You Promised Me Democracy: But Look What You Have Done To Me (Poem)

27 September 2010

By Saeed Malik

You promised me democracy,

But look what you have done to me.

You robbed my past,

and future stole,

and a present

left to me,

crushed beyond

a mending hope.

Ten years before invading me,

you broke my dams

and bridges bombed,

and power plants,

and sewage lines,

and water mains,

You fed the plants

with pesticide,

The baby food and medicine

you destroyed;

and the silos

of my grain

you set aflame.

So I may not

make good my loss

nor repair

my water mains,

you shackled me

in sanctions,

and a million kids

you starved to death.

I lived Saddam’s

nightmare through.

I knew what I

must watch out for.

But now I don’t know

where to hide

for death has lost

its pattern now.

He used to kill

and bury us,

friendless in

our unmarked graves;

but our names

he kept on files.

And now that you

are killing us,

we do not even

have a grave,

nor a number

nor a name–

thus in your books

we never lived.

He was your friend

who hurried us,

so many to their

early deaths,

with weapons that you

sold to him,

while you looked

the other way.

He was not

a ‘tyrant’ then,

which of late

he has become.

You merely changed

the label,

so you could come

and liberate,

the wealth that we

are sitting on,

and this you call

our liberation!

You promised me


but look what you

have done to me.

With bombs you won

my heart over,

with blows you changed

my mind.

You tore into

my home at night,

and pulverized

my only peace.

And shrieking as

my mother watched,

with frightened children

Gathered ‘round,

you floored my father

in a heap,

with kicks and blows

and rifle butts,

and tore my humble

home apart.

Then you led

our men away,

with tied hands

behind their backs,

and with their eyes folded blind,

into the endless prison night.

And there you tore

my father’s robe.

To cover then

his nakedness,

upon his head

you put the hood,

and leashed him like

a dog on show,

and your dogs

unleashed on him.

You promised me


but look what you

have done to me.

You took my youth

in prime away–

you shredded wedding


The little joys

that I had left,

merriment in

a broken life,

now in collateral

damage rest,

rising up

in smoke and flame,

of a mindless

bombing run.

‘Tis peel and husk

I have for food,

and water mixed

with sewage now

is all I have

to slake my thirst.

You even took

my sand away,

polluted by

uranium dust,

so when I have

my children they

shall be deformed,

unlovely and


and so unlike

your lovely kids!

My millions homeless

roam the road,

and orphaned children

beg in streets.

My women raised

in sanctity,

are now the stuff

of ravishment.

My men are slaughtered

out of hand,

and widows search

the morgues for them.

My dawn is dull,

and dusk is blood,

and bombs and blasts,

my afternoons.

My night in hopelessness is sunk,

when peace with me

a refuge takes,

and heaps on me

another dawn–

another search

of bodies lost;

another count

of heaped insults;

another day

to death evade,

call it life,

and celebrate.

So now when I

am fighting back,

my fearlessness

is causing awe.


but unafraid,

when I equalize myself,

and blow my only

life away,

you are shocked,

and label me

a terrorist!

I who want

my honor lost

and country back–

–a terrorist?

And you who came here

for my oil,

on crutches of

a shameless lie,

are and always

shall remain,

the humanist!

I know your type.

I see your greed

and hunger know,

but it is those

I want to know,

whose vote does so

empower you.

Do they not see

what they have done?

They promised me


but look what they

have done to me!




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