Brown Irishmen Six: A Song of Fury

Last night another innocent, peaceful person died in an “unknown” land.

When the body of this person was pulled from the rubble in an unknown city in a certain Middle Eastern country, this message, along with a photo, was found in his breast pocket. By some miracle, the text was still intact.

The woman in the picture looked like an Irish woman, and the humorous, teasing shamrocks on the underside of the photo would appear to confirm this.

Was this woman the Celtic beloved of the man who was dead? No-one can say.

However, the lyrics of this man’s apparently self-written epitaph did bear a striking resemblance to the Irish song “Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six” by the Pogues. Some wondered whether there was the ethical risk of appropriation, given that to call someone a “brown Irishman” is an act of naming which cannot ever be fully democratic, no matter how well intended.

This is all true, as far as it goes.

But nonetheless, a man beloved of his far-flung lover still lies dead on his back at this very hour.

Oh farewell you streets of bombing
And farewell you towns of pain
There will be no more laughter in the souk
Just 10 million brown Irishmen slain

They warn us “1 000 years of terror”
They smirk and make grand speeches on our pain
Oh how I long to find a refuge
But their drones rain down this pitiless iron rain

So farewell this dusty graveyard, once my Eden
And farewell these shattered homes and crusted blood
No I’ll not return to die twice over
Nor to see the rains of war turn soil to mud


There are Brown Irish in Syria
Brown Celts in Iraq
We are hacked down and gutted
Trailing smashed spines on our backs

And both Caliphs are laughing
But we cannot smile
A fearful time-bomb
The bastards have pinned to our spines

In Baghdad we’re attacked on all sides by Daesh
In Damascus they drone our kids with immaculate haste
God help you if you’re ever still breathing alive
Sometimes I think I’d be better off never revived

They are counting bodies
Nine thousand, ten
Neither children nor women nor beasts nor men
Round the paper-deeds pass again
Our little son’s skin is on fire again

A curse on all Caliphs, of East or of West!
Who made the walls fall on my dear mother’s breast!
For the price of charisma
And moral windfalls
May their last end be Satan sticking blazing pins in their balls!!!

May the Stormtroopers of Goodness shed bitter tears in their beds
And may their Terror consume the crowns choking their heads
While in Syria another child screams for her mother
An Iraqi child of five weeps, shovelling grave-dirt on his brother!!!

Meanwhile, somewhere further north, a weeping woman of 20 years, trembling with fear and grief, took a belt and hanged herself.

The next day, her anguished friends greeted her for the last time, and one small corner of Dublin was filled with mourning, for a season.

But we need not dwell on that.

Why should we care?

After all, it is none of our business.


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