a poem by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen, Denmark


It starts with giving name tags
to people who are different from us
The labels given turn ugly,
and demonize the others
and make them scapegoats
of our own misery.

Then we begin to adopt
the given name tags,
these labels, these definitions
about the others as true
Then the blood of hate,
the fever of revenge boils
to destroy the others
we barely know.

We surrender our humanity
to hate and revenge – to
self protection and self-perpetuation.
While the others, made scapegoats
of our own misery, become objects
of violence and revenge -
leaving the lives of the others
as trampled skulls and bones in the desert.
January 1, 2020, Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

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