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A Poem by Faiqa Ali Chughtai

One day I woke up, tapped my Tumblr link,

but found a rumbler, on black screen’s brink.

Words in white, like stars at night,

said, Internet’s done, in plain sight.

Evaporated link, fell in volcano’s sway,

fizzled out, foolish display.

Splat of error, wiggly net,

annoying glitches, hard to forget.


I turned to Insta, but it was crying,

full of testimonials and lying,

soldiers eating loot, smashing lingerie, no denying.

“It’s for the hostage”, am simply not buying

toys bound to tanks like in Mad Max’s ride,

innocent civilians fall with each bullet’s stride.


Toys of kids, who don’t smell of milk or poop,

but of death, in this hunger coup.

War of flour massacre, hunger-stricken kids,

new century’s holocaust, lost in its grids.


Then comes Aron Bushnell, speaking loud and clear,

no longer complicit in genocidal fair.

Extreme protest reaching skies while we rest,

“Free Palestine!” he shouts, till his last breath.


Strength in his spine, shouting through the fog,

where humans don’t count, death’s just a log.


Humanity lost, gummed up tight,

something’s not working, something’s not right.


Melted flesh, wonky space,

something sucks, no saving grace.

Humanity evaporated in volcano’s sway,

fizzled out in power’s foolish display.


We fell prey, to a nameless error,

we witness the dance of this deafening terror.

A Statement by Faiqa Ali Chughtai on her process

This poem delves into the affliction of human machinery with a bug of apathy, brutality, and indifference. It accounts for the individual struck with fear, shock, and guilt, while also paying homage to the hero immune to this error, Aaron Bushnell. As a millennial, I’ve witnessed the world morph into a global village, shaped by social media and broadcasts that define our reality. While it’s uplifting to witness expressions of love and joy, it’s gut-wrenching to witness genocide unfolding before our eyes, leaving us hurt and hollow.


We’ve borne witness to atrocities that haunt us, from children dying in incubators to famine claiming innocent lives. This unfolds before us, prompting the question: are we truly more civil than our ancestors? Do we embody the advanced models of human beings we claim to be? We pride ourselves on our morals and the sanctity of life, consuming media depicting war heroes tormented by guilt over civilian casualties. Yet here, we see a new breed of young soldiers dancing in a massive graveyard, inscribing wishes on bombs, playing with lingerie, and treating children’s toys as war trophies.


I observe all of this with a numb mind and utter disbelief, grappling with the thought, ‘this can’t be us’. What monstrous error has brought us to this point? We, the torchbearers of truth and justice, choose silence in the face of the most well-documented genocide in history. And amidst it all, here comes a hero like Aaron Bushnell, who sacrifices himself in the name of humanity while we remain cosy in our beds. He forces me to question my morals, pondering what history will write about us—a generation mindlessly scrolling through the blood of innocents. Doesn’t this make us complicit?


Some days, I fear that this bug of indifference and atrocity will infect the entire universe. I dread the day when roofs, walls, and skies will all become screens, endlessly replaying these Instagram posts. I fear that humanity will shut down, much like my abandoned Tumblr account. This poem stands as a testament to these fears.

Back to BoundBy: Spring '24 (Edition #08)

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