I Looked Away

They came in the thousands

Walking through the jungle and minefields

Crossing the shallow Naf river

Fearful eyes of young and old

Stories of horror they told

Stories of mass murder, rape, eviction

Villages burnt into ashes

In squalid Rohingya camps

They came to stay…

I was tangled up with my life

And simply looked away!


They were taken by the thousands

From homes, workplaces, mosques

To be “re-educated”

To wash away their faith

To be fed propaganda

Traditional Chinese ways

I chose not to be bothered

And I looked away…


They were kicked, spat on

Women dragged by the hair

Beaten by police batons

Just to defend citizenship rights

To have equal say,

Their blood covered Delhi’s streets

Yet I looked away


They ran in fear

For many months and years

From shabby camp to camp

Temporary shelters that got

Bombed away

Their cries echoed

From Damascus to Idlib

Under permanent skies of gray

I was too cold-hearted

Too dead inside

So I looked away…


They’ve been denied

Basic human rights

In crowded, narrow strip

They suffer days and nights

In virtual lockdown

Detached from the world

They stay,

I’m too meek, too weak to pray

I quietly choose to look away


My mind is preoccupied

In Wall Street, Dow Jones

Market’s rise and fall

To ponder about the down-trodden

The maimed, the raped, brutally beaten

I had no time at all…!


Now that I feel myself

Surrounded by this darkness

Watching parades of dead

Being taken away

I crave for YOUR forgiveness

And ponder if YOU will shower YOUR mercy…


Or will YOU look away?!

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  2 Comments   Comment

  1. FYacoob

    Masha-Allah, Mr. Khan - once again you have captured the feelings of Muslims, the faithful, and all of humanity with your poem. May God Almighty protect us all and answer our collective prayers during this pandemic. Ameen!!!

  2. roozbeh

    JAK and thank you for sharing this truthful message. May we be among the foremost of Allah's servants.