Tag Archives: President Bush

To Remember

anti-war protest rally in London image from wikipedia

To remember is an attempt to piece together what can never be one again. The time, the place, the scent of flesh once beating. Today marks the invasion of Iraq. It seems the rest of the world has forgotten.

The following poems appear in my book Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, 2011). Should I thank GW Bush for writing them?

Just This One

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she
has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures
of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
The Fourth Geneva Convention

When someone says “Think about the bigger picture,”
I hide. My life has the legs of an ant. I find the resilience
of pebbles more inviting. They smooth themselves on riverbeds,
current rushing over their backs, pushing them to cling
with other pebbles or grains of sand pounded to near nothingness.

There are so many of them, too many to count. Each one
has something the others do not possess. Perhaps the thinnest streak
of brown, the sligthest indentation, the faintest crack.
Even when they are broken they are never the same. Caress
the jagged edge of this one with your index finger. Just this one.

July 2008
-o-

The Day the Dead Tree Fell

years of fear
have come to this

roots unearthed
longer than the arms of men
pointing skyward

the drone
of foreign planes

a hollow in the ground
deep enough
for a coffin

the silence
of loaded guns

all those fine veins
where something
used to flow

November 2008 – August 2010
-o-

Questions
for the leader of invading forces

When you put your shoes on this morning,
do you remember which foot came first?

Does someone tell you when your collar gets stuck inside your shirt?
Do you let that person touch you?

What colours make your eyes stop searching?
Are those the ones you like or the ones you hate?

How many people have you met that had an extra finger
and wasn’t shy about it?

Have you ever held a firefly in your palms?
Was it warm? Were you alone?

When you close your eyes,
whose face lingers?

What was the first word you learned to write?
Did you use a pencil or a crayon or a borrowed pen?

If you had a dog, would you name it
after the person who blew up your house?

Is there something on my forehead
that only you can read?

Can you tell if someone is lying
or just scared?

Will my name be on a piece of paper?
Spelled correctly?

August 2008
-o-

Going Retro: The Victorious Army of Gobbledygooks Penetrates the City

“Why do they hate us? We’re setting them free!”
A foot soldier

They were expecting
sweaty hugs and kisses
from dark veiled women
and their adoring children.

Ears cocked, they anticipated the struggle
of the local band in playing
their beloved anthem,
as if it were not foreign.

But only hollow,
sporadic shouting of men
who gathered from nowhere
welcomed the forces.

The army was laden
with a quick,
calculated victory,
craving for popular jubilation.

Instead, this caricature of a show
put on by these nowhere men.
Stick figures in the desert sun,
sure of only one thing:

Tear down the giant statue
designed originally
by a previous generation
of gobbledygooks.

This show had been triangulated
for the world to see
moment by breathless moment
on their most trusted TV.

And then what? An awkward silence
as the statue grates to a stop,
refusing to crash down. A monologue broken
by coughing in the background, off camera.

Days later when the local population
finally came out with their voices raised,
the victorious gobbledygooks felt
strangely welcome, unable to decipher

Joy and ecstasy from utter hatred.
It is only now with proper translation
years later that we have
a clear understanding of gang rape.

December 2008
-o-

Advertisements

Bush’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Witness Found Dead

FROM A.N.S.W.E.R.

The cover-up of Bush-era crimes is taking a shocking but not unexpected turn. A fateful move has been made and it is certain to backfire.

A prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein is suddenly dead. Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch investigators discovered the missing inmate and talked to him. He had been secretly transferred by the administration to a prison in Libya after having been held by the CIA both in secret “black hole prisons” and in Egypt.

Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture. The now famous Torture Memos providing legal cover for the torture were written at the same time starting in the summer of 2002.

Libi’s tortured and knowingly fabricated testimony was the source of information used by Bush to sell the war to the U.S. Senate, and the source for Colin Powell’s bogus and lying presentation to the United Nations in 2003.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.

Having been discovered by human rights investigators two weeks ago, Mr. Libi’s story coincided with the release of the Torture Memos and the growing clamor for criminal prosecutions of Bush officials.

His testimony is the smoking gun that would reveal that the torture regime was not for “national security” but for the personal political aims of Bush and Cheney.

He was Exhibit A in the indictment that alleges that tortured confessions and the contrived legal justifications of torture set up by Justice Department lawyers in July/August 2002 were central to the launch of the war against Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture.

