Tag Archive: human-rights


repost: ‘a child of war’

as she lies bleeding,
the girl who skipped, hopped to school,
all of nine and a half years old,
with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her parent’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,
she stares at her skipping rope,
as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.

as she lies bleeding,
she sees people all around thick black smoke,
blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,
hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.

as she lies bleeding,
she slips away and then she is dead,
a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her mother’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
for even in death she bleeds some more,
shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,
stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …

in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,
leningrad in ‘42,
freetown in ‘98,
soweto in ‘76,
jenin in ‘02,
hanoi in ‘68,
beirut in ‘85,

raqqa now,
basra still,
gaza too.

as she lies bleeding,
a little nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her parent’s pride,
we know she’ll bleed more,

tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,

with shrapnel in her stomach,
ripped open and torn.

as she lies bleeding.

image

pic from google

N O T
          I N 
                M Y
                       N A M E …

forgotten decades

yesterday reaches
straining to hear

cries of decades lost

half-forgotten
inaudible

ancient history

now
barely a strand

and that too
adrift

alone

but

but

still
etched

if
for an instant

across endless nights
yet to dawn

hugging hope

years days moments minutes hours months weeks decades,

pockmarked,
weary,

skidding,
clinging onto,
raging roads,

hobbled,
shovelled,
dragged deep,

wrestling demons without,
within,

yet always,
always,

hugging hope,

as night yawns,
and a new day dawns …

talkin’ double-standerds blues

i am bewildered,

the hypocrisy wrapped up and glistening,

plastic foil skin deep,

disregardin’ the ‘others’,

yet we feel pain,

&

yes we weep,

for ‘our own’,

cos’ ‘our’ pain is true,

and,

‘they’ after all,

are savages,

&

ingrates too,

they bite the very paws of those who kindly let them out of the zoo,

so don’t stand there so smug & fuelled by righteous passion,

’cause you and i know that soon we’ll be last decades’ spent fashion,

i don’t know if you’re catching my drift,

or am i being simple,

nuanced subtleties being in short-shrift,

i don’t even know if that sentence makes any sense,

or any of the yakkitty yak yak i scribble,

but i swear i can feel it,

machete-like in my bones,

my own hypocrisy slithering within,

as i you him her we she he & coming back to i again,

wrapping ourselves in that awful plastic foil,

skin-deep,

all as we drizzle lemonsalt on long open wounds,

rubbing some depleted uranium in there so it really stings,

while we shop till we drop,

&

while we pray for the glorious bounties the next shopping-mall brings

ps: rest in peace, empathy & compassion

peace | love | uBuntu

May-Day!

May Day!

A distress call,
echoes over the seas,
working men and women,
shackled, bound by wage slavery,
rise, as one, united, voiceless no more.

‘all frequencies jammed’,

‘we apologise for the inconvenience’

May-Day!

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…

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

 

Assaulted on all sides,
by the promise of faux-bliss,
etched on designer labels.

Dutifully acquiescing,
as we gleefully get herded,
into styrofoam stables.

Humanity traded at bargain prices,
carefully julienned into bite-sized slices.

There has to be another way,
where dreams and truths aren’t brittle as clay.

I have to believe in that less harsh, more just way,
where wanton greed is kept at bay..

I do believe in that better way,
when people see people again.

I do believe in the promise of that day,

when hunger and despair,
when anguish and pain,
when injustice and tyranny,

is finally,

and at long last,

swept away

Transparently unseen,
lonely souls walking on,
slipping between raindrops,
curling between folds of reality,
twisting in dreary, worn-out skins.

Moulting, peeling off, discarding,
worn-down corpses edging towards,
whistling crowds of leering stares,
wasted on insipid momentary sighs,
where collective consciences lay mute.

Opaque words flounder, seeking, begging,
wooden excuses swept up in dusty screams,
bellowing unspoken profanities in solitude,
sweltering amongst boneless patriarchs,
where impotence teeters on the brink of reason.

Rivers of unreason roll on, ceaselessly,
watering the sordid thoughts and empty voices,
filtering out warmth and empathy, drilling,
deeper into a callousness that embraces,
coddles, nourishing nothing but putrid decay

Victims,
children. Women. Girls. Boys. Nieces. Sisters. Brothers. Nephews. Friends. Colleagues. Wives. Husbands.

Predators,
fathers. Brothers. Nephews. Uncles. Grandfathers. Colleagues. Engineers. Priests. Doctors. Maulanas. Lawyers. Pandits. Artists. Rabbis. Politicians. Librarians.

Innocence desecrated,
childhoods ravaged,
lives torn apart,
dreams broken.

Yet,

still we hide,
behind the flimsy veneer of ‘respectability’,
as we pray and preach and buy and sell and enjoy our obligatory vacations.

But,
we are nothing.

Impotent.

Complicit.

Guilty by inaction.

Hushed spectators,
of an endless parade of innocence stripped,
of dignity ripped,
of whiskey sipped,

while,

our innocents condemn us with their hollowed blank eyes.

So,

when will we slip out of our designer skins,
our glistening automobiles,

the cologne-filled lounges, heaving dinner-tables,
pretty homes, marble table-tops,

prettier gardens,
our lost humanity and our loud self-righteousness,
innured minds and our buzzing televisions,
stock-options, time-shares by the coast,

all the while witnessing the spirits of innocence turn,
around and around,
impaled by skewers on a slow roast.

When will we wake up from our collective slumber,
our un-postponeable feast,
the spectacle of betrayal by neglect.

We should,

soon.

For the victims continue to condemn us with their hollow,
pleading eyes

She was no more than 10 years of age.
He could have been a grandfather.

Young, old, women, girls, men, boys.

108 lives.

Now they are buried,
in hurriedly dug graves,
on the plains of Houla.

Killed by knives,
shot at point-blank range,
slaughtered, mowed-down.

108 lives.

Snuffed-out. Decimated. Taken-out.

108 lives.

As Damascus lies blatantly,
spewing forth untruth,
108 warm, dead bodies,
remain buried,
in hurriedly dug graves,
on the plains of Houla.

108 lives

When Tyrants Tremble

when tyrants tremble
at the fury of those who tremble no more

their veneer of stability seems rotten to the core

when the trembling ones shake off their long-hushed fear

the trembling ones
tremble now with a rage that injustice everywhere can hear

when tyrants tremble
as the dispossessed shake their foundations of tyrannical conceit

tyrants tremble
when the common ones expose the phantoms of tyranny’s deceit

when the trembling ones
refuse to be cowed and bowed and beaten down again

the trembling ones
scream their vehemence as they have little to lose and freedom and dignity to gain

when tyrants tremble
their trembling resounds and echoes around the world

tyrants tremble
then in each far-flung tyranny at the peoples’ flag being unfurled

and finally when the trembling ones
take back the citadels, the streets, the squares, and the parks

the trembling ones
send a message to power that revolutions may be triggered by the merest of livid sparks

and that tyranny may reign for a decade or a generation or even two

but tyranny must eventually succumb to the rage of the common ones that appears suddenly out of the bright clear blue

this isn’t a warning or a threat or a declaration of ill intent

this is a sober lesson in history for the peoples’ history with oppressive stasis can never be content

when tyrants tremble
they should know that there will someday come a trembling surprise

for the garbage heap of history patiently awaits each tyrant’s wretched demise

as you continue the struggle some more, today for life…

‘it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die’ you said, all those years ago

as you stood in the dock awaiting the sentence of death

they locked you up instead

for 27 hard and long and arduous years

you stood firm
you never wavered
you gave hope to us all

and then when they could no longer keep up their unjust tyranny

you emerged into the light of freedom

your hand raised in a defiant fist in the february Cape Town air

– Amandla!

you then weaved and bobbed and fought some more, the boxer in you always present

you fought for peace in our land

for us all you fought

and then came that glorious day

when you were our president

and we laughed and we cried

and you fought for us even more

today you fight a different fight

for life, and we are helpless

we, who you fought for all along

have only hope and prayer and song and wishes of life for you

today, you fight some more

may you fight for life some more, Tata Madiba!

and may you prevail

for you are our father

and father, your children call out to you once more

with wishes
prayers
songs

your children wish for you, to remain here with us some more

and though helpless your children may be

in this battle that you wage for life today

and though frail and old your body is

your indomitable spirit smiles that inimitable Madiba smile

your spirit resides in each of us

your loving children

amandla!

 

you are our eternal inspiration

our hopes
our dreams
our conscience

you gave everything of yourself
so that we may live and love and laugh and dream and breathe the air of freedom, dignity and liberty

you lead us through the darkest days with your unshakeable principles and your belief in us

you brought peace and freedom to us

and when at times we felt all was lost

you stayed with us as a father would

you lent us your wisdom
and you chastised us too

and we are here today because of you
you stayed with us, Nelson Rolihlala ‘Madiba’ Mandela, through all the crests and valleys of our turbulent times

you stayed with us, father
today, we hope and pray and wish
that you, our father Madiba
stay with us still
stay with us, Madiba
stay with us…

it seeps in through gradual osmosis

and soon is ingrained in pliant minds

it mutates and thrives in tunnels of vision

and then is fused into the fiber of unreason

the quiet hypocrisy that drips of the tongues

spouting broken words of unfathomable callousness

the mutilated reeking carcass of cynicism

obscured by the veneer of polished discourse

stinks of inaction and of insipid rationalization

the probing and prodding and splintering of each thought

curdles the shallow layer of feeling

interring the basic simple and only humanity

that is gleefully ripped into isolated fragments

the quiet hypocrisy of battles fought and of causes embraced

is plain to see in the faces of the earnest

as they cling onto their bitter loathsome prejudices

whilst buying redemption under a placard of well-meaning

the quiet hypocrisy of these selective battles waged under the flimsy pretense of caring

stinks to the highest heaven promised in mantras and duas and prayers and chants

as the spectacle of the apartheid within the mind is worn on each tailored sleeve

the choosing of these battles in the name of faith and clung onto simply because of a common creed

is a pathetic spectacle of segregated thought

buried under the folds of righteous bluster

so before you jump on that bandwagon of indignation because ‘your’ people are in pain

take a look at the hidden fascism that simmers just below your holier-than-thou sudden spurt of heartfelt rage

for the quiet hypocrisy that is unknowingly imbibed

is apparent for all to behold

for when the ‘other’ endure the injustice carried out in ‘your’ peoples’ name

you stand mute and silently complicit for your indignation simply melts away

as the quiet hypocrisy that is firmly rooted in you

exults in pious pretences while ‘your’ own continue to hate, rape, pillage and slay

it saddens me that so much vitriol drips off my pen in such effervescent times

but I cringe as each moment another quiet hypocrite rants about the despotism of the ‘other’

while smiling complacently and smugly and soaking in the quiet hypocrisy of remaining mute about ‘my’ peoples’ own crimes

%d bloggers like this: