48% · Democracy · General

The Will

“The will of the people”, she says,

Though the UK is divided

As Brexit drills on, come what May,

Accords wrecked where lies decided

 

The will of the people;

But they do not serve us,

Pretending it feeble

As millions amass;

 

The will of the

Once Great Britain’s

Identity

March, London,

 

The will

Written in grey

Was never this oil spill,

“The will of the people,” she says.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Petition to Revoke Article 50 (reached over 5.5 million, so far)

Countless people waving EU flags and anti-Brexit banners as they march in London
MyLondon.News People’s Vote March

(Alternative Text: Countless people waving EU flags and anti-Brexit banners as they march in London)

Democracy · General · Peace

Broken Silence and Exit Lines

the peace agreement,

like two flags and people’s lives

flapping in the wind

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Below is an account of my engagement, as a witness, in a ‘From the Rockface’ discussion in Northern Ireland. What I saw and heard makes it clear to me the very real threat Brexit poses to peace and security for people living across the Island of Ireland and all parts of the United Kingdom. This would especially be the case in a No Deal scenario.

This talk mainly included loyalists stories and so provides only partial context …

Broken Silence and Exit Lines

Link to original post

It has never felt more inappropriate to stand and walk from a room. A silence was being fractured and the question was being asked, again and again, “Who would want to hear us?” “Who would want to listen?” Do our voices count in the eyes of the world?” These questions are interspersed with my phone delivering other silent, urgent messages. The texts from a friend asking if I am ready to leave. I am going to miss my plane. I am in a room full of hope and anger, Loyalists trying to discover how to rekindle loyalty with each other, sitting two seats from the main speaker and a room away from the door. When, in this brave and open exchange acknowledging, amongst other things, a feeling of betrayal by mainland Britain, will the only English woman at the table, stand up and head for the door?

Words are overflowing, time over-running, after decades of communities ruled by a culture of silence; ruled by fear and the sense of betrayal.

These men, whose skin is painted deep with their identity; an inky testament to the stories etched upon them that words could not speak but only bodily destruction could erase.

“We have hurt each other,” they say, honesty ricocheting around the room to meet open, determined faces; paramilitary, prisoners, peace-builders, political leaders interspersed with lawyers, academics alert and armed with pens and inquisition. The untold stories unravel before me. The fierce organisation of the Nationalists and the Loyalist trust, initially, in the UK government and military to protect them. The growing confusion and betrayal, the disillusionment that they were protected, the disorganization birthing community to community violence, the killing of all budding leaders who could unify the Loyalists or speak of peaceful ways forward. The silencing. The reprisals and counter-reprisals and fears of reprisal. The loss. The help that was not helpful. The impossibility of decommissioning weapons in 60 days given the fact they were not united, that trans-community conflict meant communications took time and distrust of political will to protect their communities in any other way. The sense that for some politicians the Northern Ireland peace process was being used as a platform for career furtherment over and above the will to end the conflict. The politicians who would call for paramilitary disbandment but come to them for their services. The sense of being in shock, the fear of being perceived as an underclass, even of becoming one.

The vocal ex-prisoner and combatant that now virtually lived in the Transitional Justice Institute with the same fighting determination, arms heavy with tattoo and muscle, eyes seeking something more. The sense of needing now to speak; to tell the stories untold, first to the world and, ultimately to one another. One woman’s voice discussing gender issues in the conflict. Many ears. I begin to make eyes wildly at the Chairman. Eventually, when the other voices in the room slow to draw breath in slightly bewildered air, the Chair states that as we are going far beyond time, anyone who needs to leave can. Only I stand, the English woman leaving. The main speaker apologizes for talking too long and I stop, ignoring the panicked text of the friend who will give me a lift to the airport and the determinedly ticking clock. I say something I repeat now in writing. I say thank-you for his words, I say to them all, thank-you for what they have said. I tell them I want to hear. I tell them sorry… and then I tell them I have to catch a plane.

