I Believe I yam RIght By: Kaitlyn Merritt, Myles Naylor, Ben Peterson, Grant Sommer, and Mikella Wisler

Table of Contents

Introduction

"The War Against Religion" a hero's journey story by: Grant Sommer

"We Are One" a poem by: Myles Naylor

"We Are None" a poem by: Myles Naylor

"War of Ideals" a poem by: Myles Naylor

Gods of Conflict an artwork piece by: Kaitlyn Merritt

"Torn Apart" a poem by: Ben Peterson

"Acquisition" a poem by: Ben Peterson

"Erasing the Lifestyle" a poem by: Ben Peterson

"My Gods" a poem by: Ben Peterson

"Where it all Begins" a poem by: Ben Peterson

"A New Level" a poem by: Ben Peterson

"I Yam What I Yam" a hero's journey story by: Mikella Wisler

Introduction

What conflict has started in your life because of your beliefs changing? Our magazine links with Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe because we show how beliefs and religion cause conflict. In our novel Okonkwo deals with his life changing due to his people's change in religion and advancement of society. There were wars between Africans and the Catholic Church because they tried to control European countries and African countries. The Catholic Church wanted their religion to be the main religion in these countries. In the novel, British colonists come in and impose their religion on Okonkwo's clan which changes his people drastically. This leads into another subtopic which is traditions change when other people, the Catholics in this case, come into a country and bring in new technology or things from their own culture.The two cultures mix with each other. This is how society advances. Another way tradition can be formed is through the most basic institution which is family, but conflicts can arise when a family members have different beliefs. An example within our book would be when Okonkwo’s son joined the new people. In Africa, family is very important. African people usually live with their extended families and are part of a family-like community or village. Religion and wars were an issue because the roman catholic Church had absolute power and if you spoke out against them it was heresy. Like many other African nations, Nigeria was an artificial structure initiated by the British which had neglected to consider religious, linguistic, and ethnic differences.

The purpose of this magazine is to evaluate and judge so we see the effects of traditions and the beliefs in a culture. One artistic product is a hero's journey which shows how breaking the family tradition can have positive and negative consequences. The second hero's journey shows defiance against religion and how religion can create conflict if you do not follow. There are two poems in our magazine. They both show the viewpoints of the Nigerians and the colonists and their standpoint on religion. Last, another artistic product is a poster which shows how traditions can cause conflict if they are not followed.

The War Against Religion

By: Grant Sommer

“Aaron, you good for nothing scoundrel. Get back here and finish the job!” The words of my employer echo around my head. Am I really good for nothing? I can’t worry about that now I had a family to provide for. My family consists of three sons and a precious daughter. Everything I do I do for them. Even my lowly job as a carpenter is to pay for the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the roof over their heads.

1564 Segovia is not an easy time. Our country, Spain, is entering into war against the great Ottoman Empire with the European Holy League of the Catholic Church. Those men that fight have worth. They have a legacy. I would join the Holy League if it got me out of this day in and day out life I live.

Even as I’m walking down the street back home no one stops to take a second glance at me, the good for nothing carpenter. I make it home with no trouble and eat my rice kiss my children goodnight and crawl into bed. On top of all of the worries of my day I can almost never fall asleep due to the street lamps right outside my window. This might be a special day where nothing happened but everyday it’s the same as the day before. Until that night.

I woke up with stomach ache and I immediately figured out something wrong. My room is completely dark. The street lamps outside my room were out for some strange reason. I immediately rose from my bed and went to investigate. The whole house began to shake as I realized someone was pounding on the front door

In a heavy English accent they growled “Get dressed and go to the pub.”

I knew by the longbow on his shoulder he was not one to be trifled with. I don’t ask why I’m supposed to go to the pub or on whose authority I just slip and my boots and leave.

The pub is bustling with activity even though it is the middle of the night. It is so loud hardly anyone hears the man with the longbow start to speak. Those who do hear him shush their neighbors and a hush falls over the room. Everyone including myself is so quiet and attentive the man could have whispered and we would follow his instructions to the letter.

In the same English accent he says “Our borders are being threatened by Turkey and their Ottoman Empire. All of you are being recruited by the Holy League of Europe and we leave in a week to meet them in battle. If you refuse you will be met with deadly force.”

