Poetry

The Police Cannot Be Blamed

 

 

 

 

 

‘They have families to feed,’ I was told.
‘They really cannot be blamed.’
 
My voice rose as I argued in a fine fusion restaurant –
my manners long forgotten and appetite long gone.
 
Emotional attachment to the city aside,
I might have calmed down
if they proved to me
the measures used by the Police
were justified.
 
Instead they told me the Police had a family to feed
as if I had been living alone all this time
in an unknown spot on the world
and could not quite work out
what having a family was like.
 
‘They had their orders.’
I was enlightened.
 
My questions unanswered,
the good food turned tasteless.
 
87 canisters of tear gas
thrown at people who live in the same city as I do,
who look as Hong Kongese as me,
who speak the same Cantonese as I do –
bullied by the most legal of triad societies
that have a nice uniform, are well-paid,
and live in nice flats
that we can only dream of being able to afford.
 
I might not have been able to calm down.
In fact, I was furious.
 
But
 
teach me how not to be cynical now
 
when the news describes the protest as “chaos”
yet calls it merely a “conflict” when triads beat protesters up;
 
when we were reported as the most peaceful protesters worldwide
yet we are “encouraged” by verbal threats and physical attacks to leave;
 
when we are attacked by triad society members
yet the Police selectively arrest and discretely release these attackers.
 
The government cannot be blamed.
The news reporters cannot be blamed.
The Police cannot be blamed.
 
Nobody needs to be blamed.
 
Therefore, wear a blue ribbon, or a yellow and blue ribbon;
wear all colours in a rainbow ribbon
because everyone is right:
 
You are right,
the Police are right,
your cat is right,
your mouse is right,
because everybody needs to feed their family.
 
Now what do you know? Shut up.
 
But blame us, we who are wearing yellow,
a colour that is too bright, that insinuates conflict
because of how much it hurts your eyeballs when you look at it:
tears come out whenever you look at it.
 
Blame us, who carry a weapon of mass destruction
in the shape of an umbrella
(with some parts made of steel).
 
Blame us, who give uncomfortable silence
that threatens the safety of the city
because we have always been noisy and busy
making money for watches, phones, meals.
 
Blame us, who want our basic needs to be less of some luxurious demands
Blame us, who still believe morality is more important than making a living
Blame us, who no longer want to be like you –
 
you who thought it would have been better
if we'd just stayed home watching CCTVB.
 

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