The Kindness Of Strangers

Dark stories are now emerging from Libya, where we, out of the generosity of our liberal idealism, disposed of a dictator by arming the rebels and bombing the dictator’s capital and armed forces into submission. The dictator was killed and the so-called democratic rebels took over. Well, it now emerges that the torture centers once run by the dictator are now being run by the rebels. The prisons once filled with people opposed to the dictator are now being filled with people opposed to the rebels. One more Arab Spring revealed by reality to be an Arab Winter. But even torturers can be kind, after a fashion.



Kindness is a dark illusion

Meant to ease the knowing fear

Meant to calm those in confusion

To believe that death’s not near

Sun-lit rooms with fragrant flowers

Smiling faces bidding well

Questions that go on for hours

Then returned to darkened cell

Where the guilty and the blameless

Shiver as the footsteps near

Knowing that they now are nameless

Crying cries that none can hear

Beaten, tortured, long forgotten

Waiting only for the sound

Of the jailor, for his lot in

Life is to be never found

Yet kindness comes in many guises

A smiling face says it is done

The torture’s ended, no surprises

The paper signed, and he has won

No more the cell, no more the beatings

No more the cries, the misery

This is the last of many meetings

A bullet now and you are free


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