With that the man stepped down from the podium where he stood and the room. Everyone frantically talks about how they can’t leave their families. I myself am glad to get the chance to explore the world and fight for my country. The only doubt that starts to enter my mind is the worry that I will not leave behind anything of value or a legacy for my children to uphold.

An older man approaches me and he must have seen my distraught face for he starts to speak; “Son I was in the same position you were years ago. Nothing to be proud of. Nothing to leave behind to your family if you die in war. But here’s the thing, your family is what you leave behind. Your sons and daughters will grow up and become great people at the thought of their brave father. So don’t worry about what you leave behind, worry about what lies in wait to meet you.”

With that the man leaves and I am left to ponder his words. I don’t get a lot of time as I’m whisked of back to my home. I can’t even begin to think about what the man said as the next week is a blur of goodbyes and tears. The journey to the military encampment was long and the road was perilous. Throughout the whole journey the Catholic Church was preaching about the word of God. Even though the Church talked about acceptance, when someone voiced their disapproval of the Church’s ways they were met with swift repercussions usually involving less rations. I know started to realize the Catholic Church was fighting a war not for territory but for control of religion.

We finally get to the encampment and the grueling march stops. We make camp and the daily life of basic training begins. Days pass without much excitement until today. The old man that talked to me in the pub stands up during a meal and starts publicly voicing his hate for the Catholic Church.

“The Catholic Church is lying to all of us.” He starts, “we’re not fighting this war to protect ourselves. We’re fighting it so they can have absolute control over all of the religion in Euro-”

He never got to finish the sentence because a commander drove his spear through his back. The poor old man’s lifeless body fell right next to me. I could smell the blood pooling up on the floor around him. The once friendly eyes that offered me advice were glossy and cold. With that I knew the Church would immediately silence any insignificant soldier who spoke out against them.

Many years passed and nothing of importance happened. Some meaningless battles were fought and then we were told we would meet the Ottoman Empire in a battle on ships. We were given bows and arrows, loaded up like sardines on our ship and we left for the Gulf of Patras. We were told to hold our fire with our longbows until the order was given. However as we held our bows at full draw my strength was beginning to waver and I let go of the bow string and my arrow flew off onto the Turkish ship. I heard a cry as it made contact. Then the all of our arrows began to fly and the battle began. It was over quickly as our forces boarded their ship and took it over. Their Admiral was incapacitated by the arrow I shot and was later beheaded by our captain. I was promoted for my actions in the battle and I realized I was now in a position to challenge the views of the Catholic Church.

When we get back to the encampment I’m hailed as a hero. I don’t like the attention so I retreated to my tent and began to think about how I would confront the views of the Church. I prepared and thought about what I was fighting for and what I might lose. In the end I decided the things I would gain outweigh the things I might lose.

My family was counting on me. I approached the bishop’s tent to state my case. I thought about my legacy. I thought of what people would think of me. If I was killed I would be thought of as a fool. If I was successful I would be thought of as a hero.

I opened the tent flap and didn’t give the bishop a chance to say anything. I stated my case and I didn’t stop until I was finished. After I stopped talking the bishop gave me a weird look I’d never seen before. It seemed like he knew I was right and hated that but at the same time he couldn’t do anything about it. If he had me killed there would be unrest in the army and possibly a revolt. But they made me leave they could make it on their terms and deface my name.

By standing up to the church I not only earned my freedom but loosened the grip of the Catholic Church. I didn’t feel any remorse for the Church. They got what they deserved. They had that poor old man killed and they tore me away from my family.

My journey home was lonely and uneventful but the prospect of seeing my family for the first time in years kept me going. Everywhere I stopped people ask me where I’m from and I tell them my story. I finally make it home and the joy that comes over me is indescribable.

Everything settles back down in a few weeks and I even resume my job as a carpenter. However, on my first job I feel a new sense of belonging and worth. Every night I go home and spend time with my legacy, my family. But, in the back of my mind I can’t help but feel nervous about the war and the havoc it might bring if it comes to my city.

Even more months pass and messengers bring the news of the Siege of Vienna. The Ottoman Empire makes one final stand and they make absolutely no progress. The war ends as quickly as it began and the Holy League is disbanded and with that the Catholic Church loses a lot of its power and influence.

