Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All America Demands Justice ....

The president is as angry as angry can be.
Pollution is spreading all over the sea.
It's not due to Exxon, it's down to BP.
He's calling for justice and full reparation.
He's spreading his message across the whole nation.

But wait, there's a memory stirring in me.
There's something familiar in those letters, you see,
A name with a B and also a P,
The name of a place that reminds me of hell,
Thirty six years dead and I can still smell
Those bodies all burning inside,
The thousands of victims of Union Carbide.
You'll know now, for sure, what those letters spell,
B - H - O - P - A - L.

I can take you back, it's all still there,
Ruined factory, poisoned earth, venomous air,
Black, black water in every well
And now you can go back home and tell
Of deformed limbs on every street,
Of the blind and the mad who you had to meet.
Yes, tell all the guilty, who got off scot free,
Safe in their mansions, where no one can see,
The compensation per person was just 30p.

Of course BP should pay for what it has done, but let's not be selective. What goes for BP goes for everybody else and certainly for American companies who dodge behind the protection of an all powerful state. Governments too should be called to account for giving the multi-nationals free rein to plunder and spoil.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Ballad of 13

Bogside, Sunday, red mist calling,
Stumble onto cobbled street,
Bleary, angry, no more falling,
Steady now on swollen feet.

Paras sweating, faces twitching,
Huddled, cursing, in the dark,
Trigger fingers raw and itching,
Barrack rage about to arc.

Placards, banners, clatter, voices,
Heaving surges. Just can’t wait.
Comes the moment for the choices.
Pick the stone. Select your fate.

Batons beating riot black shields,
Visors lowered, hidden eyes,
Tear gas flooding concrete fields,
Enclosing us where feeling dies.

Useless chanting, fractured hymns,
Bloody, bloody, bloody faces,
Bloody broken, bloody limbs,
Desecrated, once safe places.

Cold intention through the gun sight.
Old man dangling, feckless lout,
A bullet’s distance through the night.
Ready! Snuff his lights right out!

Father Daly, ducking, waving,
Bullets screaming round his head,
What’s the point, you ask, in saving
Bodies, when our souls have fled?

Neatly labelled, features flat,
Thirteen corpses stacked like lumber.
No need tell a Derry man that
Thirteen’s an unlucky number.

I don't want you to get the idea that the US and Israeli governments hold the monopoly in state terror. The Brits have been doing it for a long time. 25 years on, no one has been brought to book for these 13 murders.
This was first posted in 2006. I knew, of course, that 14 died as a result of the Paras' action. Tomorrow the Saville Enquiry reports. Will it be any better than the Widgery Whitewash? I notice too, that so many of my Irish brothers and sisters are deeply involved in the movement for a Free Palestine and still prepared to risk their lives for justice.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wounded in Action

Don't look away,
as you pass me by.
Look me in the face.
Look me right in the eye.

I watched you wave your flag.
I saw you cheer and scream.
I've seen it ever since,
in every waking dream.

Straight after the explosion,
when a bright sky turned black
and I could not move one finger,
or raise my shattered back.

I saw you line that street,
with your well-intentioned friends,
but where are they all hiding
as I battle to make ends?

Not looking for your pity.
Don't waste your charity.
Now that I'm beached and wrecked,
just treat me with respect.

Don't turn away,
as you pass me by,
Look straight at what's left of my body.
Answer the question - why?

The picture shows Gelli Aur and an open day to raise funds to turn it into a facility to treat wounded and traumatised soldiers in Wales. Wales, per head, contributes more recruits to the army than any other part of the UK, yet there are no such facilities in our country. Governments of every colour are all too ready to send our young men into war, but they are not prepared to look after them when they return having paid the price for the folly of others. It is a crime that these boys have to depend on charity in their own land and how ironic is it that those of us, who opposed the wars in the first place, are the first to put our hands in our pockets to put this right?