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E'tokmit e'k, rangimarie, hedd, pace, tutquin, shanti, vrede, paquilisli, MNP, Onai rahu, amani, kev sib haum xeeb, shaantiM, hedd, gutpela taim, lalyi, pesca, damai, raha, fred, eirni, pax, mir, peace, heiwa, amn, nabad, rauha,paz, frid, paco, shAnti, paqe, danh tu, ittimokla, rahu, paix, beke, shalom, mnonestotse, kapayapaan
Celebrating the Poetry of Peace

The Ballad of S.Hussain

by Sydney Bernard Smith

in the dim & distant eighties

well before the last hurrah,

the wicked people of Iran

had ditched their saintly Shah.

with forty million fervent

Shia Muslims on the boil

the West preferred the Sunnis

to be managing the oil.

& Rumsfeld came to Baghdad

in nineteen-eighty-three:

"we'll help you to stand up to

Ayatollah Khomeini;

"this letter from our President

tells all there is to say.

Ronnie & the Pentagon

will back you all the way.

"all the arms & money

that you could ever need,

& patriotic principle,

& where that fails, there's greed."

they cosseted, supplied him

they armed him to the teeth,

lauded & hero-worshipped him;

they stoked his self-belief.

the CIA approved him

a golden boy was Saddam;

they gave him a list of lefties

& straightaway he shot'em.

he wanted something nuclear -

"right here! inside the gate?"

(it stayed; UN inspectors found it,

nineteen ninety-eight.)

"we know you don't mean any harm,

- though if perchance you did

be sure we'd come & get you

& screw down your little lid.

"you'd like to use a chemical?

we wouldn't make a fuss -

this gink is fighting on our side

he's just like one of us!

"what's he doing that's out of place?

we'd really like to know -

didn't we use agent orange

not so very long ago?"

they didn't throw their hands up,

they didn't roll their eyes,

they didn't point a finger

at "evil undisguised."

they didn't turn their face away

they never mentioned guilt -

& they didn't just encourage him

they backed him to the hilt.


Iran-Iraq fought eight long years;

about a million died -

the West was very happy

that Saddam was on on its side.

he asked Ambassador Glaspie

how the US ranked Kuwait.

said she "we've no position there."

thinks he: "well well! why wait?..."

& then they turned against him

for taking them at their word.

(ought one credit diplomats?

now now, don't be absurd.)

they made themselves a demon -

no finer to be had;

& they killed a hundred thousand

in the bombing of Baghdad...

& with Kuwait set "free" once more

(Amnesty has its uses)

twice as monstrous as before

were the human rights abuses.


After Bombing Iraq, Again, Blair speaks from the

Doorway of No. 10.

"The world's a safer place tonight!"

- with babies in their graves,

& some of them in more than one...

Resourceful paleface braves

fire off their missiles, & recoil

at twice the speed of light

to wash their hands. They've made the world

a safer place tonight.


Read more poetry, prose and plays by Sydney B. Smith at http://www.esatclear/~littleredhen or
©Sydney B. Smith

We must allow ourselves the joy of loving through life more than we fear our living.
T.B. Stone

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