An Iraqi Child

The F*cked Issue also carried this poem by renowned British poet and International Times regular, Heathcote Williams.

An Iraqi Child by Heathcote Williams 

An Iraqi child
Is drawing bombers, like those
Which nearly killed him.

The bombs have left his face
Swollen with fierce injuries –
Marks of angry pain.

He draws the bombers,
Though his arm and some fingers
Are amputated.

Now they’re bandaged up,
With three crayons firmly taped
To the ends of his stumps.

He draws bleak, black lines
Chronicling his history.
“Who did this to me?”

“They had many planes.
They’d brought bombs to fit into each
Of their cruel planes.”

“Why didn’t they think
Of the people below?
Who drove all these planes?”

“One was called George Bush;
And one was called Tony Blair
With his friend, Campbell.

They’d made good friends
With lots of oil companies.
They wanted your oil.

To get into power
They’d made friends with newspapers
Who all said, ‘Yes, bomb Iraq’. ­

Rupert Murdoch, boss
Of News International,
Told a hundred and twenty

Of his newspapers
To write a leader
Urging readers’ to support war.

No one was immune:
Even The Guardian
(Financed by AutoTrader),

Was saying ‘Bomb!’
Claiming that Gulf Wars
Were ‘humanitarian’ wars’”.

“The simple cause”,
Wrote The Guardian
In a pre-Iraq-war leader,

“At the end, is just.”
And with the magic word,
‘Humanitarian’, cunning PR

Could make the liberal media
Mouth-pieces for war propaganda.
There was a lifestyle

To be supported by Iraq’s cheap oil,
So opinion formers in wine-bars and clubs
And in Parliamentary tea-rooms

And in TV studios’ hospitality suites –
While not discussing their expenses
Or their mortgages or their fees

Or their cars or their lifestyles
Or their favourite restaurants
Or their children’s private schools –

Would dip a toe in the zeitgeist
And then bloviate
About regime change,

Like self-important sheep
Housing wolves:
‘I mean, obviously

One has to get rid of Saddam…
Gassing his own people.
It’s a breach of international law

For heaven’s sake…!
The man has rockets. Chockfull of sarin,
VX, mustard gas, anthrax, you name it.

Didn’t you see the Evening Standard?
Front page.
They could all reach London

In about forty-five minutes flat.
According to Tony…”

Tony, who in March 2002,
Received legal advice from the Foreign Office
That an attack on Iraq was illegal
Under international law…

Tony, who would make himself a stranger
To all moral standards
Save for the acquisition of wealth…

And millions are now his,
Thanks to consent
Being manufactured
By media gossips hovering round
Water-coolers, and by his craven civil servants,
And thanks to missiles being launched –
Nato’s evil acupuncture
That turned Iraqi skies orange.[1]

1,690, 903 Iraqi people were executed
For the 9/11 crime that they never committed
(But with which they were charged);

Baghdadwas floodlit by bombs ­–
By bombs’ continuous explosions –
And in Iraq no one’s health was improved,

Just death from vile airborne cancers;
Birth defects that impoverish nightmares
And amputations on an industrial scale.

But the oil’s easier to get at now
And Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve,
Would admit, “…that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge
 everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

The Iraqi boy might query, and then ask,
“So they’re happy now?”                                                                                                               

“Well, they’re all very rich.”
“Maybe they’d buy my drawing?”

The boy says.

Heathcote Williams

[1] Leader “Suddenly the sky turns orange”. The Guardian, 17 January 1991.

Read this in print – pick up your copy of Strike! here