Final Choice – Ahmed Mansoor

As part of the Global Week of Action for Ahmed Mansoor, we are pleased to share this anonymous translation of his 2006 poem ‘Final Choice’.

I have no other means now
but a tight-lipped silence in the square and through corridors.
Since I have tried everything –
screams, chants, signboards,
obstructing roads,
and lying on the ground in front of the queues.
Cutting through the procession with eggs, tomatoes, and blazing tires.
Hurling burning bottles and stones.

Stripped naked in front of the public.
Carving statements in the flesh.
Walking masked in front of cameras.
Dressed in shackles.
Tied and chained to garden fences.
Swallowing rusty razor blades and splintered glass.
Hacking off fingers with a machete
and hanging myself from the lampposts.
Dousing the body with kerosene
and setting it aflame

I have tried all this, but you didn’t even turn to look.
This time, I swear
I won’t utter a word, or move.
I will stay the way I am
until you turn to look
or until I am petrified.

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About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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