Is there Anyone to Help You?


You called out,

deserted on the sands of Karbala,

with the shameless swords of the traitors glinting with malice before you,

you called out,

Is there anyone to help me?

That day the answer for you was silence.

That day your companions could not jump to your side.

That day Abbas could not respond with his sword held high.

That day they lay still on the plains of Karbala

with the East wind blowing dust over their bodies

and you looked out into the face of evil,

the Prophet betrayed, and you alone.
I wish I could say today your call has been answered.

I wish I could say today the millions of us are there with you in the plains of Karbala,

that we call out with a resounding answer that echoes over the world,

trembles mountain ranges and weakens the knees of any oppressor,

shatters the pillars of any tyrant

strikes hope in to eyes of the oppressed,

and lightens the world with our love for you,

an answer that holds the ferocity of Abbas as he thundered towards Furat,

and answer that has the daring fury of Zaynab as she slammed Yazid in his court

an answer that has the urgent and basic love that moved Ali Asghar to fall off his craddle.

an answer that mimics the fierce loyalty of the shuhada that lay

in the battlefield that day and you were alone.
You were alone.

But not again, I wish to say. It would not happen again.

The streets shrouded in black,

the handkerchiefs weighty with tears,

the hearts that cry out for you

the compassion, the pain,

the sorrow that wrings out from every bosom-

all an ardent reply to your call,

that we are here, that we care.
I long to say that this time your army will not be seventy-two.

This time masses of millions will march along you.

The glint of our combined swords will light the world.

The proof of our loyalty the tears that we have wept

and these black shrouds on our backs.
This time around, you will not be alone Imam,

We have answered your call, I hunger to say.
But today I still hear your call.

It echoes from the orphans of Iraq,

It comes resoundingly from the tyrannized in Palestine,

from the helpless in Africa,

the terrorized in Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India

From every land, in every language your call,

Is there anyone to help me

stalks and haunts the world.

It goes unheard, ignored, abused,

but so defiantly loud in the pale eyes of the child

who whimpers at the gun pointed at him.
Does your despair not simmer in the eyes of the child

who’s only view of the world is from behind barbed wires?


Can I not hear the choking sobs of Umm Rabab

When a mother buries her child in Gaza under the rain of bombs?

Can I not hear the weeping of Sukayna on the headless body of her father

when a girl screams as her father blows up into smithereens?

Can I not hear the wails of Al Atash, Al Atash

coming from the refugee tents set up in my country?

Can I not hear the screams in the desert night when the tents burnt to ashes

coming from the family that watches, terrified as their neighborhood is bulldozed by army
In the desperate eyes of each and every single one of them,

I can hear them echoing your call,

your call to me

Is there anyone to help me?

Are they abandoned like you on the battlefield?


The graves of today’s martyrs are fresh, moist with blood,

their Yazids still stand, spitting out lies to the world.

How could I say every day is not Ashura?

How could I say every land is not Karbala?
I wish to so much to say to you

to somehow be able to meet your eyes and tell you

that we are not like the cowardly backstabbing Kufans

that we are not like the stone hearted Yazidis

that we are answering your call,

that we are there to help you

but today, when I look out into the world

and the clamour of oppression deafens me

I tremble to say I still hear a silence.

I hear a silence that echoes the hush of the desert on the day of Ashura,

a silence which is a blessing for a Yazid

a silence that stifles any hope,

a silence that brings the end so much closer,

a silence that is oppression

the silence you were met with.

It is that silence that I hear still today…

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