SLIGHTLY DEAD

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I read about the bombings of civilians in Iraq

In Yemen or in Syria or similar attack

The carnage and the horror that rained down from overhead

Because, though, they weren’t English they were only slightly dead.

 

I well recall those Chinese workers who picked shells that day

Toiling for their gangmasters by light on Morecambe Bay

Who’d underestimate too late how fast the tide had sped

Because, though, they weren’t English they were only slightly dead.

 

Then those ghastly images of children that we see

Particularly poignant shown at Christmas on TV

Polluted, dirty water, undernourished and ill-fed

Because, though, they weren’t English they were only slightly dead.

 

Unscrupulously traffickers would count their coin and cram

A lorry full of immigrants who came from Vietnam

Who found another way to die – to suffocate instead

Because, though, they weren’t English they were only slightly dead.

 

Unnumbered, nameless refugees whose kin have no remains

Who drowned in anonymity (just Allah knows their names)

While fleeing persecution in the Channel or the Med

But anyway they’re foreign so they’re only slightly dead.

◄ SOME LIKE IT COLD

ON A WINNER ►

Comments

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John Coopey

Mon 24th Jan 2022 08:24

Thankyou, Stephen.

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Stephen Gospage

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 21:44

A splendid poem, John. The point that all lives are of equal value is well made. Thanks.

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John Coopey

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 21:32

Indeed, MC. I too value my life more than any Yemeni's. But that's not the equation here, is it? I don't value that Yemeni's life any less than a car crash victim or a Covid death or a Duke's. They all weigh the same for me. (And if there is a God, for him too I suspect|).

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 17:58

Sorry JC, but subjectively speaking - and in real (rather than
theological term) e.g.the bottom line is: I value m,y life more than that of a Yemeni. in Yemen or anyone anywhere else. After all,
how can I affect the actions of what others do and improve
their chances if I am dead myself? Looking after Number One
has that quality and ability of being able to look towards helping
others. And, remember, even the bible itself asks: Am I my brother's keeper?

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John Coopey

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 17:44

Thankyou, Kevin and MC.
Despite its flaws I would far prefer to live in our society than most others, MC, but it doesn’t add heft to the worth of your or my life over someone’s in, say, the Yemen.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 16:13

Perhaps I should qualify the penultimate sentence of my original comment to read "fundamentalist religion and primitive tribalism", attitudes we here in the UK consider beyond the pale,
in the modern world in which the cold-blooded hacking off of an
innocent head is promoted through the modern medium of
an invention made possible because the brilliance of its creation is far ahead of the brutish mentality that uses it to make a
point rooted in barbarism that is not acceptable to most of us
luckier to been descendants of previous generational bloody sacrifice -
and learnt accordingly. We see ourselves as having grown up
whereas "they" are like undisciplined savage infants lashing out with few if any qualities of humanity and powers of reasoning.

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kJ Walker

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 11:56

M.C. is quite right when he says "all people cares for their own first"

But I think that the point of this poem is to question why.

Why is it more relevant to us when one of our own countrymen suffers, and less important when bad happens to a foreigner, or in a foreign country.

And it isn't just a national thing. If a disaster were to happen in the south of the country, and one of the victims were from Yorkshire, all our local news would concentrate on that one victim.

All lives are equally important, but the media doesn't seem to see it that way.

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John Coopey

Sun 23rd Jan 2022 09:22

Thanks for your thoughts, MC and for the Likes, Pete and Holden.

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 22nd Jan 2022 21:45

JC - All peoples care for their own first because that is the way humanity exists in the world. I don't think we're too happy about
the slaughter committed elsewhere by others and there are
enough signs and voices that exist to put that across in a
global media world. Indeed, the latter seems to be full of little
else but violent "disputes" and "disagreements" that are in evidence for virtually any reason 24/7. Religion and tribalism
appear to be the prime culprits.. Include me out! 😞

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John Coopey

Sat 22nd Jan 2022 18:16

Tribal, Greg.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 22nd Jan 2022 17:07

I get it, JC. Monty Python once had a sketch involving the news for parrots: "A spokesman said he was glad no parrots had died."

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John Coopey

Sat 22nd Jan 2022 16:30

Thanks, each.
It’s not about who’s culpable for the deaths of Johnny Foreigner, MC; it’s about their lives not being worth as much as ours.

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 22nd Jan 2022 15:24

Death comes to us all at some time. Not least us English. But
I'm somehow confused concerning any conscience-stricken collective culpability in the choices made by others far from England's shores.

<Deleted User> (30611)

Sat 22nd Jan 2022 14:54

Yes John, British people generally are more concerned with a Brit killed by a random bullet whilst asleep in his bed in Atlanta than mass death and destruction to foreigners on foreign soil.

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