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  • Writer's pictureKara San

Are you playing a numbers game?

I.

The world watches

In indifference

As a country is plunged into darkness,

Its baby steps towards a semblance

Of democracy

Reduced to nothing,

As the dictator came before sunrise

To usurp the place he believes should be his.


The world outside talks of

Karma, genocide, retribution,

Glaringly ignorant that the plight of the minorities —

Including those they pretend to be experts on

— will only get worse.


II.

The adults stop working,

Halt bureaucracy,

To make their discontent known.

The youths march,

Appeal to humour in hopes of going viral,

So the world may finally pay attention

To boys in skirts,

Relatable captions,

Maid dresses, pride, comic book heroes,

Dancing pallbearers, a (not-)horrible goose,

Pop culture references,

Anything to make the peaceful protests

A topic of interest.

For the world to care a little.

Automobile “breakdowns”,

Picking onions, tying shoelace,

Marching in circles,

Creative little acts of resistance

Circumventing laws conceived overnight.

III.

Water cannons, guns, fake protestors

For junta-controlled broadcasts

As an excuse to fire at

Unarmed, unprotected civilians.

Live rounds, rubber bullets,

And unfamiliar terms, distanced through the medium

Of the internet, pixels forming letters, forming words, pictures,

After the first known casualty.


The bullet came from behind,

Cleanly lodged itself in her skull,

She dropped like a marionette whose strings had been cut,

Abrupt, heavy, limp,

Lifeless.

Her future ripped from her

Before her twentieth year.


IV.

The minorities join

Even as outside voices continue to yell

Over them.


Conferences, international meetings,

Leaders and representatives

Voice their disapproval,

Issue stern warnings,

“The world is watching”

And doing nothing.

“Internal affair”, “strongly urge”,

“Exercise restraint”

Ineffective words.

“Separation between politics and business”

A death sentence

Packaged as practicality.

How dare you

Put a price on lives needlessly lost?

Even as the numbers climb,

Unreported deaths in areas

Unbroadcast,

The blood of minorities

Reduced to statistics.


V.

Sleepless nights,

Released convicts,

Arrests—abductions—in the dark,

Drugged orphans setting fire

To homes, the threat of death dangling

Over them if they do not obey,

The young medic whose skull exploded,

Turned to shrapnel

For trying

fruitlessly

To save another life,

Forfeiting his own.

His last words those

Of a boy who had nothing,

And lost more still.


VI.

How much are the lives of these

Innocent civilians worth?

How much until they are more than simply

Collateral damage for your blood business?

How much until action

Speaks, instead of words?

How much before the spirit of a nation,

Delicately united for the first time,

Breaks again?


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