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  My (R)evolution, part 5.

Since April 19 of this year Nicaragua, the country where I’ve been living for the past 13 years, is in a state of social unrest and political upheaval that it hadn’t seen for several decades.

For a while I was playing ostrich. I didn’t look at the news, even though I knew more or less what was on it. I didn’t talk that much with friends about the situation on the mainland, as if silence could make the problem go away or at least not seem so serious and big. On our little peaceful island, we were hoping for the best, pretending that we could sit this out.

Basically, I was in denial.

Until I heard about the road blocks. Barricades on most highways were seriously blocking all traffic, affecting the transport of all our supplies.

On Monday the news got to our island that next Saturday the freight boat that brings everything we need, from tomatoes to toilet paper, from peppers to propane, would not be coming.

Now that was news I needed to keep up with…

President Ortega and his wife, vice-president Rosario Murillo.


The young didn’t know,

but deep within their spirits

a desire was burning,

a fire

lit by their parents

and grandparents too.


A fire sparking

a will to be free,

feeding an urge

to stand up and fight.

Fight for their right

to be human

to be safe to be alive,

unknown to the puppet on strings

pulled by dark madness

dressed up with the feathers

of a bird of paradise,

lost in a reality that isn’t theirs.


Paradise lost in the eddying vortex

of power and greed.


The young don’t remember

but they fight for their future

driven by the dreams of their old

to be human

to be safe

to be free

to be alive


Because real life cannot exist in the grip of steel,

dressed up in the colours of a bird of paradise.


This is part 4 in the series My (R)evolution, reporting from a country in chaos, trying to make sense of my own mind.

Find other episodes here.


This poem has also been published on


For 20 years I’ve stayed away from the news. At first it was by force, because I was travelling in Asia in times long before internet was omnipresent, when finding a newspaper in a language I could read was rare, and internet-cafés were sparse.

During my travels I started volunteering on remote farms or in small villages, renting a simple house. I haven’t lived in a house with TV for almost 20 years now.

By default, I stopped keeping up with the news, and pretty soon I was completely out of the habit of trying to find out what’s going on in the world.

I actually found it a relief not following the news. I had more time to do other things, and I felt over-all happier. News is mostly bad news, and it always makes me feel upset, sad, angry, powerless, frustrated or shocked. It is also mostly news that I cannot do much about, since it happens far from where I live, now already for 13 years on this tiny speck of land in the Caribbean Sea.

For years of my life I had let the news drain my energy, when I was younger. Once I discovered how much better I felt when I didn’t know all that news, without ever feeling that not knowing what’s going on in the world threatened my well-being or my life, I made it a point of not keeping up with it, period.

When on April 19 of this year protests against a change in the social security system here in Nicaragua resulted in hundreds of injured and dozens of dead people thanks to police violence, I was still in the “I don’t want to know this”-mode.