Tag Archive: equality


For Tony Benn
( 1925 – 2014 )

You have not passed silently into the coming night,

your conscience towers above the brittle edifice of capital and of greed,

for as long as there remain hungry mouths to feed,

your soul is enmeshed within our collective whole.

You have not passed silently into the coming night.

Your battle is done,

the war!

the war is far from won!

So we pick up your scarlet standard,

and we continue to rattle the foundations at No. 10,

though today,

today,

we pause,

today we say,

‘Hamba Kahle’*,

to you,

our comrade,

our leader,

our towering ‘Big Benn’.

for Anthony Neil Wedgwood “Tony” Benn.

(3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014)

* – ‘Hamba Kahle’ means ‘go well’ in isiXhosa/isiZulu

Hamba Kahle, Commander-in-Chief!

1.

Travel well, Commander, your long march is over,

Rest now, Commissar, you are with our departed comrades-in-arms.

2.

We shall not rest, Nelson Mandela!

We dare not rest,

we cannot rest,

we will not rest,

the struggle continues,

now,

today!

3.

Hamba Kahle, Commander-in-Chief,

your long walk is over,

rest now, Commissar, you are with our departed comrades-in-arms,

you are with us,

now,

today!

Hamba Kahle, Commander-in-Chief!

Hamba Kahle, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela!

Amandla!

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

The People Shall Govern!

All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights!

The People Shall Share in the Country`s Wealth!

The Land Shall be Shared Among Those Who Work It!

All Shall be Equal Before the Law!

All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights!

There Shall be Work and Security!

The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened!

There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort!

There Shall be Peace and Friendship!

Viva the revolutionary spirit of Nelson Mandela!

South Africa salutes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr!

They gunned you down,
on this April day,
all those years ago,

yet you live, you breathe!

They gunned you down,
just as they did Chris Hani and M.K. Gandhi,

and they failed, as they always will,

for they can never kill,

your dream, your ideals.

Your dream, your ideals,

live, and breathe,

still!

 

I remember the tears she shed,

as she longed for her distant abode,

she wept often then, as she pined for her children, Tasneem & Azad,

 

and felt the future looked bleak, on that dim, lonely road.

 

I remember the tears she shed,

when that telegram came one afternoon,

‘regret to inform you stop father passed away stop’,

 

She wept often after that, for their last goodbye had been said too soon.

 

I remember the tears she shed,

on that glorious day in a February not that long ago,

when the prisoner finally walked out, breathing the free air,

 

she wept less after that, for then she knew where they were to go.

 

I remember the tears she shed,

soaring high above the clouds heading back to her land,

those tears came out in soft sobs, but her eyes were smiling,

 

defiant and full of new hope, as she held tightly on to his wrinkled hand.

 

I remember the tears she shed,

some years later, on that peaceful late April morning,

when she stood and proudly bore the ink on her aging thumb,

 

she wept a lot that April evening, knowing that a new day was dawning.

 

I also remember that on a Thursday not long ago,

as she was slipping away slowly, she seemed not to weep,

after all the miles and places, and after all the tears that she had cried,

 

I remember that she wept little then, as she drifted off into an eternal sleep.

 

(for my mother, Zubeida Moolla 1934 – 2008)

 

 

Remember us…

(Dedicated to the countless South Africans who gave their lives for freedom and democracy)

 

Remember us when you pass this way,

 

We who fell,

Who bled,

 

Remember us when you pass this way,

We who fell so that countless others may stand,

We who bore the brunt of the oppressor’s hand.

 

Remember us when you pass this way,

Leave a flower or two as you pass along,

Sing! Sing for us a joyous & spirited song.

 

Remember us when you pass this way,

 

We who fell,

Who bled,

 

Remember us when you pass this way.

 

Remember us in your tomorrows,

As you remember us today

 

Amandla! The Struggle Continues…

Colours,
hues,
shades,
of difference,

mingling on a canvas.

