THE DILEMMA OF A GENERATION
Represents not just the struggle in Tunisia
But of an entire generation –
His life was a consolidation
Of a series of injustices
Of economic apartheid.
After all, let us not hide
And call this tragedy what it really is.
Mohamed’s life and death
Was one of many terrible examples
Of the depth, the breadth
Of the gap between the rich and the poor.
If you think to yourself,
“I’ll never be that desperate,”
You are fortunate
If you’ve never worked and worked until your fingers chafed raw
Yet it was not enough.
You are sheltered
If you’ve never experienced
The yoke of the owners of the world.
You are blind
If you do not see that we have ‘freedom’
That is built on top of mass graveyards.
Has served to choke
Not just Tunisians,
But everyone who was not born with wealth
Or the opportunity to make it;
The millennial’s dilemma
Is common across the globe –
Do I lose hope?
Do I succumb
To a life of fast money and being numb?
Do I stop caring, focus instead on the life I can enjoy?
Do I ignore the stolen livelihoods, hushed, covered up and coy
Do I fail to think about the exploited labour
Of suffering human beings,
Of the murder of my country’s neighbour?
Do I simply sidestep my knowledge of all of this?
Complacent, lacking the will
Unaware, perhaps lacking development of the skill
To realise that our world is dying
Not a slow natural demise
But of humanity-induced suicide.
Or do I, instead,
Pull up my sleeves, avenge the dead?
Do I sacrifice my well-being,
My opportunity to reach that thin demographic of the population
That fragment of the nation
Which lives a life of luxury,
In order to change the world around me?
Do I go against the swirling, swishing current of life
Give up all opportunity for power, leave this society that is rife
For if I don’t,
The sick world we were born in
Will perpetuate its unholy cycle of sin
I will be an instrument of that process,
Whether through complacency or an excess
Of loyalty towards the state.
If I don’t fight back,
If we don’t fight back,
Our stillborn children?
The posterity that will be born
To a world that has no clean air,
A world that is built to be unfair
A world that separates people like an algorithm
Those above a certain monetary threshold
And those below it?
It must be the millennial who fights for rights,
Before they are sold off completely and stocks run out,
Before men and women in power with infallible clout
Turn us all against each other
And make us destroy ourselves.
The final part of a poem I wrote to commemorate the life and death of Mohamed Bouazizi.