Sonnet of the Week: Outrage

This comes from my recent booklet Us and Them: the war in error. I argue that the worse the atrocity, the clearer our thinking has to be. One of Lee Rigby’s killers had been tortured, and then repeatedly pressured by MI5. That doesn’t excuse the killing, but it’s something we need to know.

Paul Francis.

This is what terrorism means. It’s meant to fill you with uncomprehending fears. A young man in the street, hit by a car and then beheaded, filmed by passers-by.  The clip goes viral. Ministers are sent round all the studios. They are insane these monsters. Evil. If we had the rope... Next best is lock them up and don’t ask why.  We need informers, vulnerable men with contacts. No, they won’t be volunteers. We probe their weakness, sometimes probe too far. This guy, a torture victim, did complain but we still probed. He’d had enough. And then? That’s stuff we’ll cover up. You couldn’t cope.


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