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Oration for a dead hero

My husband died a national hero, exalted by the president. But I know them both for worthless dogs

By Petina Gappah   June 2007

The bugle call shatters the stillness of the shrine. Familiar though the sound is, its haunting melancholy cannot fail to move. Even the president seems misty-eyed behind his glasses. Close to him in the widow’s place of honour, I am aware of his every movement. I watch him without moving my eyes. Perhaps it is not mist in his eyes but the film of my own sudden tears that I see. The badges sprinkled on his sash of office shimmer and recede against the green of the material.

He brings his hands together in a clasp that puts the sinews…

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