“Not Only– “

POETRY FORMAT, 28 Jul 2014

Dr Kyi Maung Kaung – TRANSCEND Media Service

A Poem on Burma by a Rightly Angry Poet

Not only Muslims should speak for Muslims.
Not only Burmese should speak for Burmese.
Not only Palestinians should speak for Palestinians.
Not only Cambodians should speak for Cambodians.

How would N. Koreans speak for themselves.
Who spoke for the Jews while it was happening.

Not only women should speak for women.
Not only the oppressed should speak for the oppressed.
Not only children should speak for children.

How would animals and the environment speak for themselves and itself.

I remember that terrible meeting in about 2002
when all the great ladies were talking talking
who should speak for the Burmese.

I said anyone who stands up for them should speak for them.

Look at Inge Sargent, Austrian-born, husband murdered by the junta, speaking for the Shan.

Look at those speaking for the Rohingya.

Look at those keeping their mouths shut and pretending not to notice and not to see.

Pretending it isn’t going on.

Pretending it isn’t there.

Pretending it’s all the victims’ fault.

In 2010 I spoke for a disabled or differently abled young woman, because some officious fool overstepped her bounds and barged in on us, a committee of 3 with 3 Ph.D.s, one an HIV/AIDs educator.

The woman who barged in tried to tell us we should bar this differently abled woman from getting a prize.

I was never so angry is my life.

I stepped outside the glass partition and said, This is unacceptable.

You can’t even properly name the mental disease you say she has.

Besides, we only judge/grade the paper based on what’s written in her paper.

Later people asked me if someone in my family was disabled.
And the daughter of a missionary–white skinned.
I guess you would call it NGO on NGO abuse.
Give me a break.

Dr Kyi Maung Kaung is a poet, painter, political economist, former professor and a Burmese woman in exile.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Jul 2014.

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