Lament of a Relocated Person

They came with bulldozers

And a gun carrying police force

They gave no notice

They held no dialogue

They turned the house I built

Brick by brick

Over thirty years

Into unusable rubble.


The utility connections

Legally acquired

Paid for by my wife’s savings

Through years of bisi committees

Are now just dangling wires and pipes

Disconnected from the life of the city

Soon to be buried under new construction.


They have dumped us in the wilderness

Where my child has no school

And my wife no job

And I spend hours in expensive commuting

With no time for them.


They have dumped us in the wilderness

Far from the joys, sorrows and friends

Of our childhood and adolescence

And from the spaces whose evolution

Gave us a new vision

And transformed us

From members of different clans

Into equal citizens of an expanding city.


They have robbed us of our identity

Made us poor again

Told us by their actions

That we are the residue of the city

Who can own no land

For it only belongs to the rich.

One Comment

  1. Dear Mr Arif Hasan,

    I would like to use your poem for a paper about Low Income Settlement in regard to the topic Health and Housing and I wonder if you would give me the rights to use it in my paper for the World Slum Improvement Forum 2018 in Karachi.

    With the 1st World Slum Improvement Forum in Karachi we want to start a biennal forum a weekend for the World Urban Forum and we want to organise it in Karachi to honour Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan, Perween Rahman and the others who work 24/7 to improve the life of millions throughout the world as OPP is also a model for participatory bottom-up development initiatives!

    With kind regards,

    Erik Van Loon
    +316 E VAN LOON (+316 3 826 5666)
    +1865 2 E V LOON (+1865 2 3 8 5666)

    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:39 pm | PermalinkReply

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