for the “treasonous”, the belville 6 – by ameera conrad

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Outside Parliament, 21 October, 2015. Photo: Imraan Christian

He stood in front of us
held his palms up
be calm comrades
sit down comrades
do not do anything to antagonise them
Comrades.
They knew his face, though we could not see him between the arms of a chokehold.

He sat on the floor among us
legs crossed under him
Senzeni na?
Senzeni na?
They stunned us, clicked tazers.
White-police-coward-not-man
pulled him out and away.
Another chokehold.

He fell to the floor
when the first grenade cracked
through the crowd.
Pulled up and bashed against shields
holding his burned face
dragged across the gravel.
Senzeni na?

He sat on the steps
quietly
consoling comrades
away from the crowd
They ripped him to his feet
he showed his empty palms
into the back of a van.
No fists.
Empty palms.

He held his hands over his head.
He held his empty hands over his head.
He held his open palms over his head.
He held his head.

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