UNHRC Geneva Circus 2013 – A tragicomedy in verse
Posted on March 8th, 2013

by Manjuka Soysa


The annual circus is upon us

One and all give us your focus

Giants, clowns and freaks galore –

prima donnas all not a single bore

Here we gather to show the world

that justice is alive and well

With pride our hearts will swell

Names be made and emotions stirred,

tyrants brought down and hung

Songs of joy for freedom sung

Let all man rejoice in peace

and forgive our outrageous fees

So who you ask will reign this year

I shall tell you, lend me your ear


Let’s start from the top

In this motley crew

there’s always a boss

whose words be true

The ringmaster one might say

Or Mistress appropriate in this case

Pavi Nillay you may have heard

is back again to lead the herd

A lady of great importance

Not afraid to face the furnace

Whip in hand, for severe punishment

It is her source of entertainment

Who can be more qualified

to free the masses victimised


Oppressive regimes all world-over

shudder when Pavi waves her whip

Always ready to shoot from hip

Better off to give up and bend-over

The obedient will be forgiven

To democracy you will be driven

Unless if you’re a super power –

about you Pavi won’t bother

For Pavi’s duty as head of circus

is not to bother her pay masters

But to punish little upstarts

who aren’t open to free markets

or those not ready to share their oil

with the powers who’s fun they spoil


The freaks are organized in groups

Each with its own important label

Making it easy to gather the troops

Their achievements quite the fable

Amnesty, one says, the most famous

favourite hangout of banner-wavers

Globetrotting in the name of peace

About justice they will not tease.

HRW a less romantic name

Playing catchup in terms of fame

Will not give up on the race to top

With outrageous acts they do come up

The circus is the annual fest

For freaks to put their acts to test


And representing the great nations

The giants of human rights and freedom

Ambassadors arrive at their stations

A more important crowd is seen seldom

Here to talk about smaller nations

Chastise them for their violations

Their famous trick – carrot and stick approach

A subject we shall now meekly broach

The carrot given in terms of loans

to democratize your neighbourhood

And let the multinational firms

Excavate the ground you stood

And if you do not like Carrot, you’ll see

The stick comes out – worried you should be


For ‘freedom’ is not a choice for people

It will be dropped down your steeple

Shocked and awed you would be

As bombs bring to you democracy

Human value is well understood –

As unmanned drones exemplify

But there is no need to justify

Collateral damage for greater good

Freedom of press, when restored

Shall be your nations guiding light

Bringing to you great delight

And lifestyles you once spurned

This trick now practiced far and afield

Can easily compete with Copperfield


And who shall be the clown this year

It will be the pick of the crowd

We shall laugh, insult and shed a tear

or throw some fruit if too proud

Surprise! Surprise! Same as last year

A little country shaped like a pear

Which some thought would by now tear

Seems like this clown has no fear!

Through thirty years of war and struggle

The clown was a side-show, not much trouble

But now that it stands accused

Of killing the tigers – we’re not amused

For tigers are all part of the act

The clown has clearly broken the pact


The great illusionists of the day

Hold the assembly at his sway

forty thousand dead they come up with

numbers from thin air are fact forthwith

Evidence? What evidence, there is no need

As long as Channel 4 has video to feed

The cattle and the freaks are all to happy

To judge and hang under the canopy

The ambassadors want accountability

and reconciliation to suit

Or they will stick in the boot

The irony of it all – a great comedy

The judge, the jury and all the evidence

against the clown – is it time for repentance?


Give me a fair hearing he cries

What is the crime you accuse me of

Where is the balance you so talk of

I have nothing to answer – but let me apprise

For thirty years while my people struggled

Bombs going off and kids abducted

You did nothing to tame the tigers

Even called them freedom fighters

You let the raise funds in your fair cities

and turned a blind eye to their activities

There was no justice in those days

You slammed your door in my face

That is all fine I have forgiven

But do not think it is forgotten


After decades the guns are silent

children who bore them are now schooling

In what was once a ground for fighting

rice harvested – once more resplendent

What’s booming now is the economy

Not the suicide bombs of infamy

People of different beliefs and races

Going peacfully through life’s phases

And suddenly I have your full attention

for alleged rights violation

The crowd that once funded terrorists

call for sanctions – for whom this benefits?

For protecting my people I make no bones

Let he who has no sin cast the stones


I don’t need your carrot and stick

I can tell you where to stick it

Had enough lectures from the pulpit

I know you don’t know your topic

For your wealth built on warsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ spoils

from tyrants who turn from good to bad

depending on for whom their toils

A common occurrence, all too sad

And now your great new illusion

Spreading springs in great profusion

I know it is not justice you want to see

Just another sheep for your friends to fleece

A tearful clown makes his closing statement

Tragedy is it won’t stop his debasementƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Manjuka Soysa-Melbourne

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