Inspired by Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Princess Arinola Adegbite created this poem for inclusion in A Poetic Declaration, commissioned for the Ripples of Hope Festival at HOME in Manchester, in September.

Princess Arinola Adegbite or “P. A. Bitez” is a songwriter, filmmaker, and performer based in Manchester. Her poem was inspired by Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which codifies the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Princess said:

“I know many people that have been destroyed by people’s perception of them. Article 11 – innocent until proven guilty is important to me because assumptions ruin lives, they get people killed, imprisoned and exiled. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt until evidence that contradicts that innocence is presented. In the past people were lynched, burned at the stake and punished purely due to stereotypes. I want to encourage people to use their discernment and not initial judgments.”

The Ripples of Hope Festival at HOME in September was held by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights UK charity.

The Naked Eye

Innocence cannot be recognised by the naked eye, 
Just ask the Birmingham Six or the Central Park Five.  
Dylan roof scoffed down a burger after murdering nine, 
Uncle Sam probably has his picture up on a shrine.

Atomic bombs make the orders, miles of misfortune 
left by court appointed lawyers, citizens hung, drawn 
& quartered like swollen scapegoats sent to the slaughter.
Live roadside oblivions for our sons and daughters. 

Innocence cannot be recognised by the naked eye,
Just ask the Birmingham six or the Central Park five.  
Dylan roof scoffed down a burger after murdering nine, 
Uncle Sam probably has his picture up on a shrine. 

For eight minutes & forty-six seconds we watch abyss in high definition, 
Desensitised to Armageddon when shrapnel punctures the skin of foreign children.  
War is a pistol pointed at infants, the law itself has become a delinquent,
Contingent on pockets, pigments. Oh, humans we love a good witch hunt. 

Innocence cannot be recognised by the naked eye,
Just ask the Birmingham six or the Central Park five.  
Dylan roof scoffed down a burger after murdering nine, 
Uncle Sam probably has his picture up on a shrine. 

Intestines drop from the sky; children detonate in Palestine,
A warlord drinks cyanide to evade his war crimes, 
Barabbas makes the headlines for dodging hard time.
If Jesus was alive today, he’d probably be crucified. 

Innocence cannot be recognised by the naked eye, 
Just ask the Birmingham six or the Central Park five.  
Dylan roof scoffed down a burger after murdering nine, 
Uncle Sam probably has his picture up on a shrine. 


Ali Ayman Abu Alia

Clementa C. Pinckney
Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd
Susie Jackson
Ethel Lee Lance
Depayne Middleton
Tywanza Sanders 
Daniel L. Simmons Awendaw
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton 
Myra Thompson 
Kevin Richardson
Raymond Santana,
Antron McCray
Yusef Salaam
Korey Wise 

Hugh Callaghan, 
Patrick Joseph Hill
Gerard Hunter
Richard McIlkenny
William Power
John Walker

George Floyd
P.A. Bitez

P.A. Bitez

Princess Arinola Adegbite or “P. A. Bitez” is a Jamaican-born Nigerian poet, songwriter, filmmaker, and performer based in Manchester. In 2017 she won Slambassadors, a national poetry competition, and published her debut poetry collection Soft Tortures.  In 2020, she became one of six winners of BBC Words First 2020, a talent scheme searching for the best-Spoken Word Poets in the UK. She is a member of Young Identity.


First published in A Poetic Declaration, September 2021

On Human Rights Day, 1O December, a Poetic Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created by school children from Greater Manchester, to view it – click here

The Meteor is a media co-operative on a mission to democratise the media in Manchester. To find out more – click here.

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Featured image: Wikipedia Commons

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