Friday 6 November 2020

The time of Monsters




This morning I received an email from Edwin Maynard, a poet/photographer friend of mine, who visited me when I was living in Mostar in the 90s. Today he lives in California. He wrote this:

“We have a neighbour who has been flying a large TRUMP 2020 KEEP AMERICA GREAT flag near our driveway and another neighbour on an adjacent driveway who was toting an assault rifle the other day to deter a small (mostly White) unarmed Black Lives Matter demonstration that passed by along a nearby street. The demo consisted of around 30 people tailed by four police cars. And this is regarded as a ‘progressive’ Democrat-voting state!”

He included a pdf of his recently published, ‘Squaring the Circle’, a book of photos and poems. It opens with a great poem about Mostar, but this one caught my attention.


Forty days of toxic rain

and the madman in the White House

is set lose again

as his evangelical henchmen

lie low and exonerate themselves

wth vacant words in the Senate

The streets are empty at this hour

apart from the circling pickup trucks

flying confederate flags

and the lone SUV with the license-tag sting


The populace is silenced

and sealed away behind screens

or plague masks.

Fear and hatred are the entrails

served in the tyrant’s

blasphemous orations

while 'Sympathy for the Devil'

plays at the rallying call

to the festval of lies.

Poisoned words from the bully pulpit,

positioned above the law,

trumpet walls, wars, disinformation, ostracisms,

a eucharist of dominion

over the Earth,

and the sodden ashes

of tomorrow’s Rapture.'

As I write this we don’t yet know if this tyrant will be removed from his ‘bully pulpit’, but am I alone in thinking that there are parallels between the bully and the Bullingon? Yes, I know. Boris Johnson has been to Eton and can speak in Latin .

I am reading a lot of tweets and blogs extolling the superiority of us Brits in our scorn for the illiterate and humourless President, but is the ability of our leader to say, ‘rideat non possum’ a cause for smiling relief?

In the USA any chance of a social reformist leadership was put paid to with the replacement of Sanders with Biden. In this country we have had the same result with, in the words of conservative commentator, Peter Oborne, the ‘political assassination of Jeremy Corbyn’ and his replacement with Starmer, In the USA there are attempts to stop votes being counted, Here the general secretary of the Labour Party has informed party members imperiously that, 'You will not discuss the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.'

The UK establishment are, in many ways, a lot more secure than their American partners. This is what Theresa May told Jeremy Corbyn in Parliament in 2015,“We will never allow you to rule”. That is perfidious Albion with all its born to rule arrogance.

That perfidiousness has been spotlighted most clearly by those who have lived and stuggled against oppressions in its greatest extremities.

Three allies of Nelson Mandela have launched a petition in protest againstLabour’s “witch-hunt” of Jeremy Corbyn.

They are former ANC government minister Ronnie Kasrils who is Jewish; Pallo Jordan who narrowly escaped assassination by the bomb that killed anti-apartheid academic Ruth First and Mandela advisor Ismail Ebrahim who served 35 years in prison on Robben Island for his anti-apartheid activism. Former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein, who lost family members in the Holocaust, has also added his support.

It says, “We are aware of the machinations within the Labour Party to conduct a witch-hunt against Corbyn and those who support him. The charges of anti-semitism that have been levelled against him are patently unjust and morally groundless.

Antonio Gramsci was correct that now indeed is the time of monsters, but it is also the time to bring about the birth of a new world.