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(Hats Off, to all of you who opposed military intervention against al Assad in 2013.  John Kerry said we could not stand idly by "spectating slaughter".  But, congratulations. You did. May your God forgive you. A re-post from 2013.)


You passed a man in the street

He was beating his dog

The dog was cowed; its welts bled; its back broken

You said “Someone should do something”

And you did nothing.


You came upon a soldier

He was raping a young girl

She pleaded and cried for her mother

Then she was silent

You said “Someone should do something”

And you did nothing.


You watched a group of men

They were kicking a child

He shielded his head but they stamped on his skull

As he lay on the ground

You said “Someone should do something”

And you did nothing.


You spoke to an old Jew who survived Auschwitz

He said to you,

“Why did you not bomb the concentration camps?

Some of us would have survived.

But you did nothing”


You watched an evil man, mighty in his own land,

Gas his own people.

They twisted and twitched and vomited in their death throes

You said “Someone should do something”

And this time you did do something

You wrung your hands and said,

“Someone should do something”.


The reek of Bush and Blair

Hangs heavy in the air

As little men conduct analysis;

“Do nothing.  Let’s not rush.

Remember Blair and Bush”

Endorsing death by their paralysis;

Which helps Assad decide

To repeat this genocide

And brings you one step nearer to your shame;

You may give succour, quarter

“Spectating Assad’s slaughter”

Don’t ever think you do so “in my name”.




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John Coopey

Sat 17th Dec 2016 19:29

There will never be peaceful coexistence with fundamentalism, Ken, unless it entails complete acquiescence. By its very definition, there can be no compromise with something fundamental.
The situation in Aleppo is not quite this, however. The rebel forces (by media reports seem to include fundamentalists) but also a disparate alliance of regime opponents.
I don't profess to know an answer; I do know that we should have intervened in 2013.

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ken eaton-dykes

Sat 17th Dec 2016 17:57

"FACT" ISIS (Sunni) believe that Shias are apostates and must die in order to forge a pure form of Islam.

Intervention by us western infidels will only delay the eventual establishing of an Eastern civilisation. Which not unlike ours will be built on a foundation of slaughtered millions and take a thousand years.

It's a shit World!!

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John Coopey

Sat 17th Dec 2016 15:18

Many thanks, Jeff. It would be lovely if no-one ever needed to go to war. Unfortunately we sometimes do. 2013 was a case in point. We didn't and the resultant tragedy of Aleppo is plain to see.
As the man said, "Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace".

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Sat 17th Dec 2016 13:46

Captured the sentiment precisely! From my Punk days onwards I've always enjoyed politically inspired words, whether it be poetry or music. This is simply fantastic.

War ain't like it is on in the movies or on the news. Sold lies and the end user is some innocent human. The west is the ultimate Apex Predator, demonising, criminalising & like pigs at a trough.

& to quote the late Bill Hicks " how low is a countries self-esteem we need a war to feel good about ourselves"? Makes sense.

Take care.......Jeff.....

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John Coopey

Sat 17th Dec 2016 13:09

Thanks for that, Lancs.
Yes I understand that people read political poetry but the point I was trying to make was that we each only hear the politics and not the poetry.
I can best explain this by a question. I suspect that like myself you lean leftwards; so which of these poets who are right-wing do you enjoy?

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John Coopey

Fri 16th Dec 2016 16:43

I'm sure none of us KNEW in 2013, Lancs, but events require us to make a call. The call we made was patently the wrong one.
"Sometimes Satan comes as a Man of Peace".

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John Coopey

Fri 16th Dec 2016 13:54

So should we have intervened in 2013, Lancs, or, as we did, left the vacuum for the Russians to fill? That plan went well!

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John Coopey

Fri 16th Dec 2016 09:35

Many thanks, each, for your thoughts.
Harry - I too am sure the issue has not played out by a long way yet in Syria. Indeed it is naive of us to think there is "a solution" to any of the Middle East's problems.
Suki - I am delighted to be proved wrong by you about my thoughts on political poetry. I have to say, though, you are very much the exception.
MC - I am as clouded in my thoughts on the Middle East as the rest of the world. But I am convinced the decision not to strike in 2013 was plainly and tragically wrong. "Sometimes the devil comes as a man of peace".
Just as an afterthought, Harry, I think the final lines in conventional rhythm and rhyme give the lie to the view that it is not a suitable vehicle for "weighty" poetry.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 16th Dec 2016 01:46

I recall a poem from years ago following a similar style -
about not speaking up "(a WW2 item I think) in various
situations when people were being carted off by callous authority until finally "they came for me".
The Middle East is a tragic scenario but let's not forget
our own home suffering in war when our children and
other vulnerables perished by the thousand under air
attack across the land. Stoicism was the price
demanded - and the country and its people paid it.
The global media that exists now still appears to insist
that we have to take a "position" in conflicts wherever
they erupt, and we seem never to have enjoyed a real
peace since the Second World War. Perhaps due to a
political refusal to allow us to slip into a "Swiss-like"
existence of modest ambitions and prosperiity, insisting
instead on emulating their Empirical forebears by their
desire to strut the world stage and influence other
nations' existences (probably wishing they could send
a gunboat and wave a big stick at upstart malcontents across the globe).
When will we be allowed to live our lives free from the
envy or the egregious admonitions of the world and
its dog? Answers on the back of a stamp perhaps?!

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suki spangles

Thu 15th Dec 2016 23:58

Hi John,
Although my perspective on Syria is very different from yours I enjoyed this poem - and your recording of it. it's a well written piece. This also touches on a question you asked a while ago in your discussion thread about "who treads political poetry?". Well, occasionally I do. And, yes, it is possible to "enjoy" a political poem while holding a differing point of view - depends on the size of one's ego I guess. Thanks for sharing.

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Harry O'Neill

Thu 15th Dec 2016 21:10

First class, John!
A truly humanitarian piece of poetry!

I think the next few days - or weeks - will allow much more to be said about this, as the air clears and we begin to see where the various factions are going to end up in what it seems will be a continuing fractious situation. (I suspect some secret agreements between Russia and America on this - but we shall see)

That last section (BTW) is an excellent (and rhymed!) example of the power of `thought-out` political poetry.

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