I Don’t Believe

I don’t believe, I’m sorry
I don’t believe it’s true
There’s no afterlife for me and you
After we’re gone, we’re through

They made up stories to get their own way
Like shepherds sing to sheep they told us tall tales
Preoccupied our minds and occupied our lands
Had us marching to the beat of their hypnotic bands

If there’s a God he’s mean, it’s better not to believe
Have faith in freedom, justice and harmony
We sacrifice this life dreaming of heaven
They deceive us and we let them

There’s an obligation to the next generation
To believe in a united nation
United freedom, united cause
Achieved by all through unchained thought

I wrote this in 2007, shortly before relocating to live in the Arab world. The poem suggests that I’m an ardent atheist, but was actually motivated by my lack of belief in people (at the time) rather than in a god. I was furious and frustrated by an oppressed people who continued to say “alhamdillah” (thank God) and “noshkorallah aala kol hal” (we thank God for all and any condition) when their lives were so controlled and meagre. I am thankfully no longer so judgemental of them, having lived among them, known them, loved them, felt pain with them, laughed with them, revolted with them. It’s hard enough being human, we needn’t cuff ourselves with judgement or dogma.

Select verses of this poem are included in my painting The Will of Sheep, part of the There Is No God But… series.