Dear Prime Minister,
'Brother', a poem by Mohammad Ali Maleki
Brother, how quietly you abandoned us alone.
You left us alone, flew from our side.
You made us mourn from your death.
You broke our hearts and left us alone.
We all saw you hanging from your neck in the tree.
How cruelly that tree resisted.
Whenever I see that tree,
I want to cut it down at the roots.
You're gone and the sun has turned pale.
The moon and stars have turned pale too.
The sun, clouds and sky were above your head.
All of them were witness to your death.
The sky, sympathising with us,
Turned the clouds into pieces and it rained on us.
It's so hard to die in estrangement.
We all died with your death in estrangement.
Brother, we have died from estrangement in captivity.
We were condemned to die five years ago in captivity.
Brother, you were witness to the death of your friends in captivity.
You died but our turn is on the way.
You saw your dreams were burning.
Death made a flame and burnt everything.
Brother, while dying in that moment.
Many came before your eyes in a moment.
You were dying in that moment.
You wanted your parents to be beside you at that moment.
I wish I died for your dried lips.
There was no one to give you water that moment.
What were you thinking about at the last moment?
Did you see your childhood in that moment?
Tell me: do you still feel pain in your body?
Do you still have pain in your neck?
You were hanging from the neck that day.
We saw in the photo your neck was broken that day.
Did you see the death dance with your eyes?
Did you hear the dance of your voiceless shouts?
Youth’s freshness has faded from your face.
The freshness faded from your face.
The freshness of youth faded from your face.
How cruelly death was whipping you.
Your shouts were in the air but we could not hear you.
You suffered so much in your life.
Death was the end of all your pain and suffering.
Now the strong arms of the soil,
The soil is hugging your body.
It is many years since I last attended church, but Mohammad Ali Maleki's lines 'There was no one to give you water at that moment. What were you thinking about at the last moment.' remind me of the Gospel verses about Jesus on the cross:
'... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' (Mark 15:34)
yet there was not even a soldier with Hamed Shamshiripour to offer him a cloth soaked in vinegar to ease his dry mouth. Prime Minister, you claim to be a Christian. How often do you read the Bible? Did you know that the description of the mob before Pilate ('Crucify! Crucify!') describes Australia's attitude to the refugees? That PNG and Nauru perform the role of Simon the Cyrenian who is forced to carry the cross? And even in Mark 15:40: 'There were also women looking on afar off ...' as do the activists in Australia who struggle every day for justice for the refugees on Manus and Nauru.
What sick compulsion in Australian culture has driven us to play out this travesty of the crucifixion story? Are you Pilate?