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Tuesday, 23 June 2015


I stole the next twenty-nine words from Sir Terry Pratchett*:
“We look around and see foreign policies that are little more
than the taking of revenge for the revenge that was taken
in revenge for the revenge last time.”

We kid ourselves that there was a simpler age in the cut and thrust
Of nation versus nation, clear-cut rules of war, tit for tat, eye for an eye,
Tooth for a tooth, the victorious, the defeated, the romance of blood spilled
By heroes, and corpses tallied by military admin to deliver a final score.

Now, it’s still tit for tat, but evolving into tit for tit and tat for tat, tweet for tweet, 
Whatever suits, two eyes for one eye and a mouthful of teeth for one tooth, 
And sometimes a whole head, sometimes heaps of bodies buried where no one will ever find them. “Put’ em up. Put ‘em up,” said a cowardly lion once.  Who do we think we are kidding?

*Carnegie Medal award speech, 2002

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