Sunday, 20 July 2014

Mogadishu - 09 December 1992

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This poem is a different take on ‘the beach’ theme for the next open mic.

It is a sad fact of life that people have different objectives when undertaking a common venture. This was demonstrated on the 09 December 1992 when the US Navy Seals and Marines landed on a beach near the international airport at Mogadishu as part of Operation Restore Hope.

Prior to the landings the ‘powers that be’ briefed the world’s media and local warlords on the impending operation. This lead to an absurd situation; where highly skilled warriors attempted to make a covert landing on a beach under the glare of the lights and cameras of the world’s media.

It must have been extremely nerve-racking for the men involved.

Mogadishu - 09 December 1992

Silently they cross the sea’s gloss black surface.
The dinghy propelled swiftly through the darkness
towards the shore line.
Beyond the surf;
the matt blackness of the beach rises to dunes,
silhouetted against a moonlit sky.
His heart quickens, this is it,
His mind’s eye sees the next steps;
through the surf, the silent dash across the beach,
senses alert to the slightest sound or movement.
He grabs his gear, readies his weapon,
prepares to tow the boat through the surf,
eyes, ears, vigilant.
A glance left and right to ensure the team is ready
then break from the cover of the inky water
to cross the narrow stretch of sand.
Suddenly his world erupts in dazzling light.
Night vision destroyed, his ears tune in,
voices, running feet.
He prepares for a firefight but this is no enemy.
Questions shouted, cameras, lights.
He stumbles to his feet rushes up the beach
searches for cover.
The media horde chase – press in – shout questions.
Here in the darkness stealth comes to an end.
Here on a beach near Mogadishu
he digs in, his life risked;
for the sake of a photo opportunity.

John Carré Buchanan
20 July 2014

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