Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Poem of the Month (March, 2011): IF WE HAD CAMERAS


A camera
Doodle (Toronto: March 29, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

If We Had Cameras

We wouldn't need to write millions and millions of words
Whether 1971 crackdown on the East Pakistanis
Were a genocide or crimes against humanity
If we had cameras as we have now.

Presently our people have both film and digital cameras --
Kodak, Canon, Pentax, Fuji, Olympus, Sony, and Nikon,
Cameras galore thanks to increase in income,
Free-trade imports, students and migrant workers abroad.

1971 was the time when cameras weren't easy to find
Cameras were a luxury, a dearth possession in East Pakistan,
Due to its prices, non-import, and mass poverty of the people
Resulting in limited documentation of the profoundly important event.

If we had enough cameras we wouldn't need
To convince the international community
To see and understand the depth of the seriousness
Of the widespread atrocities of the West Pakistani soldiers and their local comrades.

We wouldn't need to convince
The international jury to convict
The criminals against humanity,
The un-Islamic activities of the self-avowed guardians of Islam.

In addition, we wouldn't need to prove
The communal hatred and brutal vengeance
Against the Hindu population of East Pakistan
And also rape of women of any religion and ethnic community.

Yet, whatever photos and written documents
Still available from local and foreign sources
Are enough to convict the perpetrators of the blood-thirsty genocide
That calls for the justice and "vengeance from heaven."

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