(recovered from personal notes found in Hotel <NAME OMITTED>, Pala, Republic of <COUNTRY OMITTED>...redacted as necessary to protect confidentiality)
Today I arrived in Pala, <COUNTRY OMITTED>. I remember once upon a time reading about this place—back in the 70’s; Time Magazine called it “the jewel of Africa” and a “must-visit location for all lovers of timeless primordial beauty”. Of course, time changes all things, and (as they say at the altar) for better or for worse. It’d be interesting to see what those people would think of the place now.
To be sure, the “timeless primordial beauty” is intact. The mountains, the deserts, the waterfalls, the majestic sweep of the sun’s rise & set over the savannah…it is truly breathtaking. Everything else, though, has been changed by war—endless, incessant war. Clan fighting clan, brothers killing brothers, ostensibly to protect “the good of the people”.
The irony is apparent, even to me. The ‘people’? The years of fighting have distilled the population here to a stark purity--there are no more villages, only armed checkpoints; there are no more civilians, only hostiles. Factions don’t even have the manpower sufficient to fight their own battles anymore; there are more mercenaries now in-country than native inhabitants.
It would be noble to say that I’m here is to make a difference, to help my fellow man and make this world a better place. Given my purpose, some may say that my actions WILL make a difference & make this world a better place. However, this would not be true.
My name is Quarbani Singh, and I’m here to kill an arms dealer. His name is the Jackal. And once dead, I expect to be well-paid.