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Friday, November 29, 2019


by Probal Basak

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to defend her military against allegations of genocide at the International Court of Justice. The army is accused of targeting the country's Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017. A documentary being aired on Al Jazeera sheds new light on the abuses. Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid reports. —Al Jazeera, November 24, 2019

I’m Alfred, Suu, caged
in your dark cabinet. Once
a gilded trophy, now stained
with blood, Suu, I am here,
seeking freedom from fear.

Omar appears in my dreams
as red tears from the beachfront
of Cox’s Bazar flow like a stream,
Suu, do you know little Omar?

Omar met me at the town square at midnight,
waking from nightmares after the family burial,
to share dreams of rowing across the bloody sea.
In the fog of gunpowder, I walked by his side over
bruised sisters, raped mothers, dead fathers,
brothers boot-stamped.

No, Omar didn’t ask me to desert you,
Suu. It’s me, haunted by bloodshed,
your glittering bearded Alfred.
It’s time you loosen my harness.

Oh! Suu, my silent mistress!
I too want to cross over to join
Omar at Cox’s Bazar.

Oh!  The power of powerless
chokes me here, Suu, I am here,
seeking freedom from fear.

Probal Basak is employed as on officer with the Department of Information & Cultural Affairs, Government of West Bengal, India. His parents, refugees from Bangladesh, settled in West Bengal during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. Probal grew up hearing stories of of the suffering of millions of migrated people.