Give Terrorism A Chance

This is a summary of the so-called ‘War on Terror’. It is a poem that I began writing in Bosnia in the summer of 2005 and still go back to to add the odd word, phrase, comma, etc, now and again.

I’m presenting it here (with a small number of notes at the end) to try to encourage more from the artistic community in Ireland in denouncing the war(s), but also because its contents are still relevant (I had hoped that it would have been out of date before I got to finish it)

Give Terrorism A Chance

I’m summarising, but…
Summertime, and…
It’s gonna get hot.

What is it good for?
Controlling oil and ideology?
Let he who has never sinned realise
That as they are throwing stones,
The do not realise:
They live in a glasshouse.

The tree is burning.
The Bushua tree is burning.
Still it’s burning, like a burning bush.
And still it’s burning, like a burning bush.
And as Rome burned,
But as Rome burned,
Nero fiddled with himself.

Show me your friends.
I’ll tell you who you are.
“Cyclops, hand him over.
Cyclops, hand him over.” [1]
The deal is done.
He will come,
Through the land of the pure. [2]
“Evidence,” says Cyclops.
“We do not condemn without evidence,
No matter how tenuous.
Yes, we like theatre too.” [3]
The deal’s undone.
He will be gone.
To the land of the poor.

“Cyclops, can you see him?
Cyclops, are you with him?
Cyclops, where are you?
Have you Kybher-Passed away?
It’s okay, it’s okay.
We’ve got a fight for Mr Hussein.”
(All in an effort to show who’s sane.)

Size, Control, and Profit Orientation.
Sources of News.
Fear and Consumption of Terrorism.
Let’s get this consent manufactured.
Big Busher, your son hastens to do thy pleasure. [4]
Let’s bring this mountain to Mohammad.

The big guns.
Look at his big guns.
He can’t have those big guns;
They’re not in our interests.

Show me my friends.
Tell the world who I am.
I don’t have any friends.
The world knows I’m Saddam.
Have pity on me.
Have pity on me.
What did I do to deserve such a tasteless Manhattan?
What about my people?
Oh, don’t sanctify,
Please don’t sanctify,
What about my people?
Haven’t they been sanctified enough already?

We have pity for you.
Now say: “Awe”.
You’re shocked.
Now say: “Awe”.
Open wide.
Now Say: “Awe”.
That’s better.
Extraction over and just beginning.
We have your,
Sorry, I mean we have given you your freedom.
Such a beautiful gift;
Such a pity to waste it on the free.
We have your … (better not say it).
What’s the time?
It’s April, 2003.
Time to go down in history.

You never found the World’s Mad Dogs.
You never showed me my friends.
You just cried havoc,
And unleashed the dogs of war.
But the world knows who you are.
And the world knows what you are.
And there you stand,
And there you are.

There he is.
A bounty on his head,
And a bounty in his hole.
Get him and his bounty.
(The world loves irony.)

Be careful.
You’re young.
Learn to walk,
Before you run.
You need stabilisers on that,
Or else you’ll fall over.
You need to be stabilised.
We vote to stabilise you.

Wonder and awe.
And a shock in store.
The children.
Here come the children.
Here come the children – with bombs.
Al-Qaradawi is throwing children bombs.
But al-Qaradawi is a Qatari.
Perhaps we should go for al-Zawahiri!
We are the warriors against terrorism.

Take a big gulp.
Swallow your pride.
Easy it goes down with sugar.
There is nobody celebrating in the streets now.
All the statues have come down.
What a comedown,
Especially now with the party over.
It’s time to go home.
We are the terrorists against war.
Ayatollah is our ally.
We just need to look west.


[1] Cyclops here is Mullah Omar, the one-eyed leader of the Taliban.
[2] Pakistan translates into English as ‘the land of the pure’. Bin Laden was to be handed over to the American’s via Pakistan (with Bin Laden’s acceptance of the deal). The plans were later scuppered by the Americans in favour of a war (which would allow greater access to Afghanistan (and eventually get a pipeline built to move Caspian Sea oil reserves to the Gulf). See John Pilger’s essay ‘ The Great Game’ in his book The New Rulers of the World.
[3] Some have claimed that the destruction of the World Trade Centre was almost like a work of art – certainly a spectacle – as was the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban. See, for example, David Hawkes’s book Ideology.
[4] One of the Hadiths in Islam states from Aisha (Mohammad’s wife): ‘Verily, thy Lord hastens to do thy pleasures’. Aisha had asked Mohammad why Allah assumed all believers were male. After the question there was a gender balance in Allah’s pronouncements, to which Aisha replied with the quote above. More details: Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalisms.

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