'What Do You Really Want From Us?'

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This poem appeared on the Internet in March and has since gone viral, popping up on thousands of blogs and Web sites, in both English and Chinese. Its authorship could not be confirmed.

When we were the Sick Man of Asia,
We were called the Yellow Peril.
When we are billed as the next Superpower, we are called     The Threat.
When we closed our doors, you launched the Opium War to open our markets.
When we embraced free trade, you blamed us for stealing your jobs.
When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and demanded your fair share.
When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again, Free Tibet, you screamed. It was     an Invasion!
When we tried communism, you hated us for being communist.
When we embraced capitalism, you hated us for being capitalist.
When we had a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.
When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.
When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.
When we lend you cash, you blame us for your national debts.
When we build our industries, you call us polluters.
When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.
When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.
When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.
When we were lost in chaos, you demanded the rule of law.
When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it a violation of human rights.
When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.
When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed xenophobes.
Why do you hate us so much? we asked.
No, you answered, we don't hate you.
We don't hate you either,
But do you understand us?
Of course we do, you said,
We have AFP, CNN and BBC. . . .
What do you really want from us?
Think hard first, then answer . . .
Because you only get so many chances.
Enough is Enough, Enough Hypocrisy for This One World.
We want One World, One Dream, and Peace on Earth.
This Big Blue Earth is Big Enough for all of Us.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company