In a city square,
under the view of spy cameras,
a man reveals to onlookers
that he is preparing
to set himself on fire
to raise his despair as a battle flag,
a rally flag,
against an unjust ruler, thus shifting
from despair into rage and action –
and no one attempts to stop him,
to reason with him, to go and fetch
a fire extinguisher.
Some have asked why
none of us moved to stop him, asked
how could we let someone self-immolate
before us, calmly, even announcing it
before the deliberate sparking of the match?
Whatever choice we had in this
ended with his declaration. As the choice
“to be or not to be” was transformed
into “death or freedom” we knew better
than to intervene — and really,
is that a choice at all?