31/03/2014

Syria

I am tempted to go back to nonsense #poetry to clear my mind of various political poems that gnaw at me when I sit down to down.

The impetus behind these poems is fed by the comments I have been reading around the internet about the situation in Ukraine. It is not a debate. Putin is the bad guy. Godwin's law is thrown out of the window. And without the slightest irony 1914 invoked. For some reason no one mentions the oil and gas bonanza in the US.

The farmer poem did touch on these issues, but in an oblique way,

The problem is that the scribbling comes out half formed, too strong in tone, lacking sophistication.

the television carries what passes for news
through the french windows the carcoal glows white,
the birds tweet as they nest

a rather pleasant red slips down

and....

 its common sense
Putin is a gangster, he hates gays
a red tzar, who shoots dogs

and...

 so in return for America selling Europe gas
Ukraine agrees to kick out the Chinas
pay full price take on loans from us

At which point I found myself thinking about  Omar Bakri Muhammed. Who you will recall was Muslim preacher linked to the 7/7 bombings, and became rather a cause-celebre due to efforts to have him extradited. As a person he is rather dull, and follows the same pattern as any fascist leader - placing undue importance on the in-group, and explaining the failings and set backs of the in-group on the activities of external actors.

What interests me is what his story says about relations with Syria.

Depending on which version of the narrative you believe, he was either involved or not in the Hama Revolt of 1982. During which between 10,000 and 40,000 people were killed by the Syrian army. Not much was said about it at the time, Britain was about to be at war with the Argentina over the Falkands, Israel (the perennial bad guys of the politically active) was soon to invade Lebanon. It hardly seemed to matter that Syria was stamping down on the Muslim brotherhood.

It's an interesting country Syria. When the Caliphate was thriving, or not if you were the Caliph, in Baghdad, the mainly Christian population of Syria provided the bulk of the armies. Fast forward a few hundred years, and the country because one of the principle bases for the American missionary movement (the NGO's of their day) they build universities and churches, and following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, provide useful leverage in Allied - British, French, and US - efforts to stabilize the region. Syria comes under French control, and in 1941 became a battlefield between Vichy French and British Imperial forces - with Czechs and Free French - in what was a series of small wars to neutralize Germany's French allies. The war ends, the cold war begins, and perhaps because of Ba'arthisms similarities to Soviet Socialism, Syria becomes a allied/client state of the eastern bloc - while retaining strong diplomatic ties with France, and to some extent Britain, as evidenced by the current Syrian president having studied at a British university,

The point being that I was thinking about these things, particularly in relation to the changing diplomacy surrounding the Muhammed incident.

And came up with this....

I'm sitting in the garden
the birds are siting
the red wine slips down nicely
and for no reason
the name
Omar Bakri Muhammed
comes to mind

It might be the radio
droning in the background
or
the announcement
that the US is about to ship
the gas it is currently
flaring
to Europe

but my mind wanders
back to 1982
when the poor little rich kid
got caught up in the nastiness
and found his faith wanting

personally
I couldn't give a monkies
if oil is sold in dollars or yuan
but
there are people who do
and they have reasons
just as I have red wine

so poor old Bakri
runs for his life
and finds
sanctuary of sorts
among the non drinkers
the political
the vegetarians
and the well fed

It is truncated, and it is a sketch, and perhaps it will get more flesh on the bones if my efforts to free my sub-conscience fails to produce something more poetic.


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