In the wake of the decision taken in parliament to bomb Syria, this was written by my talented husband for Rahma. Originally published as a Facebook post, I felt it deserved more publicity. Why? Read it and you’ll understand.
Daddy loves to hug his girl and cuddle her each night
And Daddy loves to know that she is safe and hold her tight
And Daddy sees another daddy with a girl as little as you
And Daddy sees that daddy try to do the same thing we do.
But Daddy knows his girl is safe because so long ago
Daddy’s daddy was invited here to help this country grow
But the daddy that Daddy sees has come at the wrong time
And that daddy is stopped from crossing imaginary lines.
That daddy with bloodied, weary limbs and his girl gripped tight
Has travelled without rest or hope for far too many nights.
When that daddy with the girl as little as you tried to keep her safe
A bomb fell down – or two or three – and blasted them from that place.
So that daddy with the girl as little as you took all he had
And left behind the dangerous place that made all in it mad
And set off on a journey without knowing where it would end
And saw his money dwindle as he had to spend and spend.
That daddy with the girl as little as you paid another man
To take them across imaginary lines to another land
To take them to a place where his little girl wouldn’t cry
And hug her daddy tight from fear when she heard planes in the sky.
But too many other daddies (and mummies and children too)
Had already gone to that land because there was nothing else to do
And the people there began to hate them, called them dirty and poor:
“We’ve two million of you here already, we can’t take any more.”
So that daddy with the girl as little as you set off again
And paid another man to smuggle him on board a rickety train.
That daddy hugged his little girl, tried to cuddle away her fears
Because the rumbling sounds she heard were like gunfire to her ears.
And after countless cramped nights with nothing but rats to eat
That daddy with the little girl stumbled to his bloodied feet
And followed others like him in a giant human train
That made its miserable way through wind and snow and rain.
Till at last they came to water and another man said:
“There is freedom on the other side, and homes and work and bread.
But first you must give me what you have, come now don’t be stingy.”
And that daddy paid all he had left for two places on a dinghy.
But the dinghy didn’t make it and they drowned with all the rest
The daddy with the girl as little as you clutched to his chest.
And men from the freedom lands (with homes and work and bread)
Got sick of all the dead bodies: “Go fight for your land instead!
That’s what we would do, if we lived where you did.
There’s too many here already. Kick ‘em out. Get rid.”
And the men in charge of the freedom lands started to plot and plan
Claiming they could make it stop if they bombed the dangerous land
The decision quickly made by a few hundred hungry for power
Saw planes set off and drop their bombs within that fateful hour.
And down on the ground another daddy with a girl as little as you
Never made it to safety.
He was too poor.
And that’s what bombs will do.
Umair Meer (December 2015)