You Are Now Leaving Iraq

Posted on Monday, December 19, 2011, under ,

Who would’ve thought that a conversation about poetry could give you an answer about weapons of mass destruction!
                                Charles Duelfer, CIA, in National Geographic: Interrogating Saddam (2010)

Iraq, the country he ruled and ruled
as his ‘personal torture chamber’,
has scaled down to a dim prison cell –
his personal torture chamber.
Here, as a former ruler of Iraq,
here he lives on borrowed time,
is brought meals twice a day
is allowed to read books
is lent an ear to his war poetry.
But they are not interested in his poetry.

They are desperate to wring out
a couple of answers from him. Just a couple.
A simple yes or no would do.
Are there weapons under the Iraqi sand?
Is he friends with the sectarians?
He keeps shtum. He keeps reading,
keeps writing his war poetry.

The interrogator tries to win his trust.
He does. George Piro befriends him.
He even renounces a hunger strike for George’s sake.
But still he keeps shtum. And writes poetry
no one is interested in.
The weeks and months wear on.
The time is running out. Under pressure,
under immense pressure,
George Piro finally breaks down
and decides to pay attention to his poetry:
his writing style, his use of metaphor.

It is a metaphor of rifles and swords –
a figure of speech that he used
to scare off the hostile neighbour –
which brings on the truth, yet not a pardon.
It makes the world pause to think:
what if he never made that speech,
what if he didn’t have
‘a very unique way of writing’?

© Branko Manojlovic, 2011

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2 Reply to "You Are Now Leaving Iraq"

  • i-pod keroro (a not uncritical of Japan) on 26 December 2011 at 07:45

    Hi I'm an italian boy. Are you a japanese communist?

    I was doing a search on "Kyoto communist stronghold" and I found this site via a link.


    branko on 26 December 2011 at 10:37

    Hi there,
    I am not a communist per se, in that I do not belong to any political party.
    However like many people I am disgusted by the new global order which enables the rich to get richer at the expense of the hard-working masses.
    Kyoto has traditionally been a communists stronghold but they have been less influential in the recent past. You doing research of some kind? Anyway, good luck!