My family notices a small change in my attitude. I’m no longer looking over my shoulder to see if soldiers are coming for me. I also am no longer worried about my legacy because it was with me all along.

We Are One

By: Myles Naylor

Spirit flows through all

Different for everyone

Yet strangely the same

We Are None

By: Myles Naylor

Divided are we all

Why believe anything now

Only tears apart

War of Ideals

By: Myles Naylor

Thunder, rain, lightning, and wind

Serenity is what my god bring to me

A beautiful sunset on a tranquil sea

Surrounding me with its comforting glow

Thunder, rain, lightning, and wind

Tension, palpable in the air, is what my gods bring to me

A dark cloud overhead

Entrancing me in its blue nature

One God is an ultimate truth

For only one can be omnipotent

A god for life, A god for death

For only one could not gift such beauty in the world

My religion is correct, this cannot be disputed

It only makes sense

How can there be many gods

When I know there to be one

Oppression, Negativity, flowing like the Ganges

Persecuted for my beliefs

Believe whatever you would like

Just please do not tread upon me

Foolish is thou who defies The Lord

His vengeance shall be sought

Let there be no rest for the wicked

For they deserve no peace

Ostracized from society

Spat at, brushed off, ignored

Never did I believe humanity to be so cruel

Maybe my gods can provide me some solace

I almost pity this man

Looking longingly at the people in the street

He got what’s coming to him,

But has he suffered enough? I think not

People look at me with disgust and pity

I do not know which is worse

Why my gods have forsaken me I know not

Will my suffering end soon? I think not

Tonight, when the sun descends and the land is engulfed in darkness

He shall repent, or he shall be judged by The Father

No longer shall he be a stain on the bright white shirt of humanity

They came tonight as the world became dark

Saying I must denounce my religion and convert

But can I really desert my gods? I can’t

I hope the afterlife is all it’s built up to be

Because this life all trying to get to it did was cause conflicts

Gods of Confict

artwork by: Kaitlyn Merritt

Analysis

The title of the artwork that I created is God’s of Conflict. The artwork was created December 9 through the 14. The artwork was created using pictures, cardboard, construction paper and glue. The artwork features a warrior God, sparks of conflict, and problem images. The representation of the God warrior represents the religion and the pictures behind the figure show conflict in many different tradition scenarios. The traditional God’s in the novel cause conflict within the main character's traditional family and clan.

The traditional religious beliefs and traditions cause disputes between the members of the clan. Neither side can see why the alternative side feels the way they do. I chose to show the conflict through a warrior. Typically, we view the fighters and warriors as violent and fighting for their side and or country. The warrior represents the forceful conflict that appears when traditions change. The warrior is produced on black paper because it shows the darkness that occurs when rivalry arises. Iowa Pathways explains how some traditions change with examples such as how some recipes change over time because the ingredients might not be available because of possibly a climate change or move that occurred. Which, ordinarily relates to the novel when the traditional religion changes and conflict arises. The images underneath the warrior show more deeply how conflict happens because of traditions.

The black sparks over top of the images go along with the warrior. The sparks are symbolizing the sparks that set off the conflict. This technique involves more than the actual conflict but the reasoning behind the original problem. Iowa Pathways website explains how traditions can change overtime because people move to new lands, or the ingredients for a traditional recipe are no longer available. These customs changes can cause people to have negative reactions. The images underneath are some of the examples of how the sparks can begin.

The pictures underneath the warrior and sparks show images of conflict. The pictures are produced in reds, oranges, and blacks to show the dark side of traditions. The images show a several forms of conflict from family movies, board games, relationships and road signs. Board games and movies can be a traditional weekend for some families. Road signs are a something we observe on a daily basis. Lastly, relationships are what we form and work on every day. I used this technique because it shows how conflict can appear in our daily lives through traditional elements. According to Erosion of Traditional Conflict Management Institutions, traditions can show a dominant role in a family structure. They can show who the dominant parent is, who runs the household and so on. It shows how when traditions and beliefs change the family structure can be thrown off and result in conflicting scenarios.

The warrior god shows how conflict and battles can start from religious traditional beliefs changing. Traditions can change whether by force or the need to be changed. People fear change because it is dipping into the unknown. People can react to this with violence which consequently can begin a conflict. Lastly, through creating this piece of art I gained the knowledge of how family members can have different traditions and beliefs and you have to respect them and stray from violence.

