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You can look away now
The Vale of tears has dried up
And a deathly silence stalks the Dal

Deserted towns, burnt orchards and
shadows everywhere.
Paradise will ne’er be the same again
Nothing will ever be the same again

We, the invisible and the damned,
the rejected and the reviled,
have long ceased to exist
for a world gone blind.

This land, the sky and these mountains,
my home since time immemorial,
are now but a big, beautiful prison;
There is a serpent in paradise.

You drown me in irons and chains,
lock my home down
for my own greater good;
Life’s beautiful, says the new Emperor

You come in the dead of night
to snatch my youth
and mock the silent, greying beards
all for the love of liberty,
the will of the people and all that jazz.

These barbed wires and bayonets,
and the jackboots
can never break my spirit though.

The burden of this heavy cross on my back,
though staggering,
it hurts my tormentor more.
For hanging on the cross is its humanity
and that of a self-serving, callous world.

Aijaz Zaka Syed is a former editor and widely published columnist. He tweets @AijazZaka


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