 

Link to the original 2012 post

General

Hope

Should I be hopeful

with talk of a People’s Vote

now resurfacing,

up for discussion again

while lies are still circling?

 

hope, like early spring,

blooms and shivers, in each turn

clings between downpours.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

Madame Dictator

 

Madame Dictator, have you not heard

Your deal was voted down historically

And yet you resurrect the interred

Proposal repeatedly, delay after delay

Burning our security & democracy away,

 

Your office not conferred

By any political majority,

You do not listen to a word

From any, except, perhaps, the ERG

Who need an ECG

To find out if they have a heart

Because they seem intent

Only on ripping us apart,

 

But you, Madame Dictator,

Like a modern Bonaparte

Say you hear

But you do not!

Stirring up terror

By running down the clock,

 

Perhaps it’s said best by Andy Serkis;

Your attitude to this rambling failure

Akin to Gollum’s with his ‘precious’;

A gold that deserved the fires of Mordor

But instead you throw our futures in

To that furnace, knowing it will make this nation so much poorer

As the homeless line the streets and food bank ques get longer,

And the extremists get stronger

And injustices reign – those you said you’d bring to order

Yet you disengage to build walls of fire at our borders

And, as for climate change …

 

You focus only on Brexit

But do so without debate

Hushing up all the elected

Tying nation states up in red tape

 

More than

Two years!

Two years

And more!

 

In a cabal of your own

Prescribed parameters,

Your negotiations

In closed door deliberations

And perambulations

As you ignite more tensions

With another deadline gone,

I have literally lost count!

Every time you tell the Commons

There will be later debate

Then roll the calendar on;

The dates for meaningful votes

Eternally postponed,

Except that historic one

Where the deal was trodden on,

The same deal you resuscitate,

 

 

All the while that lie ‘secure and stable’

When there’s nothing on the table

And security service cutbacks

Coincide with terror attacks

And there is legislation against

Generations told to go back

To the commonwealth after decades of life and work in the UK,

So, just because they are black

You citizens to go away,

And now, will more Europeans face the same?

 

I visited Yalswood, while you were Home Secretary,

Children and women fearing their fate,

Caucasian guards, all black and ethnic minority

Detainees – I thought, mine is a racist state,

My friend was denied vital medicine

They took my prints before I could go in

The package of essentials I left

Was only passed on after five days,

She had to fight for legal representation,

Hers not an uncommon story,

I’ve known others, one girl just fourteen,

Britishness part of her identity –

Her humanity you refused to see,

 

How dare you, in self-righteous glory

Proclaim you understand democracy

If you can’t see their lives matter!

 

 

Now,

Your promises in tatters;

When you said you’d listen,

See how skilfully you didn’t,

Your cabinet found in contempt

Of our disjointed constitution,

 

This is wrong! The is so very wrong!

This is becoming authoritarian

And very, very, very dark!

 

You have polluted

“Safe and Secure”

“Meaningful”

“Democracy”

“Listening”

“Vote” –

 

All convoluted

By you

Until the words stick in my throat –

 

And you call this your mission;

To re- enforce your indecent proposition

After the worst historical democratic defeat in the entire history of any Westminster government!

All you are reinforcing are the fault lines of division,

 

And, for the record, I’m not impressed by Corbyn

So, please don’t read this as propaganda

For a weakly lead, anti-Semitic opposition,

Though I will state I’m firmly left of centre

This is less about sides and more concerned

With the slide towards totalitarianism,

 

Only idiots will say it is because you’re a woman,

Though they do, pouring on scorn

For all the agelessly wrong reasons,

As they try to make you dance,

Or comment on your complexion,

In this alone I come to your defence

Yet my complaints could fill a lexicon

From your term feeding hate in the Home Office

Displaying a personal distaste towards migration

To this cutting off of deliberation in Parliament,

It’s not gender defining each subverted action

So, I will not hold back because I’m a feminist;

 

I will call you Madame Dictator,

A title not up for discussion

Unless you decide to govern better

And return the dignities you’ve taken.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch