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The Web Poetry Corner - Lee Emmett - Springboks Demo

Springboks Demo


Lee Emmett

Armed only with convictions,
and whistles,
totally shocked by police
searching through pockets and bags,
we were ill-prepared for the violent
confrontation of values.

We thought the demo was simply
a matter of stating our view:
all people are born equal and
deserve equal rights.

Soccer fans were there
for their sport; a game
played out on the oval.
Cameras recorded the event
for an international audience.

Demonstrators’ efforts to
penetrate the perimeter,
and overcome the barriers
was met with a force
determined to maintain
the status quo.

When the arrests began
the real power of the state
was revealed.
Fellow protestors
were picked off,
one by one,
pulled away,
and shoved
into ‘divi’ vans.

The crowd roared
at the battle on the field.
Out of view,
the true gladiators fought
on the sidelines:
an historical right at stake,
to apartheid in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela sacrificed years
of his life behind bars
to bring democracy and
justice to his nation.

As the Springboks toured
Ferociously we fought, in
solidarity with Mandela’s cause.

Power, like a soccer ball,
passed from one team to the other.
Over time teams changed,
and rules were abandoned.
Finally ideals were lost.

We mourn battered and
bruised innocence,
and the brutal assault on
our notions of democracy
and freedom.

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