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Love, Death and the War on Terror

Notes on several of the poems

 

 

Poem

Note

 

 

July 14th, 2005

 

On July 7th 2005, a terrorist attack on the London Underground and London Buses killed 52 people and injured over 770.  On July 14th, the whole of London stopped work, stepped out of their offices and held two minutes silence, both in memory of those killed and maimed, and in defiance of violence.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday

 

On 11th September 2001, terrorists hijacked four aeroplanes in the USA; two of which they crashed into the World Trade Centre and one into the Pentagon.  A further hijacked plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers revolted against the hijackers.  There is some speculation as to the exact number of fatalities, though most sources cite 2,996, with 2,752 dying in the attack on the World Trade Centre.

 

 

 

person under the train incident   

 

On 21st July 2005, Metropolitan Police Officers mistakenly identified Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes as a terrorist.  They followed him to Stockwell Underground station and onto a Victoria Line train.  They shot him several times at point blank range.  An inquest on September 22nd 2008 returned an open verdict.  Further information can be found at http://www.mpa.gov.uk/scrutinies/stockwell and many other websites.

 

 

 

Fear

The Metropolitan Police Authority released misleading press stories after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes suggesting that he vaulted the ticket barrier and ran away from police.  They also said he was wearing a big winter jacket on a summer day and that he was bundled to the floor.  All of these statements were untrue.  De Menezes simply walked onto the train and sat down.  Then he was shot by police who had mistaken him for a terrorist.

 

 

 

President Bush in a Cadillac

 

George W Bush was US president from 2001 to 2009. Together with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, their governments backed the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  This was later proved to have been fabricated; a lie. Over 4,000 US troops have since died in Iraq, and estimates for the number of civilian deaths rise from 100,000 to 500,000.  In the wake of 9/11, Bush’s government authorised the illegal seizing of citizens of different countries through a process called extraordinary rendition and set up a camp at Guantanamo Bay, where suspects were held without trial and where torture, such as water-boarding, was officially allowed.

 

 

 

Obama, my Obama

Barack Hussein Obama was elected President in 2008 and inaugurated 2009.  The echoing of Walt Whitman’s O Captain, My Captain, is a reflection of the sense of exultation and hope many people expressed at the election of America’s first black president, underlain with a fear that there are those who may wish his assassination.  Though Obama closed Guantanamo Bay, his government continues to back the War on Terror in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

 

 

 

the hill

 

British involvement in Afghanistan began in 2001, but it was not until 2006 a large contingent of British Troops were sent to the Southern Province of Helmand.  As at 16/08/2009, 201 British troops had died in Afghanistan.

The British Government Minister John Hutton said in 2008, "This is not a discretionary war. The return of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the power to recreate a safe haven for international terrorism, would constitute a disaster for the international community.  It would represent a clear and present danger to the security of the UK. We cannot allow that to happen."

 

 

 

Breeze Furrow

 

Inspiration for this poem came from Leslie Coulson’s only volume of poetry “From an Outpost”.   At The Battle of the Somme in 1916, 23,000 British soldiers died in a single day. After five months, 1.2m British, French and German soldiers had died.  The German line remained intact and no advantage was gained by either side.

 

 

 

the lovers, lest we forget

 

Over 75 million people died as a result of World War II, over two thirds of who were civilians.  At least 23 million died in Russia and estimates for China are as high as 20 million.  6 Millions Jews died in the Holocaust.  Half a million people died in the UK, as well as half a million Americans, and 8 million Germans.  All of these people had parents, most had siblings, and many had children. 

 

 

 

cha cha cha

 

This poem is in memory of my grandfather, Robert Cunningham, who passed away in June 2006 aged 94.  He was a gunner in the Royal Navy during World War II but not an advocate of war, or religion.

 

 

Goodnight

 

This poem is in memory of my mother-in-law, Mavis Homersham, who passed away in June 2009.

 

 

 

Katie by the River

 

There is a bench in memory of Katie Downs-Wyatt by the river Thames at Walton.  I do not   know Katie, but when sitting on a bench dedicated to her memory, I looked out at the river, and felt a sense of peace and tranquility.

 

 

Available to buy by Trevor Maynard

Talking to a Brick Wall and other one act plays

Six plays: Talking to a Brick Wall, Graye, Taciturn, The Millionaires, The Lists

GLASS

A full-length play

From Pillow to Post

One-act agitprop play, do oil and blood mix?

 

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