To All The Young Warriors
How say you, young men and women surging to fight,
Fleeing countries that may have bullied you
Or may have not,
Countries that might have invaded or at the least
Benefited by it? Countries full
Of men, women and children who cannot
Guide those that choose to act upon
Lands far from their suburban homes and televisions set
While they watch the Politicians and Fanatics claim
Actions done in The Name of The One True God
(Who is not your God) to mask the stealing of oil or gold,
Or the acts performed out of fear of losing control.
How say you, young men and women who think you
Are the first? That this Righteous Fight has never been
Fought. That your blood lust is precious and original.
That the words you hear have never been heard.
That the swelling inside your chest fit to burst
Has never been felt before; has never bloomed
And you now think it does in your time alone?
Do you truly believe that your blood
Taking other blood will quench a thirst?
How say you, as you stand there with your weapons
Praying to deliver a victory by killing innocents?
And what of the terrorized women fearing rape,
For they know they will be, they always are,
And have no say in this?
And what of the children who will be maimed, killed
Or sent homeless and orphaned
Into the smoldering ruins of an uncaring world?
You think you are the first, but you are not.
Not even close.
Think of those ancient warriors who heard the call
And gathered before the colossal walls of Troy
With their shining armour, the lustre
As bright as the souls you claim are your reward,
Their swords catching the sun
As you think you catch the eyes of Your Lord.
Think of the littered dead of El Alamein, those broken bodies
On both sides, soldiers poor or ignorant or seeking glory
Or thinking they had only one life to give for God and Country;
Did they not heed the call as you now do?
Think of the Dixie greys running towards a slaughter
Or the Zulu warriors running against the bayonets
The Crow or Aztec, the Indigenous or weary transcript;
Each young man and woman, each warrior or farmer or son
Or daughter or lost one thought they had found the cause
And fought the fight that was Just, fought the fight that must be fought.
And what did they gain…these young men and women who flocked
As you now do,
To lands scattered as far as any bird has ever flown?
Death to themselves and to those they fought.
Peace sometimes but never for long.
Pain to those they loved and to those they didn’t.
And their Gods —
Did they rejoice in the death? Do you truly believe that?
Who profited from all those deaths?
Someone’s God? Or is it that He or She that has had many names
And many forms always finds Themselves as a banner
For those that go to war, is that what a God is for?
And what of those who say they fought for their Homelands
Desert or Forest, Farmland or Savannah? Do you think
A Country needs so much blood, that it needs a generation
To fall like leaves and smother the ground for Its cause?
Could it be those who have always profited on the dead,
Who have always fed the minds of the young, urging them
To chase the shadows, young minds
Led along by the cruel whispers of the hiding men,
The lurkers in shaded corners, the bean counters, the weapon makers,
The givers of orders, the heedless of consequences,
Might not they be the ones you are really fighting for?
I ask that you reach down and grasp a handful of sand,
Count the grains, each one a warrior such as yourself
Turned to dust, each with dreams that matched yours —
And while we may remember Achilles, remember
He knows nought
But blows across the ruins of Troy, mingling himself
With Hector and the bones of others who also died.
And think on this, young warriors wanting to fight,
Think of all those others who stood upon or beneath
Those mammoth walls of Troy and thought they too fought
The Good Fight that would change everything
And found, or died before they could, that it did not.