Poems of the Week

An Eye for Brunei

by Nora Jay

“Brunei defends death by stoning for gay sex in letter to EU …
In a four-page letter to MEPs, the kingdom’s mission to the EU called for ‘tolerance, respect and understanding’ with regard to the country’s desire to preserve its traditional values and ‘family lineage.’ … [The later states, in part:] ‘The penal sentences of hadd—stoning to death and amputation—imposed for offences of theft, robbery, adultery and sodomy, have extremely high evidentiary threshold, requiring no less than two or four men of high moral standing and piety as witnesses, to the exclusion of every form of circumstantial evidence.’”
—The Guardian

Please grant us some respect and understanding
For penalties which holiness condones
Like beating and beheading and behanding,
And pelting with divinely sanctioned stones.

It’s tolerance we’re asking, for such values
As whipping men who go around in frocks:
A means our wise defenders of morale use
To complement the showerings of rocks.

We only want our families protected
From sodomy, adultery, and theft;
We find, when robbers’ wrist bones are bisected,
They’re much more honest with the half that’s left.

Don’t fancy execution will come easy:
Four witnesses, male, pious, and unbent,
Must testify, though horrified and queasy,
To each depraved, disgusting incident;

With evidential threshholds for conviction
Established thus so dizzyingly high,
Let none (however sexually sick) shun
The luxury hotels of chaste Brunei.