Your dream became,

our shared vision,
our collective hope,

of black, and of white,
and of rainbows,

that merge,

flowing,
to a confluence,

of harmony,

within sight,
without despair,

within beating hearts,
without invisible walls,

as we pledge,
today,
and forever more,

to honour your dream,
and build on your sacrifice,

to shun narrow visions,
of divisive gloom.

Today,
we embrace,

all colours,
every hue,
and the countless shades,

of difference,

as we,

your torch-bearers,

plant the seeds,
of the flowers of peace,
of tolerance,
of justice.

And as we nourish,
those flowers,

we know,
we know,
we know,

that the flowers of peace,
of tolerance,
of equality,
of justice,

will, and must,

inevitability bloom

And When the People Rise!

and when the people rise

exhausted

of being bludgeoned

by the jackboot of suppression

 

the demand is simple

 

change

 

for the better

 

not the hollow, empty rhetoric of ‘freedom’

heard in the corridors of power

 

the demand is simple

 

change

 

for the better

 

a better life

devoid of the tyranny of rampant power

without the imposition of mores and norms

free of the shackles of the party-line

the religious diktat

the militaristic hammer

 

and when the people rise

inflamed

by the ceaseless abuse of power

as the old-guard refuses to see the writing scrawled across the wall

 

‘change’

 

a simple demand

 

for the better

 

a better life

for the living and for the ones still to be born

 

the writing scrawled across the wall, and walls across the world

 

is simple

 

‘change’

 

for the better

a new way to forge the future

with fresh ideas and the opening up of the boulevards

of opportunity for those who have remained outside for too long

 

and when the people rise

hopeful

of the promise of a new dawn

the future is a blank-slate lying amidst the debris

 

for if the rising of the people

prevails

a beginning may be written anew

out of the seed of change which into a tree of promise grew

 

a new beginning may be written afresh

with the values of simple humanity and gentle tolerance

so that what has passed and what has been endured may never

be visited again on those to come, and on those who bear the wounds on their flesh

 

for when the rising of the people

prevails

the road ahead may be fraught with thorns and more pain

for change is pock-marked with the scars of the past, and the memories do indeed remain

 

so when the rising of the people

prevails

the hope is for the common good, for the tolerance of the one and of all

 

the hope is for a better, more just today, and a tomorrow where the ideals of justice and of truth are firmly rooted, never to be shaken

 

the hope is that in the name of peace and humanity, may the new oath be taken

 

So, if you want to really know,
what a mother’s agonised scream sounds like,

take a walk in Gaza today,

she will bear her broken heart,
as she bore the coffin that held her 11 month old child’s body,
as it lay lifelessly broken and torn apart.

The mother screams in anger and in pain,
her howls and shrieks echo on the bloodied plain,

so take a walk in Gaza today,

and feel the rage that a mother nurses,
and bear the brunt of a mother’s curses.

You see, she laid her little baby in the cold, blood-soaked ground,

while you diplomats and peacemakers and politicians were buzzing around,

so stop buzzing,

and take a walk in Gaza today,

and for once,

for once,
listen to what a mother has to say,

“they’ve rained down death on us for years,
they’ve torched our olive groves while you have shut your collective ears,

they’ve killed our children over and over and over again,
and we’ve cried oceans of tears that have disappeared down the drain,

so tell me as I cradle my dead baby in my hand,

who gives a damn?”.

This is what you will hear when you walk in Gaza today.

It is what you have heard for years and years now,

and all I can think as I write these words is ‘how?’,

how could you fail,
you peacemakers and diplomats and politicians,

how could you fail the mothers of Gaza,
over and over and over again,

is it because Gaza’s mothers’ tears are forgotten,

because they simply disappear down the drain.

And how can you not stem that ocean of tears,

cried by countless mothers,
and fathers,
and children whose eyes are blinded by inexpressible pain,
and whose days are haunted, not by phantoms,
but by living fears.

So can you take a walk in Gaza today?

and what possibly could you have to say?

to the numberless mothers who have cried oceans of tears,

again and again and again,

or are Gaza’s mothers’ tears forgotten,

because they simply disappear down the drain.


(for the people of Gaza and the Occupied Territories)

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