Torn Apart

By: Ben Peterson

What if everything you knew was wrong

Men take your land

Forcing me to use my hands

The war cries ring out like a gong

My rage cannot be contained

But everyone has changed

I practice at the shooting range

If I don't do something for my people I'll go insane

They expect my people to be tame

They want to set up their shrines

We cannot be blind

But they cannot stop the flame

Acquisition

By: Ben Peterson

Our clan is ruptured

Time is against all of us

Tradition erased

Erasing the Lifestyle

By: Ben Peterson

How can our traditions be like a white board

They came in like a horde

They took my son

Now I have no choice but to shun

We have to conquer to win the race

We need to wipe them out without a trace

They need to get with the times

Or they will pay the fine

The time is now for war

My brothers die, what for

Our old ways are no longer

We need to get stronger

There strategy is outdated

Soon the outcasts will be faded

Everything will fall into place

Maybe they will get with our race

My Gods

By: Ben Peterson

What is the reason

Why do they make us follow

It all falls apart

Where it All Begins

By: Ben Peterson

7 years is a lifetime

Bang bang, one of my brother lay dead

The alien payed the price

we didn't know what to expect

There iron horses baffled us

The power they had was unimaginable

It was comparable to our own gods

Able to wipe out clans in a blink of an eye

They tried to sell there own religion

Calling our own religion false

Our so called gods were just sticks and rocks,worthless

But when they take away one of my own

The ground will be a sea of red

Then they proved our own religion wrong

It made me question myself

It's a force you can't stop

It's me against this new world

Or is it me versus my old ways

My flame is extinguished

I am surrounded by darkness

There is no going back

I grab the rope

The clan will miss one of its greatest warriors

A New Level

By: Ben Peterson

A power not seen

We cannot match these new ways

Brethren no more

I Yam What I Yam

By: Mikella Wisler

Seventeen years ago, my mother and father gave me the name of Wekesa, a name meaning harvest child. For the first seventeen years of my life, I was raised on a farm where we would grow yams. I knew my life would be farming yams. My family has lived in this part of Nigeria for many generations. My great-great grandfather began harvesting yams which provided both food for the people of the village and other traded resources for our family. Since I am the oldest son, it is believed that I am to take over the family farm after my father can not anymore. Since childhood, I have been groomed for this responsibility.

This all changed when two visitors came to our small village. A man named Dr. Merriweather and his assistant Miss Adkins introduced themselves and announced that they were here to help us to cure a disease that no one knew was taking over our village, one person at a time. This new idea of treatment for a disease so deadly intrigued me. I knew at this moment that I would make a difference for others who were suffering in other villages.

The next day I packed my bags, ready to further my education so I could follow my dream. After all my clothing and personal belonging were packed and ready to go, I went to share my plan with my mother and father. I was appalled to hear the words disgrace, betrayal, and selfish coming from my parents when I shared my plan. This idea was inconceivable to their small village minds. No one had ever left the village or gone against tradition and beliefs before and they did not think this was the time to start breaking from generational beliefs. However, I knew I had to go.

I began my journey by going to a nearby village where Dr. Merriweather had mentioned about visiting next. The two day walk in the blistering heat was enough to make a farmer call it a day, but I persevered through the arid climate by thinking of the lives I could potentially save. Dr. Merriweather and Miss Adkins were in the midst of an operation when I finally arrived at the new village. As I opened the tent flap I was shocked to see blood stained sheets and an unconscious man. At first glance, I was frightened by his lack of movement, but when taking a closer look, I saw the perfectly sewn stitches on the man’s chest that was rising up and down steadily.

“It was a hunting accident. If we wouldn’t have found him as soon as we did, he wouldn’t have lasted longer than an hour.”

I turned my head around to find the voice who had spoken to me to find Dr. Merriweather standing behind me. He spoke to me like an equal to him, which I found very astonishing. He had told me that the man was his last patient of the day and he wanted to know why I had traveled for two days to meet them at this village. I had shared my intentions of going into the medical field even though my family told me I was a disgrace to be going against our family’s beliefs. I also expressed how if I were to follow this dream I would need help with training and learning how to assist the people in need. Dr. Merriweather graciously offered for me to be able to travel with them to learn more about medicine, how to treat patients, and potentially cure them from diseases that were spreading rapidly. I immediately accepted this offer and was ready to move to the next village with them come sunrise.

