Sunday, May 17, 2009

Satellite View: A Poem by Thiru Sambandar

Thiru sent me his latest:


Satellite View


There will be lamentations
and regrets, there are already,
and recriminations. Why
did we allow the unthinkable
to fall down on those
hapless families
in tents and bunkers?

Why did we agree
only to informal
meetings
in the basement
of U.N. headquarters
before proposing
an emergency session

of the Human Rights
Council for next week?
After months of
slaughter, next week?
How long do we need
to assemble diplomats
of 47 countries

who live in greater
Geneva, some just
a walk away
from the roundtable?
I imagine the table
round like the large
hearts of hapless

bystander diplomats
before the rain
of terror, bombs
and mortar, metallic
lassos thrown
about Tamils
squared

in 2.5 kilometers
between lagoon
and sea, 50,000
civilians left
in that spit of Vanni,
numbers reduced by
tens and hundreds

every day. You ask
about other options,
such as India, or
stiffening terms
of the IMF loan,
an armed force
to separate the parties?

Yes, dear Romans,
we can choose to censure
miscreants. When a man
or state or rebel group
kill wantonly
we must stop him
or it, walk into

the line of sight,
settle the matter
with our most
special forces.
Who is right--
government
controlled by fanatics,

who believe
the island belongs
first to Sinhalese
while other
residents are subject
to extra-judicial
measures

such as roundups
in unmarked vans
and denouncing
for bizarre
collaborations
with terrorist
fighter jets--

or the aforementioned
liberation fighters?
Or do we have
the last word,
survivors of
streets of Geneva
or New York

or Beijing, suited
and stuffed
with ideals
or pragmatic like
moneylenders
weighing assets
of the nation

come to pawn
its Tamil jewels
in return for
a naval base,
a wedge around
India, uninterrupted
supply of fighter

jets and expert
advice in the art
of war, in the age
of CNN, where
the first principle
denies journalists
the chance to speak

with survivors
of the slaughter
which could have
been prevented
if prying eyes
along with
aid workers

from abroad
had been allowed
inside the Vanni
to accompany
local and expendable
employees,
Tamil speakers,

subject to pressure
from Tiger overlords,
whose pictures
of injured and dead
are stage sets,
according to
government,

whose reports
to BBC are spoken
while a Tiger
points a gun
at the telephone.
Come, come,
ye spokespersons,

do you take us
for imbeciles walking
into roundtables
in Western capitals
or even in Beijing?
When food, water,
medicine, and soft

drinks are scarce
in the theatre
of war, can supplies
of stage blood
be made available
like rain and heat,
mortar and missiles?



Thiru Sambandar May 14, 2009

7 comments:

sittingnut said...

did this poet right about those who were killed by ltte terrorists ? or those who would have been killed if ltte was allowed any more breathing space through ceasefire ?

why not? racist hypocrisy ?
poetry on behalf a murderers that is what this is

i celebrate ltte's end. and lives of those who were saved by that end.

Indran Amirthanayagam said...

I wonder if you have actually read the poem Sitting nut? Go to the lines about those who kill with wanton abandon. Who are these killers? The LTTE? The Army? Who?

All of the above?

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Leonard said...

as a kid i remember reading a poem about the burning of jaffna library.i think the poet one ?nahuman? and the picture it created was so evocative - buddha lying in a pool of blood on the steps of jaffna library.

ive been searching for that poem for a long time. never found it. care to help?

Indran Amirthanayagam said...

am trying to find that poem Leonard. will advise if/when I do. cheers. Indran

s.baileys said...

I wonder if, with the demise of the LTTE, we might see what has been going on in Sri Lanka since '48 (or whenever it was the island achieved independence)? I understand and respect the (erstwhile) political position of the LTTE, but must assert that, for the duration of the Eelam Wars, its actions have betrayed rather than defended the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamil. Now that the 'Tiger' is gone, I wonder if we might all wake up and see who is left...

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