My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 02/2006

« Sonnet 26 - Baptising ourselves in tears and mud | Main | Is the West Papuan freedom movement doomed to fail? »

10 January 2019

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Who will write poems for West Papua?

This question came across my mind when I read the poignant poems in a book I picked up the other day at our only secondhand bookshop here in Wabag in Enga Province.

A few lines from one of the poems in a book published in 1996 entitled ‘Poems for Bosnia' by Rosemary Menzies of New Zealand.

…And who will go near
to the mothers weeping alone
at the mounds of dirt
their fists fumbling with flowers
for the unburdening of the bones
the fervour of prayers
for the never again

‘Who can take from this woman
her nightmare,
the butcher’s knife
the sharpening of the blade,
her daughter’s head
sliced to the ground.
How will she ever
unclasp the little hand,
recover her eyes
from the abyss
where bodies drown

How can she forget
the tiger’s teeth lying
in the vagina of her life
When the black beast’s
eye lids close, the jaws relax,
she will stay locked inside
the jungle of her despair

O the silence of her silence
the loathed invasion of her flesh
time after time after time
until the semen took root
inside her womb
this hideous binding
the enemy planted in her blood
this nine month nausea
undying
in the marrow of her soul

In mid-1994, Rosemary Menzies was among over 100 women from 13 different countries who travelled by road to Bosnia and Croatia to support women trapped in besieged cities following the Bosnian war that lasted from 1992 to 1995. Their trip was made possible by an International Peace initiative.

Rosemary and the other women stayed with Bosnian woman in their damaged homes and saw at firsthand the fear-filled and tragic circumstances of their lives – the results of killing, torture, destruction and rape during the war.

She published her book of poems in 1996 based on all that she witnessed.

According to Wikipedia, the Bosnian genocide refers to either genocide at Srebrenica and Žepa committed by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995 or the wider ethnic cleansing campaign throughout areas controlled by the Army of Republika Srpska.

The events in Srebrenica in 1995 included the killing of more than 8,000 Bosniak ("Bosnian Muslim") men and boys, as well as the mass expulsion of another 25,000–30,000 Bosniak civilians, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, committed by units of the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić.

The ethnic cleansing campaign that took place throughout areas controlled by the Bosnian Serbs targeted Muslim Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats.

The ethnic cleansing campaign included unlawful confinement, murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beating, robbery, and inhumane treatment of civilians; the targeting of political leaders, intellectuals, and professionals; the unlawful deportation and transfer of civilians; the unlawful shelling of civilians; the unlawful appropriation and plunder of real and personal property; the destruction of homes and businesses; and the destruction of places of worship.

There was international outcry including the UN and US Congress passing resolutions.

On 24 March 2016, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić and the first president of the Republika Srpska, was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, war crimes, and crimes against humanity—10 of the 11 charges in total—and sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment.

Will the genocide and prolonged suffering of Melanesians in West Papua and Papua ever stop?

Will those responsible be ever taken to an international court of law?

One more line from Rosemary’s poem continues….

How do we redefine terror
in the law courts
of the fled forest
forgive or condemn
in this dark mirror
the slaughter
whom do we pronounce accountable
with fair voice
and steady tongue

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)