On most occasions, war, in our babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media, is portrayed as something heroic, with our side standing tall on the moral high ground, and the enemy crawling from the sewers with mean and nasty tactics. How else could they keep recruiting fresh young blood. We can be thankful for that band of heroes the poets, who experience war in all its brutality and record it, as viewed through the eyes of a human being, seeing the destruction and death of another human being.
One such poet was the Gaelic poet George Campbell Hay, 1915-1984, born in Elderslie and brought up in Kintyre. Due to his pacifist values, for more than a year during WWII, he had tried to avoid conscription. Faced with prison, he opted for non-violent service in the army. George was sent to North Africa and given the job as night watchman. The events of the night May 7th. 1943 traumatised him, and he was never the same again. The event he witnessed was the allied saturation bombing of the German occupied town of Bizerta.
What is their name tonight,
the poor streets where every window spews
its flame and smoke,
its sparks and screaming of its inmates,
while house upon house is rent
and collapses in a gust of smoke?
And who tonight are beseeching
Death to come quickly in all their tongues,
or are struggling among stones and beams,
crying in frenzy for help, and are not heard?
Who to-night is paying
the old accustomed tax of common blood?
Of course we have to ask ourselves, why in Gaza and many, many more places on this planet, can these words still be applied.