A Plea, a Poem

I have not had the pleasure of having a guest post prior to this, and I am extremely happy that this is my first one. At the moment, the situation in Bangladesh is chaotic at best, destructive at worst. My brother, a writer from that part of the world, currently living abroad but every bit as Bangladeshi as those suffering from the upheavals back home – and certainly more so than the selfish minority causing them – recently wrote about it. Instead of trying and failing to explain his work, I am attaching his piece along with a plea that he agreed to post with it. He asks that anyone who is genuinely interested in this situation spread the word and get the world to notice. He is happy to answer any questions or elaborate, should you wish to get in touch with him.

Bangladesh is dying a slow, painful death in the blind-spot of the world. My fellow countrymen and I have let the country down repeatedly, and we find ourselves staring down a familiar abyss once more. My frustration, desperation and depression, accentuated by feelings of inadequacy and insignificance, boiled over today and took the form of a poem, a plea, a prayer. I had to share it with you because I, and many others, hold out hope for a golden sky at the end of this storm. To achieve that, we need the attention of the world.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and, if it is any good, sharing it with people like yourself who can genuinely care about my country and its people. You have the gratitude of a repentant Bangladeshi. If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to ask. All I want in return is help for my motherland.

 Very best,

 Ikhtisad

Website: http://www.ikhtisadahmed.com

Twitter: @ikhtisad

 

Thine Kingdom Is Mine

 

Nazrul died today, newspaper says,

Spelt his name wrong, common mistake:

Unimportant, not an op-ed or commentary,

What does it matter anyway?

Father is well and mother survives,

My abode keeps me warm –

Veritable ivory tower, for far away

It is from the damned land.

 

Boy of nine this time, breaking news,

Left on the street to rot, fitting;

You want his name? Perish

The thought, who knows such things?

Father is well and mother survives,

They have democracy for comfort,

And fire on the streets for warmth,

No comparison with my “Communist Manifesto”.

 

Beaten copy, I pat once again –

Feign horror, cry for salvation,

Crocodile tears learnt from the master:

Young leader in pin-striped suit,

Champagne and caviar at night,

Saves us with chest-thumping by day,

Pretence for golden ticket, another slight,

A minister he will be tomorrow, celebrate!

 

His raping and pillaging will have to wait –

Doctor tries to resuscitate a corpse,

One more, what is the difference?

The elders speak of democracy,

Their time is now, we are saved!

Father is well and mother survives,

Wheels turn, world goes round, 

Today’s leaders do so much for us!

 

My gratitude almost given before

Sufiya’s burnt, beaten, blood-stained

Body into focus comes, in print and on screen –

One question: fat or pregnant?

Obesity averted or over-population tackled?

Victory for leaders either way;

Father is well and mother survives,

Join me here they will, together to thrive.

 

Green and red held above our heads,

Pictures I see of celebrations –

Leaders young and old have their say, I 

Join my countrymen from distant land

In their pride on this meaningless sacred day;

Father is well, but mother is silent,

Think nothing of it, she has democracy

To pull her through for decades more.

 

Mother is dead I am told –

First flight to Bangladesh, empty

Going that way, foolish to pay full price;

Plane descends, but no water in the land

Of rivers I see, only hues of red

All over, ablaze and flowing,

Turning, twisting, repeating;

Why am I even here, I wonder?

 

Funeral day, no-one left to mourn,

Nazrul, Sufiya, the nine year-old –

All too selfish, not here beside me;

Second problem: no place to bury,

Left and right I search, we have democracy

This cannot possibly be!

The columns, the talk-shows, the biases:

They were convincing, they assured me!

 

Toss her in the fire, cremation,

Paid the big bucks for my innovation

I am, now back I go, no time to mourn.

Before boarding chartered plane,

With a camera in my face, I say a word,

Maybe even two, I cannot stop!

Limelight seized, father is well

And we have democracy I tell.

 

Too long I spend being self-important,

Something mispoken or a step taken wrong –

They come and take me away,

Today I will die, they say.

This is democracy, I understand,

If not them then the other side

Will kill me for sure, I know this fact;

“Oh mother, what have I done?” I never ask,

No tears forthcoming, why should they?

I feel nothing, those who do are long dead.

 

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