A few weeks had passed and I had finally gotten past the nauseous feeling in my stomach when I saw the raw flesh that Dr. Merriweather would patch up with a sterilized needle and thread.

“I want you to help our next patient Mr. Jabari. He has been affected by the disease and you are ready to treat him.”

Those few words would change my medical career forever. The butterflies in my stomach started to fly around threatening to expose my lunch from earlier. I could see the metal instruments on the table to my right taunting me as if they knew what I was about to attempt. Dr. Merriweather had walked me through the motions dozens of times when he treated the other patients and it all seemed so simple when he performed the procedure. However, the idea of treating the patient on my own the very first time was surreal to me. I took a deep breath to regain my thoughts. Suddenly, I came to a realization. If I used the knowledge I already had practiced for my whole life, I can apply it to the needle I need to inject into Mr. Jabari’s bloodstream. Like the digging stick pressing into the ground preparing the soil for the seed, the needle needed to press into the flesh, injecting medicine into the skin preparing the body for the healing process. Before I knew it the syringe was empty and I was pulling the needle out of Mr. Jabari’s flesh, similarly to the digging stick being pulling out as the growing process continues. A smile spread across my face as I acknowledged my accomplishment and Dr. Merriweather’s look of satisfaction.

Just as Dr. Merriweather was opening his mouth to respond he was cut short by a frantic Miss Adkins.

“Sir, we just heard of and influenza outbreak in the city of Ibadan. There is a young boy who is deathly ill and needs medication right away!”

My mind went blank after I heard her say the word Ibadan, my hometown. After that moment everything seemed to go by in a blur. There were many thoughts running around in my head, overwhelming me and making my head spin. I was snapped out of this trance when I heard Dr. Merriweather addressing me.

“I must stay here to help these people. Wekesa, you will take Miss Adkins and half of the medicine we have left to travel back to Ibadan. You have all the knowledge you need to help these people. This is your chance to make a difference, now go.”

Before I realized it, Miss Adkins and I were headed back to my hometown after gathering the necessary supplies. Even though we traveled at a brisk pace, the journey still seemed to drag on for a very long time. As the sun rose the second day of our journey, a familiar scene was displayed in front of me. The local marketplace of the city of Ibadan welcomed us. I went to Adaoma, an elderly woman I had known since birth and asked her about the influenza outbreak and explained how we were there to help. She immediately pointed me in the direction straight toward the farm where I lived all my life up until recently. I sprinted up the steep hill leading to the farmhouse, opened the worn down wooden door, and was heartbroken after seeing the display in front of me. My youngest brother Idogbe, who was only four years old was lying lifelessly on the large wooden table with a shabby looking blanket on his body and a wet cloth on his forehead.

After the initial wave of emotions passed and I wiped the tears from my eyes, I set to work. I went through the step by step process for the treatment of influenza, the memory of Dr. Merriweather’s words in my mind. After about an hour, the procedure was completed. I looked up to see my mother staring at me with brokenness present in her facial expression. She seemed torn as to whether or not she should be happy I was home or not. After all, I had abandoned my family and put a halt to the family tradition, going against our beliefs. Before anyone could say a word, I took a deep breath, told everyone I loved them, and walked out the door.

I knew that there were other families with children on death’s door that needed help. This was only the beginning. Over the next thirty years of my life I traveled all over Nigeria helping and treating those who were suffering. I went back to visit my family, and even after the initial conflict from my decision, they eventually accepted me after seeing how Idogbe healed from the influenza through the treatment I gave him. Although my actions originally caused a schism within my family, in the end, my decision brought pride to my family after all I had done for them and others nearby.

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Credits:

Created with images by Taken - "cathedral column arch" • Ben_Kerckx - "image buddha meditation" • Devanath - "ank cross spiritual" • 1899441 - "abbey glass religion" • Alex Holyoake - "Religion" • hurk - "synagogue brighton church" • geralt - "cross sunset sunrise" • fusion-of-horizons - "Sinaia" • jeniffertn - "buddha religion buddhism" • sasint - "ancient architecture asia"

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