The Plight of Mr. Ordinary Citizen


S. P. Udayakumar – TRANSCEND Media Service

April 22, 2012 (The Earth Day) From Koodankulam Nonviolent Nuclear Protest, India

Listen to my plight; I am a low class low caste Ordinary Citizen;
And I’m running from pillar to post with a public interest petition
That imported and imposed nuclear reactors threaten to jettison
My community’s livelihood, resources and the very existence.

I approached all our political leaders and powerful ministers
To come and listen to our fears and concerns which are sinister.
Yelled the leaders: “Votes once cast, we could care less, Mister;
We need cuts and commissions to continue to be the Master!”

I appealed to the executives, bureaucrats, police and justices
To share all the info, honor the rules, and come out of duskiness.
The pen pushers explained age-old customs and colonial practices;
That they write what they are told with all the governing nastiness.

I prayed to the governments’ expert teams and the member jesters
To listen to what our unlettered folks had to say as a kind gesture.
“We’re all authorities, accomplished people and acclaimed experts;
We’re not used to any listening but can only explain the matters.”

I begged the savants, specialists, scientists and skilled technocrats
Who freely added safety tiers to their Third generation plus reactors.
“Don’t we need bombs and progress and supreme power status?
You must trust the scientists and all their nonsense with no hiatus.”

I turned to the traders, dealers, brokers and business magnets
Making a killing in every manner and giving a slip to dragnets.
They said “money is honey for money brings fame and power;
The poor should know they haven’t any and run for good cover.”

I requested media moguls and barons to report our sad story
And bring the world’s attention to our state of being so sorry.
The media persons were sympathetic but for business survival
They needed government ads, industry tenders and no rival.

I asked for the support of NGOs, IGOs, INGOs and the civil society
Only to be driven away by the project managers from their vicinity.
They wanted donations and contributions but no scrutiny of accounts;
More governmental blessings without any administrative hiccups.

High and dry, I cried to my House of Worship and all its high priests.
They spelled out God’s plan; explained the importance of foreign fees;
Described the power total submission and prayerful meditation hath
And wanted to be left alone without divine problems and rulers’ wrath.

Conversant with the ways of the rich and famous and powerful,
Convinced that no one with vested interests would do the needful,
I went back to the village to confide in and consult my minions,
The ordinary citizens and the extraordinary ones with millions.

I saw the disastrous development line drawn on the sand all over
As clear as high and low, North and South, or prince and pauper.
It’s always the case the rich are ‘The first to gain and the last to die’;
The wretched of the Earth are ‘The first to die and the last to gain.’

This is what our ancestors called kismet, karma, fate or providence
And stressed the need to suffer it all with faith and forbearance.
But revolutionary politics and precepts reinvent human agency
And emphasize that we make our world with a sense of urgency.

S.P. Udayakumar, Ph.D. – Tamil Nadu, India:
* South Asian Community Center for Education and Research (SACCER)
* TRANSCEND Network, South Asia Convener (TSA) (For Rethinking South Asia)
* People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
* National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM) (For a Nuclear-Free India that has No Deals, No Mines, No Reactors, No Dumps, and No Bombs).


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 30 Apr 2012.

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