The killing and the watching

There are many kinds of cancer, not all of them physical. Take the pantomime in progress in Montreux right now. Seemingly intellegent men, recaltricant at the so-called Syrian peace talks busily insulting each other whilst adding even more concrete to their own, already entrenched positions. And while they talk to the media and do not talk to each other their countrymen, women, children and babies starve, living in misery, and die whether by force of arms or force of (baffled) nature.

This is a cancer of the human mind, a cancer fed and watered by our unlovely media. Left unchecked it infects and will in time kill us all.

Who supplies such merciless combatants the world over with the weaponry to make more efficient the killing and maiming process? (Call it 'war', call it 'terror', call it what you will, it is that awful word: cancer.) For sure these often backward, often indolent people do not make the guns themselves. When was the last time you can think of anything Syria or Egypt or The Peoples Democratic Republic Of Central Africa invented anything, never mind manufactured it? For that they rely almost entirely on the equally malign greed of the so-called businessmen of Europe, Russia, America.That means us, people, us! Aided and encouraged of course by 'democratic' governments hungry for more dollars, more growth on the back of their industrries' cancerous exports..

I composed this in a Dharan hotel bedroom after TV viewing the news from the Congo. The world's most advanced fighter planes flashed by my window, planes sold to Saudi Arabia by gigantic western corporations up to their ears in blind-eyed bribery and corruption.

Brazzaville 1997

How happy the boy soldier seems
Downtown in good old Brazzaville
In television’s nightmare dream
As he searches  for more to kill
Black face split white in one wide beam
Whilst from the rubble bodies spill:

There is this frightful innocence
And you can smell the pestilence.

They must have told him that they’d won
Who gave themselves that Cobra name,
And flies that fatten in the bloody sun
Of Africa know more of shame
Than we for such as this destruction -
Each of us knows he’s not to blame:

But cobras have their grace and know
Their place and in what space to grow.

Attend the screen’s sick images
See this Swiss reporter boy; he's made
The chance to make the moment his;
Red Cross or something who have paid
So much so uselessly - just show biz
For us the prying cameras stayed:

Behind him there the kiddie stands
Wide crazy eyed, gun in his hands. 

The media’s the message, true?
This would not be this but for it.
There’s really nothing we can do
But watch them sport in their own shit?
Now in my mind these questions queue
What thrills me when the fuse is lit?

Do answers lie in schaddenfreud?
Is this our true selves, unalloyed?

Bryan Islip
Dharan 20 October 97

Why the devil worry about it? I think I'll take a walk along the shore of Loch Ewe; a walk I used to do with Dee, escaped now to a better place than this. No doubt I'll pick up a particularly pretty little stone and marvel, for this was here billions of our years before first foot of something resembling you and me, and will be here long, long after we have done our worst and duly gone away.

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