written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Saturday, 15 September 2018


I hadn't planned to write a blog today, as I'm still in holiday mode, only recently returned from beautiful Rhodes. However, here we go, a short rant on the allotted topic of tribalism.

Syria. The Assad reign corrodes relentlessly. Not much left of that country now. The Basher, ably assisted by his Iranian and Russian allies, has all but put paid to those who had the temerity to take up arms against a corrupt and vicious regime. It's called a 'civil' war but it's a bloody genocide, a ruthless crushing of the pro-democracy movement that sought an 'Arab Spring' for Syria in 2011.

Religious tribalism has played a significant role in the seven-year conflict. Sunni Muslims are in the majority in Syria but Assad is a Shia Muslim and that appears to be the principle reason why Iran (a predominantly Shia Muslim country) has deployed thousands of troops and billions of dollars to assist Assad in his crushing of the (Sunni) opposition. The Russian tourists have provided air power in return for Russian bases on Syrian soil. Despotism is just another strand of tribalism, after all.

Today's poem is in impotent rage against the impending slaughter of thousands more Syrian civilians in the last 'rebel' stronghold of Idlib.

After Russian tourists visited Homs
you couldn't see them for dust,
but the Basher invited them back
to take a look at eastern Ghouta -
happy holidays, a must!
More bombs. Same result.

Now all who lived to flee
the Damascene destruction
are corralled in Idlib.
The writing's on that city's walls
in Cyrillic scrawl...
Wish you were here?

Thanks for reading, gang. Have a good week, S :-)


The Existentialist said...

You called it. Atrocities committed by an evil regime and the world just looks on.

Anonymous said...

A bonus then. Welcome back Steve, hope you had a good hols.

Matt West said...

Why should we care about Syria?

Boz said...

There are good and inevitable aspects of tribalism just as there are bad ones. Assad and Putin are exemplify the bad - oppression and ruthlesness. I like your poem and the ironic/topical touch of Russian tourists.

Steve Rowland said...

Matt: we surely we should care about any gross act of genocide wherever it's committed and by whomever? Bosnia, Myanmar, Rwanda, Syria, Yemen - what's the difference? These are war crimes being committed, sanctioned by the perpetrators' unscrupulous allies and the rest of the world lets them get on with it. It demeans our humanity.

Anonymous said...

Pithy poem. x

Anonymous said...

Steve, thank you for raging.

Anonymous said...

A dark and damning poem. I head a radio interview with a press photographer who'd been in Homs. There is no doubt that the tactics of the Syrian regime and the Russians are cynical and inhumane, barrel-bombing civilian infrastructure including schools, hospitals, mosques. It's not indiscriminate. It's targeted an its a war crime!

Anonymous said...

This is so sad.

Steve Rowland said...

On general release this week, the movie 'A Private War' about the war correspondent Marie Colvin who was killed at Homs in 2012 in a targeted airstrike by Syrian forces. It should make gripping, if harrowing, viewing. Rosamund Pike stars as the fearless American journalist working for the Sunday Times.