated to my dear niece Kaiya Genevieve
– Kaiya:”Uncle Luke. Why can’t the bird fly?”
– Me: “Because someone cut off the tips of its wings.”
Tell me. Have you seen the caged bird? No, not just any bird. The bird. The lorikeet. Have you seen the caged lorikeet? The red and yellow lorikeet. with white rings around its black eyes?
I saw it once. I could tell that it was young bird. Still trying to dominate the wind and master the skill that identifies its gorgeousness. Like most birds that leave the nest for the first time, the graceful lorikeet gained its independence. It learned to guarantee its survival by its own means. It tasted freedom, even if it was just for a little while. And I fell in love. I fell in love with the colourful lorikeet.
I heard that the bird was caught. I could not believe it. “They caught it. The men suppose to protect it. They caught it and then they sold it”- my friends told me. It seems that they sold it to someone who was willing to pay a “fair” amount for it. He put the lorikeet in a cage. A big cage they said. So that it does not feel imprisoned. Ironic, isn’t it? An irony emphasised by his decision to cut them off. HE CUT OFF THE TIPS OF THE LORIKEET’S WINGS, just to be sure that the bird would not fly away.
He feeds it every now and then. “So that the bird does not die on me”- he says. He hangs the cage where everyone that visits him can see it. So that the humiliated animal, forced to contribute to arrogant pride of his new master, becomes the topic of a conversation as the owner shows off the grace of his latest achievement. He shows off the beauty of a bird that is not allowed to take advantage of one of nature’s most unique gifts – the ability to fly.
I have been looking for it. The lorikeet I fell in love with. I have been looking for it every day. They say the bird is near the place where we live but very far from where it belongs. At night, sometimes I can hear it. I can hear the sad bird sing. The bird sings either desperately or about its desperation. For what other reasons would a beautiful and colourful bird sing in the middle of the night? I think it sings so that I can find it. Because it only sings when I yell out its name. Yes, its name. The name given to the bird since before the time the bird was born. It was named after the sacred land we call our own. The land of the rising sun -Timor Lorosa’e.
So tell me. Have you seen the caged bird? The one with the broken heart and unable to fly. The red and yellow lorikeet with white rings around its black eyes. Yes, the one with the colours that represent the flag we hold up high. Can you tell me where it is? I have been looking for it and I need to find it. I need to break it. The big cage I mean. I need to break it and heal the bird’s damaged feathers so that it can once again experience the wind against its wings. For there is nothing more humiliating and painful than taking away the earned freedom of a being. Even if its freedom had only been enjoyed for just a little while.