The Men in my Country

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By Hishyar Abid
Hishyar Abid

Dedicated to Ajin Qadir*


Poor-sighted they are,
The men in my country
They did not see
When you took those perfect stills
They did not see the pedigree
You invoked into each image
The balance in the light
The volume in the figures
The fullness of the frame

The men in my country?
How poor-sighted they were!
They did not see
The courage that you showed
In the face of the low ranking boss
Who implied that you should give him favours
In return for authorising your allowance
They did not see
The dignity that you mustered
When the middle ranking guard
Made a lewd remark
As you passed by the gate

The men in my country did see,
The outline of your breast
The spots where your nipples would be
The triangle,
Somewhere to the left of your thigh
The rhythmic oscillation of your bottom
As you walked by
As they stripped you bare
In their mind

They looked when you weren’t looking
Little did they know
How self aware you were
That you could gauge their gazes
With the back of your head
Little did they know
How munch their intrusion
Turned your stomach
How much did their swagger
Sounded hollow
And churned your soul
The men of my country
Little did they know
How little did they knew

The men of my country
Are so poor-sighted
They are.

Leros, October 2019

*Ajin Qadir was a photographer covering news, and was very visible in all events in Sulaimani. She died in 2018, aged 33.