St Elmo’s Fire

Image of a US airplane attemptingto evacuate from Kabul. It is surrounded by Afghabns wanting to flee.

The situation in Afghanistan has upset lots of us, including me. I had intended to hold my tongue on this subject, but I can’t. Please forgive me.

I’m upset that we have failed to recognise that we have a duty to Afghan people. I don’t just blame the US administration. I include the UK here, I include every country which was part-responsible. Joe Biden’s reverse (he voted for military action way back at the start of all this) was nothing short of convenient for every other country, because I think they all recognised the mire they’d gotten into.

But I recognise that many, many good people opposed this folly from the start, for the very reason that has come to pass, people who were ignored by their leaders. I am one of them. We knew a war was not the solution.

The plane creeps forward, inch by inch
Illicit cargo clinging on
Their promise slowly taxis out
St Elmo’s Fire
Euphoric dream
Destroyed by morning’s blur
Inevitable motion
Like time, unstoppable.

Can talk about their doctrine
Where emptiness pervades
Just bankrupt hollow vows
Of roast beef and McDonalds.
Of apple pie and soccer
Roll up and buy the dream
Deliver though the nightmare
As we pull the rug from under.

We know your noble history
We have our history too
Of empire and Wild West
So do not be surprised
Our skills undiplomatic
the big stick and the gun
The self-appointed policemen
A thug a better word.

We’ll soon enough lose interest
We’ll bully someone else
We’ll finish our destruction
And leave you to repair
A lesson to be learned, you think?
That’s really not our style
We’d sooner come destroy you,
And make you start again.

Plane’s grasping payload, weakens grip
Those flailing hands begin to slip
The engines scream, the bird ascends
For silent safety of wisps of clouds
The hand from its fissure

Torn loose by a gust
Adrift he is cut
A final refuge for this soul.

Once the decision had been made to invade, the one thing we owed to the Afghans was to leave them with a better tomorrow. Tomorrow was yesterday.

Leopards don’t change their spots and many people will now face a struggle under the Taliban. But I refuse to single out women. Yes, women will suffer. Everybody will suffer. Afghanistan has an estimated population of 34 million people and I’m not about to sweep half of these people under the carpet from the very start. A sentiment that places women over men is every bit as unacceptable as one which place men over women.

As if to offer confirmation of the Taliban’s intent, on the news just a few hours ago, there were reports of summary executions of those who had collaborated with the West. This is the dream we mis-sold them.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

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