A Bicycle and a pair of Shoes by Maggie Harris

I am not a silent poet

Last night on the news, slotted in between Election fever and Tax Dodgers, was the usual News Report in a War Zone. We could be forgiven for not noticing what war zone, if we took our eyes off the TV for a minute, make a cup of tea. It could be Ukraine, Syria, Iraq. It could be Nigeria, Boko Haram’s latest outrage, now stretching into Chad. Nigerian soldiers are interviewed in silhouette, afraid to speak out against their government, anonymously saying they have no arms. A group of refugees sit in a camp, their experiences translated, some with harrowed eyes withdrawing into silence. The few stories we hear, we have heard over and over. Battles, homes burnt, murder, abduction, slavery. Another two hundred souls overboard in the Mediterranean Sea escaping horrors like these. Amongst these stories is that of a small boy aged around 11 or 12, difficult to tell…

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