Looking the murderer in the face

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(thanks to Ai Wei Wei & Gillian Slovo)

He recommends compliance,
showing the guards some empathy -
a strategy I’ve heard before
to survive incarceration
with the hope of getting free.

I can’t criticise such behaviour,
I’ve not been where they have gone,
but doubt I could have done so,
even if I thought it would have worked,
my rage seems much too strong.

I don’t think that I am braver,
on the contrary nowhere near,
but, as the son of a policeman,
there’s one question I must ask -
why is the torturer still here?

Why do you beat up protesters,
fire shells of CS gas,
or real bullets into crowds
of your own people
when you’re tasked?

Are you really without a conscience?
Does an order make you right?
That lie has been decided long ago
and, even if it wasn’t,
how do you still sleep at night?

Men (and women too) in uniform
are here for our defence,
or so the story goes,
then, when you’re used against us,
how does that make any sense?

“They’re trouble-makers, criminals
who deserve the pain they get.”
Do you actually believe it?
Are your bosses on your side?
Have you not got it yet ..

.. that they’re the real gangsters
who rob and murder without qualm
to hold on to power and wealth
while letting fools like you
be the ones who to come to harm?

No, I cannot find it in me
to forgive your ignorance,
while so many have to suffer
with their minds and their bodies
for your blind obedience.

rs 18.9.19

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