June 15, 2003 - Buy Books on the Web: State of Decay by CAR RPCV Robert Gribbin
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June 15, 2003 - Buy Books on the Web: State of Decay by CAR RPCV Robert Gribbin
State of Decay by Central African Republic RPCV Robert Gribbin
Read and comment on this excerpt from the book "State of Decay" by Central African Republic RPCV Robert Gribbin in this book that reflects the mysteries of Africa and the passions of its people at:
State of Decay *
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State of Decay
by: Robert Gribbin
ISBN: 0-7414-0587-3 ©2001
Book Size: 5.5 x 8.5, 156 pages
Against the backdrop of contemporary Africa, political prisoner Jean Mabito escapes from jail. Following his conscience, he sparks a revolution that attempts to sweep the corrupt blood-drenched tyrant from power. Clandestine political forces and even black magic, cynically observed by jaundiced diplomatic personnel, rally to his cause. Mabito joins with a disgruntled professional hunter and a beautiful English conservationist, who themselves are combating elephant poachers, in order to further his quest. Full of intrigue, political violence, blood diamonds, witchcraft and poaching, the tale of Mabito’s challenge reflects the mysteries of Africa and the passions of its people.
STATE OF DECAY
It was not yet dawn. The prison was still settled, but it never slept. Stifled cries and moans punctuated dreams and memories of three thousand inhabitants, men and women, jammed together behind the mud-daubed walls of the "house of death." The prison itself was a massive old fortress whose sheer walls rose thirty feet from the outside river plain. Crenellated towers on each corner provided watch posts for inattentive guards who snoozed in the quiet hour before daybreak. Below them, the main entrance's large double-hung gate - incongruously framed by several large white flowering, sweet-smelling frangipani trees - admitted arrivals to an interior courtyard. An office block was built into the external wall to the right. The first door led to the visitors' room. There, families brought food on a weekly basis to supplement the meager provisions provided by the jail. Lucky and patient family members who succeeded in bribing a guard occasionally got a short visit with their imprisoned relative as well.
Thirty meters across from the office block was a line of a dozen individual cells reserved for political prisoners or those formally awaiting execution. The courtyard was paved with flat river rocks held together by decaying concrete. Although swept daily, the courtyard's ever present veneer of dust or mud retained the stench of hopeless prison sweat. Two other sets of gates led from the first courtyard to smaller interior open spaces, one of which served as the kitchen and the other as an exercise yard for the large dormitories that housed most inmates.
Jean's chains clanked as he shifted, a noise he hardly recognized any longer. Instead he listened intently for the faint cockcrows and bird calls which floated through the predawn quiet into his cramped cell. It was one measure of reality, which he sought daily. Cellmates "Professor" and "Courage" rasped quietly in their slumber. Soon another day in prison, Jean's four hundredth and twelfth, would begin - its monotony marked only by the daily rituals and fears of prison life. Jean's mind floated out to the birds, to the freedom of the past.
The day, the hour, the minute his life changed was etched starkly in his mind. It had been the morning of a hot February day. In his office at the airport, Jean perused the weather bulletin. These are hardly worth printing, he thought. The weather in Central Africa rarely changed, especially in February; no rain in sight, just hazy, smoky, overcast skies. Farmers, including those who brazenly planted up to the runway's edge, burned fields for later planting. The resultant smoke hung in the air. From on high it severely reduced visibility and even obscured the horizon. Jean was mulling over a high or low flight, thinking that he would have to ensure a short turn around in Bambari in order to avoid darkness on the way back.
Jean admired his reflection in the windowpane. His new light gray pilot's shirt complimented him well. He also liked the new pilot's hat. A friend brought him the outfit from Paris just last week. At nearly six feet, he was tall for a Central African and had been athletic in school. His face was narrow, skin quite dark and he wore his hair cropped short. Turning back to his desk, Jean pulled out the cargo form the police required to be filed with every flight plan.
Jean was startled at the thump of an explosion. "Not so far away," he said reflexively. Then the rattle of rifle fire filtered through the window. He heard distant screams and cries. Something was going on over at the main terminal. A cold feeling struck his gut. "Felix is actually doing it," he muttered to himself, "trying to kill the president."
His Supreme Excellency, President of the Oubangui Republic, Lion of Central Africa, Marc Simplice Bassia stood among the carnage of his bodyguards waving his cane, screaming at the imbeciles to shoot back. One grenade had exploded ten meters away, killing or maiming half a dozen of his entourage. Luckily the portly frame of Ambassador Ouada had absorbed shrapnel meant for Bassia. A second grenade lay at his feet. An old soldier, Bassia saw instinctively that the pin had not been pulled. He railed and ranted, but like the battle-hardened sergeant he was, directed his men to action. In the withering fire they laid down, two attackers died along with a dozen traditional dancers and a few airport workers. Bullets whined and ricocheted off the concrete posts supporting the airport's VIP lounge, wounding several more of Bassia's cohorts. As clips were expended, the crackle of gunfire was replaced by the wails of the wounded and screams of the terrified. Bassia retreated unscathed into the sanctuary of the lounge. Ensconced in the cocoon of wide-eyed security thugs, Bassia promised. "The real bloodbath will begin now."
Outside, mopping up operations commenced. Regaining some of his composure, Captain Boukanga, commander of the airport security detachment, rallied his troops. He delegated a platoon to set up a perimeter around the VIP lounge, an exercise they had practiced before. The wounded could wait. The tower reported itself secure. Boukanga ordered it reinforced, the airport closed and directed a military sweep through the terminal, the hangars, offices and the aero-club. The thousand or so spectators, who had come arrayed in party shirts to chant the praises of the "Lion" upon his departure, were torn by the desire to flee and the desire to watch. This potential coup d'etat was great theater, and a mob of a hundred or so lingered in the trees on the far side of the parking lot waiting to see what would happen next. Disgusted, Boukanga fired in the air towards them. Taking this cue, two soldiers opened up on the group as well. The observers fled towards town.
Only the presidential helicopter was on the ramp, so the terminal was nearly empty. Airport staff and hangers-on were herded into the main departure hall for interrogation. Boukanga positioned a detachment of ten to keep an eye on them as he and others re-searched the complex of offices, shops, corridors and other rooms that comprised the passenger terminal. Shooting erupted outside near a hangar. Boukanga learned from his hand held radio that one or more would-be assassins were trapped there. He hurried over to survey the scene. A half dozen of his men had taken positions behind vehicles and bushes from where they covered the large hanger opening. Another group had circled behind to guard other exits. They shot sporadically into the building and explained that one or more armed men had entered it. They had returned fire at least once. The captain ensured that the building was surrounded and that
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My name is François Mboti. I would like to find contact informations about RPCV Robert Gribbin who wrote the roman STATE OF DECAY.
Thank you very much and sincere considerations.