Saturday, May 21, 2022

Middle East Encounter, a poem: Indran Amirthanayagam

Middle East Encounter

Seeds were roasted on za'atar and grape leaves stuffed

with sweetmeats. Falafel balls rolled on the platter

and hummus and babaganoush sloshed patiently

in bowls as we dipped pita bread and talked of atrocities

from the eternal front, but we spoke with joy as musicians

shook tambours and beat drums, as dancers raised hands

and swirled in front of us, and on arriving home you sent

me the latest articles, what Sunday scribes opined and

human rights groups, their press releases, even the U.N.

chief calling for investigation knowing that a vote

in the Security Council would be vetoed by one

or more of the permanent members. We know

the ritual. We know the score. But we go on,

exhausting all civil means, calling on morality,

shame, writing poems, appealing to the conscience

of presidents and prime ministers, that they insist

on unearthing truth, from where the errant or targeted

bullet came, and who must now take the blame.

Indran Amirthanayagam, c) May 15, 2022

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