The Antimilitarist By Anne-Marie Smith

I came into the world, acted up as a child, made demands and dared take risks, acting as if I was special. I dug my feet into the ground. I cut my hair short. I talked and talked till everyone fell asleep. I wept and cried. Recovering from being sad, I giggled and howled with laughter. I studied, worked and organised myself. I followed role models. I learnt languages and spoke them in a French accent. I tried to do calligraphy. I tried to sing and draw. I gave up the piano. I travelled around England. I danced to rock and roll. Then I left. I left my little brother behind with my family. I went to Africa. I had a premature baby in a remote hospital. He was born, at the heart of Central Africa at the source of the Zambezi River. There was no electricity or telephones, and I wrote aerogram letters to Europe. My work continued in English wherever I lived. I spoke bilingually in the home for the rest of my life. I travelled from Zambia to Tanzania and Zaire. I went to Mozambique, Botswana, crossing South Africa and Zimbabwe. I visited the Victoria Falls so impressive yet frightening for my small child. We shared a campsite with some monkeys watching the hippopotami. Once I stepped into Angola during their civil war with my tiny baby. Portuguese soldiers wanted to take turn holding him. That is the only time I was frightened in life. I saw guns next to my peaceful baby. They handed him back to me. To this day I remain an antimilitarist.


in Australia

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I am a French Australian linguist and love writing about cultural experiences. I spent years teaching English in a multilingual context and published an Anthology and a Memoir. I live in Adelaide.

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