• Fiona Alwora

On Fire

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

June 11th is the anniversary of the self immolation of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese monk protesting persecution of Buddhists in south Vietnam in 1963. June 4th is the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen square incident. In looking back at those images alongside those of modern day protesters bloodied and beaten for no clear reason, I find myself struggling to balance out the concept of American freedom. A life can be snuffed out without cause or consequence, and some accept that as business as usual. A little extra paperwork. Overtime.

In "On Fire" I mentioned a variety of things people have been killed doing, an array of lives violently interrupted. All things that I do, or would have done at some point in the normal course of my day.

Injured and dead protesters come from every background in every hue. Few officers have been held accountable for the excessive use of force unfolding on a daily basis. The system is built that way. From one Senator protesting within his own state to average citizens going about their day, heading home or delivering food, it seems nobody is off limits.

I will admit as an African immigrant I was, in my own way, woefully ignorant of the sheer number of such incidents. I allowed the issue of police brutality to sit in the box in my mind labelled "Things I can do nothing about" for far too long.

The truth is, sometimes it really does come down to one person.

Note: Most of this poem was written after watching Dave Chapelle's "8:46"

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