To give it this obscene nickname
is to make it seem attractive
and much less harmful than it is
like calling cocaine simply ‘ coke’
or the atom bomb ‘ Little Boy’

to render the screams of children
the impotence of their parents
their frantic hope for remedy
without mention whatsoever
and to still light up the night sky

with plumes of white dust that fall down
and burn and burn, even call it
‘ shake and bake’ as in Fallujah
is to give up being human
and turn all Gazans heroic

your own past miseries done with
if you have not learned history
if you re-enact your own past
on these poor souls whose only crime
is to expose your wretchedness.

A Silent Scream For A’ The Bairns O’ Gaza

The title, White Pete, alludes to white phosphorus which was used on the civilian population of Gaza. The poem was used in Dundee in January by an artist commemorating the bombing of Gaza. Pat Donachie made hundreds of little coffins adorned in the Palestinian colours and displayed hundreds of children’s shoes to remember all the children who died in January 2009. The poem was laminated and headed ‘ A silent scream for a’ the bairns o’ Gaza.’