Kevin Doyle Blog

Writing and activism

We Bombed It And Bombed It …

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‘We bombed it and bombed it and bombed it, and bueno, why not.’

This comment is attributed to an unnamed Franco staff officer and refers to the savage attack on the city of Guernica on April 26, 1937.   It is not clear how many died on that day during what was a watershed attack, regarded now by many as the first indiscriminate and purposeful aerial terror attack on a civilian population.  Estimates put the death toll at anywhere between 300 and 1650, with many more injured.

The quote comes to mind as we witness the brutal aerial and ground attack on the Gaza strip.  The overwhelming superiority of the Israeli forces and the military might they are able to bring to bear on what is a largely civilian population is in itself shocking.  The awful tragedy is our inability to do so little about it and to stop it.  We are unable to stop the aggressor in this case – since they are backed by the USA – and so the dreadful experience of Guernica is repeated.  My heart goes out to these peole at this time and what they must be going through…

I am reminded of the poem by Herbert Read called ‘Bombing Casualties in Spain’  and quote it here in solidarity with those suffering at this awful juncture in history:

Dolls’ faces were rosier but these were childrens

their eyes not glass but gleaming gristle

dark lenses in whose quicksilvery glances

the sunlight quivered.  These blench’d lips

were warm once and bright with blood

but blood

held in a moist bleb of flesh

not split and spatter’d in tousled hair.

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Written by Kevin Doyle

January 6, 2009 at 7:59 am

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