I'm happy to tell you guys that I was one of 85 commended (out of 6000 entrants) for the Foyle Young Poets competition for the following poem:
We shun symbols of oppression
To celebrate our freedom
We place children on English billboards
To advertise our nation,
To encourage people to ignore
The prejudice, which haunts us in airports
And at dinner parties
When people ask if we are forced
To wear one of those scarves
When we are at home.
No. I am not, you try to explain.
My country is secular
Perhaps you should watch the news.
Or not. Lies stream from TV sets
And filter into the minds of foreigners
Making them hate what they do not understand.
Well—not lies. The wrongdoings of a scant few
Aggravated by fear.
People will forget that their nations
Have committed similar crimes in the name of
Power, wealth, religion,
That have merely been buried under layers
Of superiority and ignorance.
Thus we are judged on unequal footing,
Somehow retaining the hope that they will come to realize
The love that we have for our vibrant homeland
And embrace the differences.