03 December 2014

Saving Lives

Saving Lives

August 9th was a bomb of a day for
Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri,
gunned down by a policeman for something.

August 9th was a bomb of a day for
the people of Nagasaki, Japan,
destroyed by Fat Man to end World War Two.

In 19-45, Nagasaki
and Hiroshima’s hundred thousand deaths,
we’re told, saved over a half Million lives.

In 20-14, Ferguson’s one death,
we’re told, saved a law enforcer’s life—yet
we read statistics differently and see

Racial profiling, prison sentences
and “justified killing” stretching back to
white supremacy from our country’s birth.

We count the numbers differently and
see hundreds of  thousands of lives improved
by standing up to say Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.

Black lives matter.  We count the numbers and
stand firm to dismantle white privilege and
make reparations through truly equal laws.


rallentanda said...

This is a hot topic at the moment with the recent acquittal of the law enforcement officer and riots etc.
I'm not an American . I do watch the news but I think an outsider's observations may not be the same as an American citizen
Having said that I did have a very close long standing friendship with a black American woman who came from the South side of Chicago. It was an enlightening experience and certainly was invaluable in shaping some of my attitudes to life. She certainly was an influence. The sins of the father visited on the sons. Slavery i.e.. What I can never come to terms with is how the Puritan Protestants could ever have allowed slavery to occur in the South first place. It is a clear as day precept of Christianity that all mankind is equal in the eyes of the Lord. How they justified slavery is unthinkable. Big big topic. A thought provoking poem....good cerebral work out material
I am pleased you finally got a black President. It is said down here that Americans would prefer a black president to a female president.? Thanks for a great prompt and excuse me...call me superficial...but that white interviewer guy has the one of the worst hair styles I have ever seen:)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Susan, important topic. I found Rallentanda's comments enlightening too. That is the kernel of the matter: white privilege, self-appointed. I believe we have an apartheid system in Canada as well. Our First Nations people certainly experience it. I writhe in my white skin at times. An important topic.

Unknown said...

This is a strong piece about the myopic view of some people that effects lives of others.

Old Egg said...

Humanity has long embraced the fear of the "other" whether by language, colour or creed. It is almost as though the creator had made a mistake! So we have been hell bent on destroying each other since and making a terrible job of that too, but at least someone is making a buck out of the conflict. We should stop looking to the stars for a solution and look at ourselves instead.

Kay L. Davies said...

In my naiveté, it never occurred to me that my black-skinned niece (adopted in infancy from Bangladesh) had to face racism in suburban Vancouver schools. When she was older and told me "Oh, yes, I did!" I was appalled. I had been raised to believe that if we didn't mention racial differences, the time would come when the world wouldn't recognize racial differences. Quite obviously, despite my father's sincere hope, that time has not yet come.
It gives me to weep, my friend, it gives me to weep.

Mary said...

Everyone's life matters. What a powerful poem/ statement you have written, Susan.

Panchali said...

Very powerful poem, Susan....I often wonder, why are such segregations happen..when human history is overflowing with victorious anecdotes of enlightened civilization.
"Black lives matter. We count the numbers and
stand firm to dismantle white privilege and
make reparations through truly equal laws"
Thumbs up!! This gives hope to the hopeless... ☺

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


Sadly there always seems to be new names and victims added to each passing year, in sporadic events around the world. I continue to consider my homeland of Northern Ireland. Such a waste of more than 3,000 lives; the greater number being civilians...Few remember them anywhere, except for their families..Few memorials to them either...Simply part of wasted years...


Gen Giggles said...

Yes, these are so hard to face. The other whites where I work mocked the protesters who closed the freeway today. I'm so shocked by their careless attitudes.

marit said...

Great poem! I wrote my prompt response before I read others poems, and was thrilled to see you similarly inspired!