Monday, August 13, 2012

From within the womb of Mother Earth we have wounded Her

(in memory of Mohammad Bouazizi)

From within the womb of Mother Earth we have wounded Her
Our ways wasteful and careless
We have wanted too much
Consumed very much more
For insatiable want we abandoned sustainability

Now Mother Earth is hurting
A dry spell there, floods elsewhere
Russian drought, scarce food
A government is taken down, Tunisia
Impact, Arab Spring?

Floods in Pakistan, the world comes to rescue
Too much a disaster to ignore, to be indifferent
Inches more of snow, fierce tornadoes
Unprecedented high water and temperature
Mounts of ice melt, seas swell and surge

One organism are we
In the womb of Mother Earth
Generations are nil for
From within we kill

"Mohammad Bouazizi, the 26-year-old Tunisian whose suicide on December 17 sparked unprecedented clashes in the Northern African country, will go down in history as the street vendor who toppled the regime of President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali, who ruled Tunisia with an iron fist for more than two decades. The suicide was embraced as a cause by jobless graduates, trade unionists and human right activists, and the protests later spread to other towns including the capital, Tunis.

"Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Sidi Bouzid, a town in central Tunisia, after a woman municipality agent confiscated the weighing scales he was using to sell fruits and vegetables off a cart, which was his only available mean to support his family, and slapped him. Bouazizi did not accept the public humiliation and went to the local governorate building to report the incident. However, he was barred from entering and nobody wanted to listen to his plight. Angry, humiliated and desperate, Bouazizi drenched himself in petrol and set himself ablaze outside the local governor's office.

"His mother, according to the Washington Post reporter said, 'It was not poverty that made her son sacrifice himself.... It was his quest for dignity.'" [added 24 January 2014, from Duty: Memoirs Of A Secretary of War, Robert Gates, 2014]

"The entire Sidi Buzid town erupted in anger. Soon, protesters started calling for the resignation of the president. Twenty-eight days later, Bin Ali stepped down and Bouazizi became the symbol of the Tunisian uprising."

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