Wednesday, 11 September 2013

When Will They Learn?

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I believe this poem to be self-explanatory. I would like to stress that I am not anti-American and I do not condone in any way the events of 9/11 or those alleged to have taken place in Syria, they were and still are abhorrent.

I do, however, believe that the West and in particular the United States have to recognise the fact that many of the nations around the world have histories and cultures many times older that their own. These cultures have different beliefs, values and ways of functioning. The fact that they are different does not necessarily make them wrong.

I hope you like the poem.

When Will They Learn?

Summer draws to a weary finish.
Throngs of tourists diminish.
The first leaves fall gently to the ground
as through the hubbub sirens sound.

A whisper, gentle on the breeze
flits around with the summer leaves.
It tumbles through the city scape
touching all, its voice takes shape.

Through the hubbub a lone bell tolls
As they name three thousand souls
whose tragic loss of life was written
by their own ignorant predisposition.

Yet as they mourn their tragic loss
Their nation’s ‘hawks’ wind up the Boss.
Again they want to interfere
by dropping bombs from the troposphere.

A sure fired way to make good friends -
of nations, their way of life offends.
Where different values are the norm
Just drop bombs – stir the swarm.

Then sit back and wonder why
So many people had to die.
They don’t seem to understand
it’s always better to shake a hand.

John Carré Buchanan
11 September 2013


  1. Knowing what to do or what not to do is always a hard call. Hindsight is the only thing that can tell us if our actions were right or wrong, but by then, the time has passed. I enjoyed your poem John, and hope you are doing a little better now.

    1. Rum-Punch Drunk, Thank you for your kind comment, I'm glad you liked the poem and I am doing slightly better than I was last month.

      You are right of course; hindsight is the only way of knowing the validity of any action and even then it is usually left to the victor to write history.

      My comments here are more about the hatred that results from foreign military intervention and in this particular case the added complexity created by the fact that the religions and cultures of the nations involved are so very different. This is made even more difficult because the Americans are not generally known for their ability to understand that older civilisations so not necessarily aspire to live in a society that talks ‘the American dream’ and ‘Apple Pie’, but is in truth so very far from that ideal.

      I believe that the Chinese General and strategist Sun Tzu summed it up about 2400 years ago when he wrote;

      ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.’


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.