I would like to call them murderers
but if I did they would haul me before the courts
where some fool would make an example of me
the prosecutor would suggest I endangered
the security of the realm
engaged in treason
abetted my country’s enemies
insulted those who are born to rule
upset the status quo
behaved in a disorderly manner
hindered and obstructed
betrayed state secrets
or behaved in an unbecoming way.
The law is often just,
not in the sense of providing justice,
but just; just outmoded morality
codified, ossified ideas
whose relevance has expired
such ideas, however, are still desired
by those that I despise.
So I won’t say anything about
the Northern Territory laws
which allow coppers to arrest
Aboriginal people for minor offences
which results in their dying in custody.
I won’t say a word about
Immigration officials incarcerating
children, women and men in off-shore camps
where they are raped and driven mad.
I won’t mention on-shore camps where
asylum seekers are locked up
and driven to suicide.
I won’t talk about our maximum security cells
where men are raped by fellow prisoners
whilst guards watch on TV monitors.
I won’t mention country police cells
where Aboriginal prisoners are locked up
in disproportionate numbers –
where they are bashed
and hung from prison bars.
I won’t pay any attention to the
impoverishment of the poor
the disregard for homeless people
the neglect of those who are disabled
the insensitive treatment of the powerless
the excessive privilege of the powerful
and I suggest that you do the same
if you want to avoid having some fool
make an example of you.
Copyright © 2023 John Tomlinson