arab kids playing the local version of "cowboys & indians"- "death squads & rioters"



They say that when He died,

He bled black blood,

that seeped , slowly, into the desert sand.

Oozing oilily like

Black Honey, like

some weird industrial nectar

secreted by metallic bees

perhaps from a land where the rust like pollen lay

on the leaves.


Above the body, helicopters sporting Ray ban’s

Hovered and Hummed

like industrious armoured insects,

a swarm of “choppers” chewing gum.

The cool menace of their mirror shades

reflects the scene

to be replayed


on a billion TV screens.

Yes folks, TONIGHT!

Live in your living room


the Fallen Tyrants doom!


Restlessly the choppers probe and prowl,

Seeking here and there

for hive and lair.


the encrustations

and corrosions,

those tell-tale indications,

of the teeming nurseries that become

Tomorrows Infestations.


A single Queen,” the Sergeant said,

could lay a million eggs!

Friend, can you imagine that?

So many mouths to feed,

So many

Teeth to chew the fat!”



Oh Yes,” I said, nodding, “I can hear them,

Hatching in the Darkness.

Their gnawing keeps me awake at night

and in my dreams I seem to see,

by the flickering light

of many torches burning,

the black, unblinking eyes of insect armies,


by the still and stagnant waters

of some subterranean sea.”


The Sergeant he

fell silent then.


And some, they say,

He never died, they say

He rode away, into the mountains,

an old man on a white horse.

(White robes, white beard of course)

Whispering that there He still lies sleeping,

in His hidden fortress cave.


For the Coming Day,

When He shall Awaken,

and Rising Up,

Bring down the Great Satan.


You can see the Reverend performing this poem here;




Cultural review: The Arab riots


Until recently, one argument commonly heard in Washington was that only the absolute monarchs and Kalashnikov-toting dictators had the ruthlessness and cunning necessary to police one of the worlds most dangerous corners and keep islamist fundamentalism at bay

-The Sunday Times

they shoot especially when they are stoned on drugs..they put hallucinatory pills in their milk, their coffee, their Nescafe”

-Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

Then he disappears

and the mirage fades away”

– “Fire in Cairo”, The Cure

 Riots and rebellion rip thru the Arab world like an Australian bushfire raging before a dry, westerly wind. Corruption, poverty and oppression have provided plenty of kindling to feed the flames.The blackened bodies of those too slow to get out of the way litter the streets. Their consolation prize is elevation to revolutionary martyrdom.

Meanwhile, “the West” looks on nervously, its guilty conscience fearing a backlash in its direction. U.S. Dollars & arms had been propping up most of the tottering tinpot tyrants & dodgy despots for decades and without them American foreign policy had curiously few friends. Their greatest fear of course, is that some rabidly anti-amerikan fundamentalist Islamic brotherhood will end up in control. Really they’d be happier if some military strong man took over. You know, a professional. Someone you can do business-as-usual with.

Whatever the outcome, the lot of the murmuring masses is unlikely to significantly improve. Military junta or fundamentalist theocracy sadly seem the most likely outcomes. The festering discontent is deep and widespread but has little in the way of leadership, or even a coherent program to unite the people in the streets beyond the immediate aim of hanging the current leadership from the nearest convenient lamp-post.

A little thing like the lack of “leaders” shouldn’t worry an old anarchist like me, you’d think, but given the Arab cultures lack of anything like an anarchist tradition, I doubt we’ll see workers councils spontaneously springing up in Egypt any time soon. Rather, I fear the unarticulated yearnings of the suffering masses is most likely to get co-opted by the nearest demagogue in a nice suit who seems to have some simple answers. Or someone in a spiffy uniform who promises order. You know. Like Colonel Gadaffi did back in the seventies.


Ah the Colonel. Has the old man finally lost it, we ask? That interview from under the umbrella was not reassuring as to his mental state. He offered them a new flag and stamps, but no it wasn’t enough for the mobs. Maybe he should have offered everyone a big, flat-screen, Hi-definition TV and an I-pod. Sure, they say they want “freedom” and democracy, but maybe what they really want is the First Worlds material possessions & lifestyle. Maybe if the assorted Arab despots had shared the pie better with their own people, instead of their family and croneys, all these riots wouldn’t be happening.

Look at perennial dictatorship China. There the Party has kept their hands tightly on the Controls of State, but have had the wisdom to open up their economy to the Capitalist markets. Now they are the worlds economic powerhouse and their people are all so busy trying to get rich, or crawl into the middle-class at least, that no-one has the slightest interest in trying to overthrow the Government. Aside from the usual handful of malcontents and misfits such as you’d find amongst whats left of the Left in Australia, the average Chinese citizen doesn’t give a shit about Tienanmen Square. As long as they’re allowed to share in China’s “new prosperity”.

(While we’re on the subject of the Chinese “Communist”(sic) Government, can I just offend liberals everywhere by saying I really admire and support their “one-child policy”. If only more governments had their guts and wisdom to tackle the problem of over-population. The Reverend is for Zero-Population Growth kiddies, so piss off the Pope and get those condoms out. Hoho!)

The interesting thing to me about these Arabic peoples rebellions, is that while there may be a great deal of shouting going on, there’s really a surprisingly few casualties generated for this kind of activity. Even in Libya the casualties are only in the hundreds, rather than, say, the tens of thousands of civilian casualties that you got in Iraq during the American sponsored regime-change there.


Which leads me to ask the question that perhaps maybe it would have been better if the Americans, sorry I mean, Coalition of the Willing, hadn’t invaded Iraq after all, but rather, left the Iraqi people to deal with Saddam in their own time and in their own way? At the time I remember thinking, why bother invade? He’s an old man, how long can he last and his kids are inbred mutants who couldn’t run a kiosk yet alone a ruthless totalitarian regime. (They’d go five minutes before their loyalist supporters would betray them.)

Because in the end, after all the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction and imaginary links to Al-Qaida had been disposed of, the sole justification left for invading Iraq and deposing Saddam was (Not oil! Not oil!) that he was a bad man and oppressing his people. We had to go and save them, they’d be so grateful. Of course it didn’t turn out like that. The fighting has never really stopped, no-one knows how many tens of thousands have died needlessly, caught in the crossfire and Iraq is still rent by factions and without a functioning parliament. The infrastructure hasn’t been restored and the economy’s in tatters. And the Iraqi’s still hate Americans.Not entirely a success story. So lets see how the locals in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, go at dealing with their own problems. Can they do worse?

And while we’re on the subject of US foreign policy propping up dictatorships for its own nefarious reasons, I sometimes wonder how long the North Korean Communist Regime would last if it wasn’t for the American military threat hovering constantly on its borders.

Yes, a hostile US providing an “external enemy” for Kim il Sung et. al., to use to tighten their grip has probably given that regime years of added shelf-life. George Orwell’s masterful analysis of the psychology of totalitarian propaganda still applies in this Stalinist State. Without the perpetual state of military emergency I predict the regime would soon collapse. South Korea should take down its border fences, remove all the American soldiers and open their side of the border. Then see what happens! Remember the Berlin Wall? It wasn’t the American Super-power that brought it down in the end, one day the locals had finally had enough and tore it down with their bare hands.

But of course, US foreign policy always likes a bad guy to play off too.


The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists & the Church of the Universe. He is not without honour save in his own land.



~ by reverendhellfire on February 27, 2011.

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