Poetry for justice

22 May 2014 | Story by Newsroom
Anthony Diala reciting his Bring Back Our Girls poem at the recent Law in Poetry event.
Anthony Diala reciting his Bring Back Our Girls poem at the recent Law in Poetry event.

Africa Month marks a moment not just to celebrate culture and knowledge from the continent '“ but also to speak up, out and about issues of concern to those who live here. PhD student Anthony Diala took the opportunity presented by the recent Law in Poetry event to lend his support to the Bring Back Our Girls campaign '“ through verse.

Law in Poetry, held in Kramer Quad on 15 May, saw staff and students expressing themselves through various art forms, including music, dance, fashion and poetry. Diala, a second-year PhD student in the Department of Private Law specialising in customary law, recited a poem that expressed outrage at the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamic extremists.

Hailing from south-east Nigeria, Diala completed his LLB at Enugu State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria in 2002 and a BL at the Nigerian Law School in 2004. In 2007 he obtained an LLM at University of Pretoria and a French Diploma at Makerere University. He describes himself as a "closet poet" and although he has written many poems he has not found the time to publish them.

[A tribute to the Chibok girls of Nigeria]

What screams are these that pierce the night?
What sounds are these that twist the blood?
What evil blots the moon with shame?
Who has slain sleep and shattered our hearts?

Bring back our girls!
They are too young for this!
They are too young to be adults
They are too young to be caught by a past
That's not their own

We care not for politics!
We care not for ideologies!
We care not for religion!
We care only for love!

Bring back our hope!
Our strongholds of innocence
Our pride in creation
The flowers of our sunset

Bring back our joy!
Were it your child, your sister, your friend
You would act with promptness
What madness is this?
What nation kills its young?

Bring back our girls!
Though you may look away
Though you may live in denial
You can't run from the truth
That they are your girls too

We may be split by tongue and tribe
But we're united by hope & history
We're united by love and life
We're united by shared humanity

When the greed is quietened
When the guns are silenced
We find we're all victims
We're victims of power and silence
Bring back our girls, please

By Anthony C. Diala

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