END SARS: a Letter to Our Allies

Written by Denise O Austin

Illustrated by Shazmeen Khalid

*Below this poem are resources on how to help end SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian police)*

10.20.20 I lay in bed with feelings of distraught and hopelessness

The rain pours against my window heightening the distress

The heavens must be weeping with joy

Today they welcome home their angels 

Those that strived to make Nigeria a better place

A country that has proven itself several times to be nothing more than a disgrace

A disgrace to its people and those of you looking in

A country that won’t compromise financial gain for the lives of its citizens

Our hearts are mourning our brothers and sisters

Our hearts are broken for our motherland

Because the blood of our heroes’ pasts drips off our President’s hands

But it shall never be in vain – united we stand 

We stand in solidarity worldwide with our allies by our sides

My country is in danger so please hear my cry!

My people are being killed and the government has turned a blind eye;

My government has turned a blind eye to poverty 

My government has turned a blind eye to terrorism 

My government has turned a blind eye to police brutality

My government has turned a blind eye to corruption

My people have been killed for the most abstruse and incomprehensible reasons by the very people who are meant to serve and protect

They have been killed by cultists with guns in the guise of a Nigerien Police Force.

On the 10th of October 2020, the Nigerian youth peacefully protested against police brutality and as a result our leaders turned off CCTV and ordered for these civilians to be shot dead by the military

We don’t deserve to be beaten because we can’t afford to pay a bribe

We don’t deserve to be kidnapped because we travel at night 

We don’t deserve to be raped because our clothes are revealing

We don’t deserve to die because of tattoos and piercings

They didn’t deserve to die from the bullets that pierced their skins

Nigerians have shown bravery and the power to be relentless

Even during civil unrest with guns pointed at our heads

Imagine what it feels like trying to fight the good fight 

In a country that doesn’t provide basic resources like water and light

In a country that doesn’t provide shelter or welfare

They shot at young people who can’t even afford healthcare

To say Nigerians are Traumatised would be an understatement

We protest for all lives and watch others stay quiet and complacent

When we’re being killed and left on the streets for dead

It makes me question, does anyone even care? 

It feels like no one cares at times

If the shoe was on the other foot voices would be amplified

Is it because we’re African that it’s normalised? 

For Black people to drop dead like flies.

Ask yourself and help us strategize, lend your voice, protest, say a prayer, inform others, petition, donate, whatever you do, don’t turn a blind eye.

To find out more: click here
To help the cause: click here

The Author

Denise O Austin is a British writer, model and designer from London. Austin has attained a degree in Criminology and expresses her passion for institutionalized racism within the Criminal Justice System through her literature and activism. 

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