||| Three Fingers
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
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
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