A Political Anthem

Freedom, Protest and Power

The Destruction of Dresden

The Second World War bombing raid on the German city of Dresden and the poem that Megan http://www.wordsmiththebook.com/about-megan-young/ wrote about the horror of that event has attracted more interest than any other post on this website.  http://www.wordsmiththebook.com/annihilation-dresden-bombing-raid/ She wrote that powerful poem, Annihila, on the 50th anniversary of the raid. When you read it, you can feel the intensity of Megan’s ability to relate to the pain and suffering of others and transform that into the written word.

Political Protesters – Or Victims?

A year later, in February 1996, Megan wrote another poem which, like Annihila, reflects her view of the world of strife in which we live. Anthem For the Safety Net is an enigmatic poem, a poem with a political message but the message keeps slipping away. Is Megan in sympathy with the oppressed and the protesters? Or are they a disappointment to her. It is hard to tell. Each verse seems to end with disillusion. The poem, though, is as relevant today as it was then when Londoners were being killed by IRA bombs, thousands had died in the  war in Bosnia and Herzegovina https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_War and in Germany people were learning what ‘freedom’ meant following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Megan was brought up during the Thatcher years. Strikes and picket lines were also a part of her memory.

Political Protest

The fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989

Anthem for the Safety Net

Do you remember the colour of rain?
That some would believe it was red?
It rained on the marchers who stormed the town hall
And they thought it was stained with their blood.
When they called to the nameless faceless
They believed they would die for their cause
But would they have run for cover
If someone had opened fire?

Do you remember the colour of iron?
That some would believe it was red?
It rained on the few who climbed over the wall
And they thought it was draped in the flag.
When they died on the barbed wire fences
They thought they had died to be free
But the thousands who watched in silence,
Ten thousand times freer were they.

Do you remember the colour of power?
That some would believe it was red?
It rained on the workers who vote with their feet
And they thought they had cut through the tape.
When they stood by the picket-line fences
They thought that they might even win
But they’ll take their two percent pay rise
Because it’s easier to give in.

Do you remember the colour of freedom?
That some would believe it was red?
It rained on the writers who fled from their homes
And they suffered for the printed word.
When they died, forgotten, in exile
They thought they had died with their cause
But true revolution is stronger
Than those kept behind closed doors.

Justice and Disillusion

This is the voice of a young woman who cared deeply about justice and who felt the pain of the world. At the time that she expressed these thoughts, she was helping to bring newborn lambs into the world on the moors of Northumbria as part of her veterinary training. It would have been a cold and hostile environment – but battling with the elements can help us to see clearly through the fog of consumerism and political dogma.

A Cold War Adventure

The Dresden story, reflected in Megan’s poem Annihila, has continued with the publication of a book about an act of reconciliation between young British and German people in the 1960s. http://www.dresdenremembered.com Stepping Off the Map: Memories of a Cold War Adventure is one of the hidden stories of the Cold War. Four years after the building of the Berlin Wall, a group of young British men and women crossed through the Iron Curtain. Their mission was to help rebuild a war bombed hospital in Dresden, at that time in East Germany. The project was organised by a man with a vision, the then Provost of Coventry Cathedral.

Stepping Off the Map: Memories of a Cold War Adventure, back cover

Stepping Off the Map: Memories of a Cold War Adventure, back cover

Intelligence Operation Aimed at Creating a Peaceful World

Decades later, German archives revealed that the project had become part of an intelligence operation aimed at preserving peace in Europe. I wrote about this in my book Communing with the Enemy: Covert Operation, Christianity and Cold War Politics in Britain and the GDR. www.amazon.co.uk/Communing-Enemy-Operations-Christianity-Politics/dp/3039101927. Unknown to those taking part, the project was surrounded by a web of deceit and subterfuge. But, importantly, this subterfuge was designed to create a world in which, according to the chief Stasi agent involved, we could ‘all learn to live together’.http://dresdenremembered.com/the-hidden-cold-war/

The Nature of Freedom

The lesson, I believe, is one which Megan would have appreciated. In a Foreword to Stepping Off the Map, The Dean of Coventry Cathedral, John Witcombe, has written that in the book you will find ‘profound reflections on the nature of freedom, and how different it looks on either side of our preconceptions. Perhaps above all, it’s a story of the creation of deep and abiding friendships that deserves to be told.’




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