• Nadja Eriksson

Victims and Perpetrators. A poem

As I lay watching a Ted Talk by a young Iraqi woman

Speaking about her forced child marriage at the age of 16

And her sister’s abduction and murder by their own father

In a desperate attempt to restore the family’s honor.

My instinctive reaction is hatred.

I want to penetrate this man with my deadly venom,

Breathing orange flames like a dragon mother

Turning her enemies to ashes and dust.

But then I remember a deeper truth

I experienced when my soul went to places

Too vast for the small mind to comprehend,

An inner knowing I brought back from beyond the beyond.

It asks me to rise above the battleground and

To stop condemning these men as rapists and murderers

But to see them as victims of the human condition,

Directed by a delusional (tor)mentor: the ego-mind.

I imagine them as little boys, all new and innocent,

Blindly believing every lie their mothers and fathers

Ever told them about tradition, family, pride, and revenge,

Long before they were old enough to even understand what marriage means.

And so I pray for their release

from the prison of their own unloving thoughts.