I cannot stress how important it is for you to watch this collection of poetry which brings together various arts organisations and human rights charities. Fly the Flag, a movement launched in 2018, reminds us of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which we are all entitled to. The flag, created as a celebration of these rights, was created by the well-known arts activist Ai Weiwei in the year of the movement's launch.
This year artists come together and response to Article 25: the right to food, shelter, healthcare, social services and security, and the diverse collection of 30 poems are a must-watch.
Although I am spotlighting just a few of the pieces, please do take the time to watch them all - the ones I have chosen have simply resonated and stayed with me throughout the day.
'Universal' by Sonali Bhattacharyya
The sound of a fetal heartbeat - the opening to Bhattacharyya’s spoken word / theatrical monologue performance. Bhattacharyya juxtaposes the nurturing relationship between a mother’s body and her unborn child, against the relationship between the U.K’s governmental body and to those in need. The relationship between mother and unborn child acts as both metaphor and plot device that unravels into a tale of a worker’s rights abuse and child poverty. Filled with raw emotion, it’s a beautiful and heartbreaking poem.
‘Article 25’ by Courtney Stoddart
Stoddart’s delivery generates a consistent rhythm that creates a sort of snow-balling effect. The rhythm and content reinforces the poem’s message as she consolidates national issues such as the refugee crisis, and increasing inequality to ‘Great Britain’s’ imperialist position on the international stage. It is once again a reminder that social injustices our nation suffers from are breed by a global capitalist system.
‘Here to Help’ by Arji Manuelpillai This poem looks back at the visit Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, paid to the British government in 2018, where he concluding that ‘poverty is a political choice’ in the U.K. The formal structure of the poem, and the way the poetic tone of voice effortlessly slips in and out of a satirical tone mirrors the calculated, and vacuous nature of the meet between Alston and the U.K government. Manuelpillai manipulates the language so that it both reveals the performative nature of the meet’s rhetoric against the brutal reality of living under conditions of extreme poverty.