“There is No War in Ba Sing Se”

I’d like to think that my country
is more than a thousand-year-old map
that changes hands whenever someone wills it
(like someone actually owns it).
I’d like to think that my country
is full of kind-hearted men
and women, who would tell me
that I’ve built my home accordingly.
I’m an upstanding citizen.

I’d like to think that my country
would make me proud that I am proud
that it is my country.
An archipelago it may be
but we are united — truly united;
there is no room for anarchy.
The people here are like family.
We spread only goodwill and compassion
amongst our fellow men.
Our justice system is not blind! It is just,
and human rights are human rights
(we don’t make excuses for such).
People don’t get raped in my country,
and criminals get help because
we believe wholeheartedly that
people can turn their lives around.

To be brutally honest with you, foreigner,
there is no war in my country,
(just like there was no war in Ba Sing Se).
Conflicts just don’t happen here;
they just don’t— that’s the way it is.
People here live correctly; we
never make mistakes. So please,
leave your meddling outside the borders
leave your questions back at your homes.
Because as for me, I’d like to think
that there is nothing wrong with my country.
There is nothing wrong with my home,
and there is nothing wrong with me.
There is no war in the Philippines.
There is no war in Ba Sing Se.

— A. P.

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