Who Remembers the British?
Who remembers the British?
And the homes they surrounded,
The kids they impounded,
The cheer they ungrounded,
The trumpets they sounded for the death of the Boers
Or scores more whom they doused in the drouth of the Indian south
With a mouthful of wrath and snaths in their hands
While attacking the stand of the Kenyans they planned
To incinerate man by a man
For contesting their bans on possession of land,
To disseminate hate and to iterate spates and profusions of lies, tremendous in size,
For crooks in their guise of “benevolent” tries?
Who remembers the Nama whom the Germans then seized,
Or the boys whom they hung or the girls whom they teased?
Who remembers the homes that the Belgians burnt down
Or the towns they “defanged” or the minors they drowned?
Had they a tic or a joke for a laugh?
A tune for a rhyme, flirtations perhaps?
Did their sons then become their outlets for vengeance,
The prey of their morbid and sordid intentions?
Like the Nazis aggressing against children of France
Who matured to sustain the colonial stance
Of De Gaulle and the wall between Arabs and whites
And to side with the brutes in intractable fights?
Like innocent Jews of Iraq, all beset
By their state, to escape
In a push to the west
Just to enervate kin of the caliphate,
Mates of the mosques, whose young girls lie awake,
And whose strength they abate,
And who plead for a fate of deliverance from hate?
Like the kin of Rhodesia, assaulted and framed,
All faulted and maimed,
By the villains who trained Ian Smith and his chain
Insane off their power,
Inane as they glowered
At blacks whom they hacked, whose rickety shacks
They all floored just to whore off the exploited and glum,
Who avoided the sum of evil’s lessons acquired
Just to sire a war and inspire the gore of Mugabe and more of his cronies galore?
Who remembers the Shah and his deals with the West,
Or SAVAK and its flock of assailants abreast
Firing at sons of the Islamic revolt
Whose neurotic adults were despotic to jolt
Mr. Rushdie for “lying” (defying their cult)?
Who remembers Mubarak and the heroes he smashed?
Who remembers El-Sisi and the pundits he trashed?
Who remembers Islamists between them who thrashed
The “iconoclast bastards” resisting their grasp?
Who remembers the smirks of the British at sea
Whose depredations in Madras forced hundreds to flee
And shattered the arts, then flattered the hearts
Of the greedy and seedy set to profit off tea?
Who remembers the thugs caning children to ire
Who emerged on their own to set townships afire?
Who remembers the Burkes and their friends of the day
Whose prudence was apt and whose push for a say
Against imperial and serial adventures and frays
Set a tenor of reason for thinkers “astray”?
Who remembers the humble who were quick to malign
The haughty attempts and the tawdry events
Set to remake the world via shoddy design?
Who remembers the Gandhis, Dorothy Days and the haze
Of prolific, pacific, and inspiring ways
In which the elders among us taught that war is a curse,
An affront to the order and jocularity’s mirth,
The seedbed of torture and a disabling push
For profits for rogues like Thatcher and Bush?
Who remembers the singing for peace for a day,
Who remembers the Bubers and the sunshine of May?
Who remembers that fruit of knowledge’s wealth
That violence, in silence, begets more of itself?