As a reminder, he wrote the words ‘Human Rights’ in red ink on the palm of his hand. They were there when he showed his passport; there when he pressed the flesh; there when he clinked crystal glassware; there when he lifted a knife during dinner; there when he signed the lucrative contracts, there when the fighter jets and bombs were received; there when he waved goodbye; there when he pocketed the money. In every wash room in every hotel suite, conference facility, sales floor and banqueting hall, he scrubbed his hands hard. The damned words would not wash out.
From Siberia and the cold continent they arrive, to make home, however temporary. To eat. To survive. The Great Northern Diver. The Arctic Skua. Waxwing and Redwing. Snow Bunting. Short-eared Owl. Guillemot. Brent Geese in their tens of thousands, huddled in the cold mud of the grey estuaries, arcing over forlorn skies. Oystercatchers from Norway, stabbing the clay with flaming bills; Curlew, somewhere, it is rumoured. The great migrations of the world. While humans forge papers, dignity trafficked and stripped, never to be accepted, caged in a caravan, paying with their lives to survive and eat the carrion carcass freedom.