POETRY: Evil Caricatures

Evil Caricatures

A heavy cloud of sorrow and pain
Envelopes the horizon of the human family

Brought on by ignoble and unnecessary caricature
Of the finest that has lived and walked the earth

What pains one most is the venue of occurrence
Countries that have shunned conflict, unleashed the wide gates of philanthropy

And built societies rooted in the values of justice
The very values extolled by the wronged Prophet

The spirit of Muhammad’s legacy is charity
And the nurturing of good will and peace

“Oh mankind: we have created you from male and female
And made you nations and tribes that you may know one another”

Freedom to speak is no excuse for malicious, blasphemous derision
For he emancipated all from the fetters of enslavement

Pronouncing the dignity of every man and woman
A merciful warner, and bearer of glad tidings

The seeds of conflict may have been sown
By the misguided impulse to mock, to calumniate

A man who resisted every aspect of evil and folly
Unflinchingly commanding good and forbidding evil

And painstakingly erecting the edifice of peace and faith
Anchoring human fraternity on a solid rock of truth and reason


Enjoining an ethos of humanism that shuns racism
Urging compassion to fellow humans, to animals, to the environment

Alas, the cartoonists embarked on self-injuring misrepresentation
Reflecting a folly that blasphemes the noblest faith, the finest human

Sent a mercy to all the worlds, to all the races
By the God of the East and West, the white and black, the Aryan & Semite

Comedy and caricature can play a noble role
In a drama that prevents the tragic pathways of life

Demonization of the other is likewise a folly
For the majority of the protagonists are without blame

Waging opposition must give due regard to the sacreds and interests
Of both sides in an unfortunate, preventable dispute

By Khaled Nusseibeh


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