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Part 1 [Nov 1995]

The charade is over
The masquerades
are on parade

Ribbons on heavy chests
One for every life
they have taken

The charade
- Is over
The Ogoni 9
were hung today

Injustice has triumphed
[But only for a day]

On the night of long knives
And wicked jibes
-starched uniforms and corporate suits gloated
as the bodies lay bloated

- they bellowed -
was the international community
when you were swallowed
by the gallows?

Could you not see
their fingers
dripping with oil
could not hold the knife
to cut you loose
from the hangman’s noose

[The charade is over]

The masquerades were on parade
in Auckland
- [and dancing
from Port Harcourt to Abuja
London to Washington
To ringing melodies
of cash registers] -
Hiding behind grotesque masks
of diplomatic disbelief
while their hearts
heaved sighs of relief
that rivers of oil
held up by the damned 9
would now flow

Part 2 [Nov 2005]

The charade is over

The masquerades
-have unmasked themselves
in the Gulf of Guinea

Today - we are united
in our songs - of defiance

We shall chant down
every BULLET and every BARRELL
Every SHELL and every TANK

has never triumphed
over free expression

Maybe in a skirmish or two
a battle or two
But in a war of words? Never!

You think
the revolution is dead
because you hung nine men?

Emerge from your corporate bunkers
from where you run your licensed bunkering
And you will see
in the eyes of their orphans
the mothers and fathers
of tomorrows revolution

-Pining for Justice
for towns and villages
reduced - to a Shell
of themselves

Amidst the intoxicated
clinking of barrels - of crude champagne
and wobbling stomachs - of your sated tankers
You cannot see
that even if you cant see the revolution
[In the burning light of flared gas]
the revolution sees you….

Rotimi Sankore copyright 95/05