by Jim Aitken

Jenin, o Jenin

dust, all over the camp,
has settled like a shroud

and this was supposed
to fight the terror
and deliver whatever

with Apache helicopters
themselves recalling
an earlier ethnic cleansing
raining down missile and flame

what havoc was wrought here
in refugee impoverishment
insults the whole of humanity
but it is those especially
who chose to be silent

and we know who they are
the ones who now prepare
in civilised Christian goodwill
silent too on Manger Square
after the dust has settled here
to change a regime elsewhere

and it is this silence that enabled
all the desecration to descend
the silence of willing accomplices
deliberate stalling diplomacies
while the crazed, cleaving butcher
unleashed his rabid hounds of war
and there are no streets anymore

those who did this seem to imitate
clinicians who once tormented them
with real talk of getting rid of lice
and the barbed camps of degeneration
and the absence of sanitation
no electricity or water
bulldozers shovelling the slaughter
like something from the Warsaw Ghetto

and now how to come back from this
demands psychiatric analysis
where once abused becomes abuser
trapped in the ghetto of traumatised minds
while new masters remain silent and blind
o if only perpetrators could see
how their actions will never make them free
and to excorcise their demons inside
and seek peace with the world on the outside

Jenin, o Jenin…

Jenin was written by Jim Aitken, who read it out to the Anti-War demonstration in Glasgow’s George
Square on April 27th. It is taken from the new book, From the Front Line of Terror, published
by the Stop the War Coalition & the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. £3 from SPSC, Peace & Justice Centre, Princes St., Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ.

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