-o-


I Crushed Your Life, Get on With It

torture-cube

Original image from Amnesty International

No apologies.  No legal action.  Anything goes.  Whatever you did in the past is water under the bloody bridge.

US President Obama’s statements regarding the CIA’s treatment of “terrorism suspects” is simply disgusting however you look at it.  It is consistent with what previous US administrations have done in the past century to people within American borders and those living in different parts of the world.  Can you hear the sound of rattling bones?

It seems forgetting is a disease that quickly latches on even the most seemingly pro-human rights political leaders of the world.  Is the time for dreaming and hoping over?

Imagine if the same policy were used throughout the world.  Orwell’s Animal Farm comes to mind.

-o-

Obama accused of “condoning torture”

17 April 2009

US President Barack Obama has been accused of “condoning torture” following his announcement that CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects will not be prosecuted.

Amnesty International has called on the US administration to initiate criminal investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for carrying out acts of torture, including waterboarding, in its “war on terror”.

“President Obama’s statements in the last days have been very disappointing. In saying that no one will be held to account for committing acts of torture, the US administration is in effect condoning torture,” said Daniel Gorevan, of Amnesty International’s Counter Terror with Justice campaign.

“It’s saying that US personnel can commit acts of torture and the authorities will not take any action against them.

Read the rest of the Amnesty International article.
-o-


Mission Accomplished?

fear-woman

Do not let us go into that darkness with bare hands.
If you do, we shall claw our way out,
leave our nails on the back of the beast
that bears your face.

We know you and your caress
even as you pass
judgment upon our children
who are yet to know anger,

Grief with flailing arms,
solitude gone astray
among the ruined fabrics
of our homes.

When will you allow us
time and space to build
our own rooms of healing
that do not bear your name?

How can we, when every day you cast
the weight of your shadows on our lands,
bleed us of what lies beneath our feet,
speak to us with the language of corpses.

With eyes seared by your weapons
we stand
staring at all you have stolen
that can never be returned.

-o-


Remembering one of many invasions.


The Throwing of the Shoes


“This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog!
This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!”
Muntazer al-Zaidi

Your bravery has taken over
your sense of reportage.

What options do they have
as a futile response?

Arrest you on charges of
“Assault with a pair of shoes with the intent of expressing the truth.”

Force on you a one-way ticket
before they close Guantanamo.

Keep you in a windowless cell
without pen and paper.

What could be worse?
Make you eat Dubya’s shoes?

A better aim would have been good,
though unnecessary.
As it was you showed us
how expertly
he dodges.

For in two seconds and a pair of shoes
you have assured history
shall not be written
by those who bombard
with lies.

Unlike the 15 seconds fought for
by those overfed on the idiot box,
your simple, poetic gesture
shall be recorded, applauded,
revered.

-o-

This was written perhaps too hastily on 15 December 2008.  Recently Mr Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison by the Iraqi courts.  One wonders whose feet are being kissed by handing down this sentence.

If throwing a pair of shoes warrants such a punishment, what would be the just punishment for the mass murder of innocent people?

I am hoping to be able to write a follow-up piece one day.


War on Terror: Demand the Truth

Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands

Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands. U.S. President George W. Bush hands back a crying baby that was handed to him from the crowd as he arrived for an outdoor dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Trinwillershagen, Germany, July 13, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (GERMANY)

Avaaz is calling for signatures for this campaign.

-o-

This week the US government is debating whether to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ tactics. This could have major ramifications all the way up the chain of command.

Key US Senators, leading this call for justice, need a massive global endorsement to ensure that the Commission is set up and has real teeth. But there are powerful interests that want to cover up the truth about torture, secret detention and other unlawful abuse.

-o-

Your voice counts!


The Good Neighbour

Bang!  There he goes again, repeatedly taking aim
Until he hits whatever it is he’s been missing.
Sure of eye even when he falters.
He smiles and waves as we shudder.

It has been a while since we let him
Silence our worries with his hobby.

Our neighbourhood has grown used to this
Night and day, good or bad weather.
Everyone hides a fear of the gun collector.

On days when he fancies something new
From one of us, we grow restless.

Maybe, as we whisper
Among ourselves, we are just imagining it.
No, he’s not really interested in this thing of mine,
You think?  He already has his own, from someone else.

Extra care must be taken that he doesn’t feel
Violated by our talk in our own homes.
It is undeclared but true, his claim
Lies beyond his yard.
Soon enough we’ll know who’s next.

-o-

This poem was written in September 2008.  It is an acrostic.