Peace and Conflict, Poetry

Satellite View

There will be lamentations
and sadness, there are already,
and recriminations. Why
did we allow the unthinkable
to fall down on those
hapless families
in tents and bunkers?

Why did we agree
only to informal
in the basement
of U.N. headquarters
before proposing
an emergency session

of the Human Rights
Council for next week?
After months of
slaughter, next week?
How long do we need
to assemble diplomats
of 47 countries

who live in greater
Geneva, some just
a walk away
from the roundtable?
I imagine the table
round like the large
hearts of hapless

bystander diplomats
before the rain
of terror, bombs
and mortar, metallic
lassos thrown
about Tamils

in 2.5 kilometers
between lagoon
and sea, 50,000
civilians left
in that spit of Vanni,
numbers reduced by
tens and hundreds

every day. You ask
about other options,
such as India, or
stiffening terms
of the IMF loan,
an armed force
to separate the parties?

Yes, dear Romans,
we can choose to censure
miscreants. When a man
or state or rebel group
kill wantonly
we must stop him
or it, walk into

the line of sight,
settle the matter
with our most
special forces.
Who is right–
controlled by fanatics,

who believe
the island belongs
first to Sinhalese
while other
residents are subject
to extra-judicial

such as roundups
in unmarked vans
and denouncing
for bizarre
with terrorist
fighter jets–

or the aforementioned
liberation fighters?
Or do we have
the last word,
survivors of
streets of Geneva
or New York

or Beijing, suited
and stuffed
with ideals
or pragmatic like
weighing assets
of the nation

come to pawn
its Tamil jewels
in return for
a naval base,
a wedge around
India, uninterrupted
supply of fighter

jets and expert
advice in the art
of war, in the age
of CNN, where
the first principle
denies journalists
the chance to speak

with survivors
of the slaughter
which could have
been prevented
if prying eyes
along with
aid workers

from abroad
had been allowed
inside the Vanni
to accompany
local and expendable
Tamil speakers,

subject to pressure
from Tiger overlords,
whose pictures
of injured and dead
are stage sets,
according to

whose reports
to BBC are spoken
while a Tiger
points a gun
at the telephone.
Come, come,
ye spokespersons,

do you take us
for imbeciles walking
into roundtables
in Western capitals
or even in Beijing?
When food, water,
medicine, and soft

drinks are scarce
in the theatre
of war, can supplies
of stage blood
be made available
like rain and heat,
mortar and missiles?