In praise of false prophets

I despise the lies you live by
I hate you for what you are
yet you have choices
you don’t have to do it
you could live an honourable life
you have riches beyond the dreams of others
yet you, Malcolm, persist and I resist.

In the Philippines police murder
and they do so with impunity
on the orders of their president, Duterte
with the connivance of their elite.
All those shot are poor
Duterte calls them drug dealers.
We send our military to help
yes help him suppress opponents
fighting in Marawi, Mindanao.
The insurgents are Muslim
the crusade drags on, and on
perhaps for another thousand years.

We are fighting in Afghanistan
in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen
we are killing Muslims
who we define as terrorists
and horror of horrors
they fight back
you’d think they’d just wait
wait patiently, for us to come and kill them.
We do it to guarantee oil supplies
we do it to protect your interests
we do it because the US tells us to
we do it because we like killing
we do it because we are the murderers.

Malcolm you have turned our sailors
into thugs who turn back refugees at sea.
Our troops once fought for freedom
you and your predecessors destroy traditions
you give them carte blanche to terrorise
the helpless, the poor and frightened,
those fleeing war and persecution,
those seeking asylum in our country.
I say our country because it belongs to all of us.
Australia is not a fully owned subsidiary of
the Liberal Party of Australia
or any similar criminal entity.
We own this country –
you are just our servant.

You can fund the corrupt Adani company
to build a railway to carry coal to the coast
to fuel climate change and destroy the reef
and flood low lying islands in the Pacific
drown those escaping from the deltas
of Bangladesh and Burma.
But just remember that every sleeper laid
can be destroyed – you and your armies
can’t guard 300 kilometres of railway.
Every derailment adds to the cost.

And at the time of the worst famine
in Eastern Africa you have slashed foreign aid.
Your government is killing kids by starvation
in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia.
you know they are dying of malnutrition
you know they are dying of preventable illnesses
yet your priorities are propping up
murderous presidents in the Philippines
making profits rather than listening to prophets.

Malcolm you and your followers are the criminals
you are the polluters destroying the earth
you are the ones inflicting robo debts
on the unemployed, lone parents
you are employing the debt collectors
to standover powerless people.
You are the thugs, the criminals
you are the ones doing the terrorising,
sermonising, backsliding, freeriding,
idealising greed, indifference to suffering
you are sanitising the murder
of children in the developing world
either by neglect, indifference,
couldn’t carelessness, or by
sending troops and bombers and drones.
I despise everything you stand for;
every value you espouse, because no matter
how caring it might sound when you say it
you don’t mean it.
You dissemble, you lie, you distort, you rort.
Your culture wars are about conniving, covering up
and maybe they should be spelt with a K:
a K for killing
or a D for drowning at sea
or an S for suppression, stealing, subterfuge
and subsidising the rich
or a T for terrorising the poor.

We were once a country which upheld
human rights, personal dignity, justice,
equity, decency and humanity.
Where Jack was as good as his master.
Where a fair go was the least we’d expect.
You have turned your back on all that
in your Faustian bargain with
the conservative rump of your party
you have stopped being a man
and morphed into a cruel distortion of
Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton.
Like Dorian Gray, you have retained Tony’s ears
and Dutton’s charm and intellect.
Your words hang in the air
like the fumes of a toilet block during a cholera outbreak.


First published New Community Quarterly, Vol.15, No.3, Issue 59, 2017.