• Harun Shabazz

City of Carthage

The scorching sun was unbearable within the fortified walls surrounding the City of Carthage that day some two thousands years ago. I walked upon the ruins while the city was still burning to the ground. I could feel the heat from the flaming barricades as I passed by. Columns of black smoke filled the air. The stench of death was everywhere. Every street, every building, every home, and every temple had become a battlefield, a killing field, a graveyard where tens of thousands of the dead lay unburied. There was no mercy for those who surrendered—if not executed, then sold into slavery was their fate.

What is this?" I asked in a language not of my own. My eyes were glazed over by the misery that lied before me.

"It's hell here on Earth," an old man answered in his own tongue.

"Hell?" I asked.

"A siege that had lasted two years," he cried, "before the demonic Romans had broken through our defenses and slaughtered my people."

"Oh Carthage, are thou not but a sign for all mankind," I whispered to myself, "a warning to generations to come, the foretelling of the chaos and madness that seize men, a testament of the cruelty of tribe against tribe, nation against nation, race against race, a sign of the lie that we are living?"

*******

"Sir, I think the library is closing," a young woman said as she looked down on me with soft hazel eyes.

"Closing," I asked as I pushed aside the book I was reading—The Warring Culture of the Roman Empire. I had lost track of time since taking refuge at the city library—losing myself in the books housed in the history department.

"Is everything all right," she asked. "You don't look too well."

"It was real hot there," 

"Hot where?" 

"In the City of Carthage,"

"Carthage?" she asked, looking puzzled.

" God is giving me a sign," I said. "A sign about the nature of man."

"What about man's nature?" 

"I'm not sure. Perhaps, why we are the way we are—the dark side of ourselves."