||| Three Fingers

Literature Default
a poem by Yanitta Iew

||| three fingers


we belong to a country with fingers as prison bars

every word thrown in the swamp

tongues buried in a grave

ammunition cremated


you call us traitors

cut our hair; shatter our mirrors

leave us stranded with a slap on the wrist

three fingers still upright

atrophy from the white ribbon


they don’t have ears but long to have another mouth

"love your country, kid."

the clock’s three fingers have only turned once

how do you know what’s good when you have never seen it?

give me your hand so i can slap it


children

unaware of what freedom smells like

born and raised by khaki troops

swearing loyalty like singing karaoke

holding up three fingers

to remind us of what we don’t have


king buries bullets down throats

orders assassinations from an unlimited buffet menu

throws away women like shots fired

two fingers to clutch, one for the trigger

fifteen fingers behind bars


we want to belong to a country with

protests found only in history books

three fingers used only for writing

a voice doesn’t cost a future



Three fingers, held up high in the sky.


The purpose of this piece is to spread awareness about the pro-democracy protests in Thailand which boomed last year, but have lasted for decades. The protestors used the three-fingered gesture to represent freedom of speech, expression and non-violence. There have not been many instances in which Thailand’s youth can explicitly articulate our anger because speaking up could cost us our lives. Currently, the youth who have spoken are arrested, abducted or missing.


Thais have continuously depicted a contradicting image for the three-fingered gesture. It can be used to swear loyalty to the monarchy, to fire a gun, to slap one’s wrists, to imprison one’s opinions, to remind the youth of their age and incapability…and the most contradictory one yet: representing freedom.


- Yanitta Iew


Cover Photo Source: Al Jazeera