Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Collateral Damage

There’s a child’s doll on the stones
 By the ashes of the fire
Broken, limbs dangling. Where is the child,
You ask, and look away, Wondering, perhaps
Then turn back, looking once again.

It is not a doll.

And the father on his hands and knees, scrabbling in the dirt
Isn’t an extra in a movie, paid to grovel and cry.
The tears are real, the blood is real
And the dead children really die.

And only the flies remain, buzzing
Their buzz, and another buzz,

And you hear a voice saying
This is the good war,
This is the price of freedom
And perhaps you hear voices saying
It’s very sad, but such things must be.

After all, these people have beards, wear turbans
The women cover their faces
And you can't understand what they're saying
Maybe they don't really mind dying
As much as real people do.

Perhaps the child’s father, a military-age-male
Was a potential terrorist, and hence a target
And it was unfortunate that the child was close by
But such things happen.

War is hell.

Or perhaps
The child might have become a terrorist
If she had been allowed to breathe and speak
If sh had been allowed to live and grow.

These voices are persuasive
They belong to people who wear suits
Who speak superb English
And who are on TV.
They represent enlightened values
Freedom and Democracy.

So don't worry. Don't lose sleep.
It's really all right after all.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2012


  1. There is no way that the killing of children can be justified, not for any cause. Kia ora.

  2. Thank you. It strikes me that the Vietnam era protesters were supposedly protesting the killing of children by napalm and other means. We were in the streets. Where are we/they now? There is no draft so we/they sit at home. It was never about children. It was about college kids who didn't want to get drafted. No draft, no outrage over killing kids. People are watching their stock portfolios. And the kids keep dying.

  3. I agree 100% with Iri Ani above.
    As the poster from the 60's said; "War is unhealthy for children and other living beings".
    Enough of the goddamn useless wars of choice.

  4. I think the genie is well and truly out of the bottle as far as drone warfare is concerned. I was listening to a programme yesterday on the radio where they were talking about how many nations now have the technology and how many want to purchase them. They are genuinely disturbing bits of hardware and the thought of making them increasingly autonomous is like something out of a Terminator movie.

    I saw today that much is being made in the news of the shooting a fourteen-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, by the Taliban.

    Nothing good ever came of violence.

  5. hey, am going to be guest speaker on Nancy Lockhart blog talk radio. talking of Dogma group and what gave me the idea, etc. Plan on talking about this white supremacist killing machine if she let's me, we'll see ... wish me luck.


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