Wednesday, 27 March 2013


 The growing rhythym of the rotor blades has a comforting effect, the gathering din slowly dampening the sound of the war. The crash of the artillery becomes a dull thimp, the wind shears away from the blades, the first nudge off the ground and the sudden rise above the sand and it is the most normal thing in the world. We are immortal. Our helicopter moves round, faces east, then west then east again and then turns at 180 degrees to the ground, levels off and streaks between the artillery. And as we pass through the gun line - our door remains wide open because of the heat - there is a crack-crack-crack of sound and long pink tulips of fire grow out of the gun muzzles, a barrage as beautiful as it is awesome.. One of these big flowers moves ineorably past the starboard side of our chopper and for a moment I think I feel its heat. It hangs for a moment in the air, this magnificent blossom, until we overtake it and a line of palms curls beneath us and then the Shatt al-Arab, so close that the skids of the chopper are only a foot off the water.


I sit up and squint out of the pilots window. I can see a smudge on the horizon, a black rime across the paleness of the river and a series of broken needles that stand out on the far shoreline. The water is travelling below us at more than a hundred miles an hour. We are the fastest water-skiers in the world, the rotors biting through the heat, sweeping across this great expanse of river; we are safe in our coccoon, angels who can never fall from heaven, who can only marvel and try to remember that we are only human. We fly through the smoke of two burning oil tanks and then Labelle bangs me on the foot with his fist and points to a mountain of mud and filth that the helicopter is now circling and onto which it gingerly, almost carelessly sets down. 'Go, go, go!' the pilot shouts and we jump out into the great wet mass of shell-churned liquid clay that tears of our shoes when we try to move and which sucks at our feet and prevents us even moving clear of the blades when the chopper whups back into the air and leaves us in a noisy kind of silence, Labelle and I trying to hold our trousers up, the mullah's robes caked with muck and then, as the chopper turns fly-like in the sky, we feel the ground shaking...

'War against war' And The Fast Train To Paradise,
from The Great War For Civilisation by John Pilger

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


One morning in late autumn, while the grass is still strewn with last night’s tears, or perhaps in March as the grey afternoon freezes to a close, we will hear the click of the lock in the door as Abraham leaves for the final time.
And the radio will still be on, soft and black, churning its hurly-burly into the empty air and a shallow light may drift across the table. The doors will ease themselves on their hinges and the walls settle a little further into the clay and we will rise slowly, unconscious of the geometry in our knees, hearing only the words stitched firmly to our lips and approach the quiet drawer. And with fingers weak as wax we will slide it open stiffly to discover that the knife is no longer there.
In the unquiet depths the phantom slides from action to unction its myriad fibres trembling in the blackness unseen. The phosphor glow that warms its lightless eyes slips past, irrelevant, towards a further darkness in which to prey. Infinitely brief, its cellular perfection grapples with the saline dust calling all to prayer and the final transformation.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years; and he begat sons and daughters. And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.