Activist Poems

Ahmed Mansoor is an engineer, poet, writer, human rights defender and father of four from the United Arab Emirates. He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after being unfairly convicted in May 2018 of the offence of “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols including its leaders” in connection with his peaceful human rights activism, including posts on social media. He is a prisoner of conscience.

He is being held in solitary confinement in an isolation ward in Al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi in dire conditions. Since his arrest on 20 March 2017, he has only been permitted to leave his small cell for a handful of family visits, and only once allowed outside for fresh air in the prison’s exercise yard. In protest, he has been on two separate hunger strikes which have seriously damaged his health.

By detaining Mansoor in such appalling conditions, the UAE authorities are in violation of their obligations under the Convention Against Torture and Principle 6 of the Body of Principles, as well as Article 2 of the UAE’s Code of Criminal Procedure.

In Ahmed Mansoor's own powerful words: 

 Time does not gore my wounds anymore
 For I have no wound and there is no such thing as time
 And no consolation.
What are all those stars for?
 And the night
 And the clouds
 And the sky erected like a tent in the desert.
 In a place like this
 Everything is
 How much time has passed,
 Oh clock,
 And you are ticking ?!
 My heart,
 Is beating as well,
 But the tear had dried
 And the bullet,
 Is still,

 Final Choice
 I have no other means now
 but a tight-lipped silence in the square and through corridors
 Since I have tried everything
 screams, chants, signboards
 obstructing roads
 and lying on the ground in front of the queues
 Cutting through the procession with eggs, tomatoes, and
 blazing tires
 Hurling burning bottles and stones
 Stripped naked in front of the public
 Carving statements in the flesh
 Walking masked in front of cameras
 Dressed in shackles
 Tied and chained to garden fences
 Swallowing rusty razor blades and splintered glass
 Hacking of fingers with a machete
 and hanging myself from the lampposts
 Dousing the body with kerosene
 and setting it aflame
 I have tried all this, but you didn’t even turn to look
 This time, I swear
 I won’t utter a word, or move
 I will stay the way I am
 until you turn to look
 or until I am petrified 

 I fell in love with you
 without any regret directed at you or the grave
 I fell in love with you
 but I
 I forgot the shoes in the dream
 and the keys
 in the coffin.