Stop by Karen Barton

……………..Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim

Stop,
The image halts, a snapshot from Saudi Arabia
Stop
A man stops, arm suspended mid-swing, machete poised.
Stop
The police, the military, suspended walking away, backs turned.
Stop
The woman’s pleading ceases, paused with her last breath
Stop
The article stops before her beheading leaving us breathless too
Stop
The report discusses the ramifications, east / west relations
But
What if the status quo stopped?
What if skirting issues stopped?
What if the pausing of open dissent stopped?
What if the turned backs stopped?
What if the ignored human rights stopped?
What if persecution masquerading as cultural difference just – stopped?
But stop, stop you say.
I don’t understand international relations.
My simplistic arguments won’t stay the hand of a persecutor,
…… Alter the course of military might or
………….Stay the screams of a petrified woman.
Don’t try to understand issues beyond me
Better people are working to make them
Stop.

Karen Barton is currently studying a Creative Writing BA (Hons) with the Open University and is the moderator for several online creative writing forums. She is currently setting up a writers café group where creative conversation will flow like caffeine.

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