Speak Up

If “freedom of speech” is a right, isn’t “speaking up” an obligation?





Speak—your lips are free.

Speak—your tongue is still yours.

This magnificent body

Is still yours.

Speak—your life is still yours.




Look inside the smithy—

Leaping flames, red-hot iron.

Padlocks open their jaws.

Chains disintegrate.














Speak—there is little time
But it is enough.
Time enough
Before the body perishes—
Before the tongue atrophies.
Speak—truth still lives.
Say what you have to say.


(Urdu poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz; translation by Daud Kamal)

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