Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Assassination of Fadel Shana

Painted on its side was a Star of David,
Which made it God’s chosen tank,
Impervious to criticism, omnipotent,
Invincible in the face of stone throwing kids.

The turret rotated and the muzzle,
Like a baleful Cyclops eyed its prey,
A four by four parked
A few hundred yards away,

An obvious target,
Marked with letters three feet high –
‘TV/PRESS’ – an obvious invitation to open fire –
After all, it’s open season on those who ask why?

And so the long barrel coughed once,
The rabbinical shell spun on its way,
Determined to have the final say,
Ripped the back of the car right off,

Splintered into flechettes,
Inch long darts, which sliced
Through his flak jacket, as if through chaff,
Cut his puny spine in half.

Two seconds after a puff of dust
Marked the moment of the shot,
His images gave way to static
At the moment his great heart burst.

An Israeli military official said, "We wish to express sorrow for the death of the Palestinian cameraman ... It should be emphasized that the area in which the cameraman was injured is an area in which ongoing fighting against armed, extreme and dangerous terrorist organizations occurs on a daily basis. "The presence of media, photographers and other uninvolved individuals in areas of warfare is extremely dangerous and poses a threat to their lives."

After 2 weeks in hospital, weeks without news, I see that nothing has changed and so I return to the fray.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Falling Down

Dr, Mugabe knew one secret.
He found it in a learned book,
So when he saw the great White Tree he shook
And shook until the leaves fell into the dust
And the roots were ripped from the earth
And the Tree crashed to the ground
As all rotten trees must.

Dr. Mugabe strode out of the forest of dead trees,
With an AK47 in one hand.
On his back, he carried a bag of promises,
gifts to be spread throughout the land.
The greatest promise he kept inside,
A song of freedom that could never be denied.

Dr. Mugabe put his feet under our table.
He took the food from our plate.
When the water from our wells ran dry, we realised too late
That of the song of freedom there was no sound
And the bag of promises was nowhere to be found.

Dr. Mugabe grew old.
His women all grew fat.
His brothers all wore sharp White suits
And smiles like the proverbial cat
Who crept into our house and stole the cream
And the song of freedom became a distant dream.

Before it came to this,
If only he’d had the time to sit
With the old men in the shade,
Watching the ants, such industrious insects,
Build great cities out of mud and shit
And he would have known, like them,
That warriors rarely make the best architects
And the elders would have told him, without hesitation,
That if you yearn to build a nation,
There’s one big snag….
You can’t imprison freedom in your own bag.

My old Townhill sparring partner, Frank Grist, would have a wry smile on his face if he could read this poem. When I last saw him, just before he died, he took great pleasure in reminding me that I was 'Mugabe's Man', as I had supported the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe. I don't regret my stand and I never have had any illusions in the 'heroes of the revolution'.