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 — but countries full
Of men and women and children who do not
Guide those that choose to do
What they do to Lands far from home
For oil or gold or out of fear or in The Name of their God
Who is not your God?
How say you, young men and women thinking you
Are the first, that this Righteous Fight has never been
Fought, that your bloodlust 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 for you 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 who are raped,
For we know they will be, they always are,
And have no say in this? And the children who will be
Maimed and killed and sent homeless and orphaned
Into the smouldering ruins of an uncaring world?
You think you are the first, but you are not.
Not even close.
Think of those warriors who gathered before the walls of Troy
With their shining armour, the lustre
As bright as the souls you claim are yours, their swords
Catching the sun as you think you catch
The eyes of Your God.
Think of the littered dead of 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.
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 as it 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? God?
He or She that has had many names and many forms
But has always found Themselves as a banner
For those that go to war, is that what They want?
Or for 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 sink without a trace for Its cause?
Or might it be those who have always profited on the dead
And have always fed the minds of young men who chase shadows
Led by the cruel whispers of the hiding men,
The lurkers in corners, the bean counters, the greedy weapon makers,
The givers of orders, the heedless of consequences,
Might not they be the ones you are really fighting for?
Reach down and clasp a handful of sand,
Count the grains, each one a warrior such as yourself
Turned to dust, with those dreams that match 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 and thought they too fought
The Good Fight that would change everything
And found, or died before they could, that it did not.