Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Starving for Justice: Eight Weeks and Counting

Resistance today has a bold face:
Oleg Sentsov, Ukraine's loyal son
risking hunger's painful death
that his compatriots might go free.

Far from World Cup action,
in a Siberian cell he battles
for his country and his conscience,
refusing his captors' bread.

How long before organs fail
and senses fade? How long
can Oleg Sentsov fight,
determined, weakened, alone?

Torturous force-feeding cannot touch
what this principled man believes.
His captors string his life along.
His death just now? Bad publicity!

Oleg Sentsov is writing the book
on bravery and selfless resistance:
no stronger statement than one's own life
offered to oppose power's abuse.

© Darrell Petska

(Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, accused of terrorism for refusing to acknowledge Russia's occupation of Crimea, is serving a 20-year sentence in a Siberian prison camp. Sentsov has been on a hunger strike since May to protest Russia's treatment of Ukrainian political prisoners. He is striking for their release, though not for his own. He timed his action to coincide with Russia's hosting of the World Cup. Ed)

Darrell Petska is a Madison, Wisconsin writer of poetry and fiction. He worked for many years as communications editor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.