Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nine years of neft-theft

Neft (нефть) is the Russian word for oil. Nine years ago the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was hell-bent on a war with Iraq at the behest of his transatlantic partner in crime, George W Bush. By that time many of us had realised the nature of Blair's politics, which had nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with his own feelings of self-aggrandisement, which were borne out when he posed with a big cheesy grin on his smarmy face, photographing himself in front of some incendiary event. In the run up to that war I wrote a weekly magazine on behalf of Small Heath 'Stop the War' campaign to try and raise funds. It was called Chimps and ran to 5 issues, by which time the war was already underway, and trying to stop it seemed even more futile than in the run-up. I am proud of my humble effort to change the world, though it was a rather forlorn hope with Blair at the helm of UK politics.

As regards neft-theft Blair lied through his Cheshire Cat grin when he said if the war was about oil he could have 'cut a deal' with Saddam. But the truth was there were oil companies waiting in the wings of his theatre of war, so that when the battle-scene was over, BP, Tony Buckingham and a whole host of other western oil companies could tap into the mineral wells, and make rich people even richer. As Malthus reiterated 'the poor are always with us'. And Blair showed no concern for them. In his book they were expendable. It did not take a genius to know what was going to happen to poor civilians when the NATO pirates went in, all guns blazing.

The last issue of Chimps was written after the bombing had started. One of the first civilian victims was a little boy called Ali Ismail Abbas. In the bomb which killed his parents and other members of his family Ali lost both arms, had severe burns to his body and it was touch-and-go whether he would survive. I wrote a poem called Tony's Child which I published in Chimps. It finished:

Tony's child liked volleyball but now he has no arms
he cannot show the skills he learnt, all those magic charms.
No arms to touch, to love, to feel, he has no arms to kill.
It might be better if he died, and who knows perhaps he will;
he lies all day in bed and cries, for Tony's child is very ill.

The bomb that killed his family and took his arms away,
scorched his growing torso and God I only pray
this kind of thing will soon become a feature of the past
when men were seen as savages who used to maim and blast
little children with their bombs, and Tony's child's the last.

Again it was a forlorn hope. Tony Blair believed that history would judge whether his decision to go to war in Iraq was the right decision. I have news for him. As far as Iraq is concerned he is already part of history. As far as oil is concerned he has proved himself to be a liar and a thief. Let's hope there is a higher judge than history to try him for his
neft-theft, because all the perfumes of Arabia could not wash away the stench of thousands of deaths on his blood-soaked hands.

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