June 10, 2016
June 5, 2016
There was a young man called Medhanie
Whose ancestral name is Kidane.
They mistook him for Mered
Who littered the
With change from his travelling money.
You might not think that having light-brown skin like singer Smokey Robinson, corkscrew hair like footballer Roberto Baggio, and the same first name as the man they were actually looking for, would suffice to persuade Italy’s police that their prisoner was indeed Medhanie ‘The General’ Mered.
Perhaps the Polizia didn’t need much persuading – not if they were dummkopfs simply desperate to cop somebody.
In any event, the man arrested in Khartoum and extradited to Rome on Wednesday, now seems to have been correctly identified as Medhanie Kidane Berhe; not the‘kingpin people trafficker’, but a 29-year-old refugee from Eritrea.
The UK National Crime Agency, quick to declare its involvement in the arrest of Mered, has had less to say since the prisoner’s identify was called into question.
This is likely to be confirmed as a terrible case of mistaken ID. But is it any less terrible that the wrong man was a nonentity beforehand, and the best we can offer him is to become so again?
wrong man is a refugee from war-torn Eritrea.
Chances are this is not the
first time he has been wronged.
Eritrea is described as ‘war-torn’ as often as ‘horse-drawn’ comes before ‘carriage’.
But who here has the
capacity to care about what happens there?
Frankly, Medhanie, we don’t give a damn.
And what of Medhanie Mered? The self-appointed ‘general’ who shackled and banged up refugees, allegedly, until their families found more money to move them on to thenext leg and the next trafficker.
Who laughed, reportedly, when told that more than 300 of his paying passengers had drowned after their boat capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa.
He’d had their money already; now the sea saved him the trouble of handling their landing.
Yet if we didn’t laugh, what else did the West do but fail this human cargo more discreetly?
China and the money out, money stolen, the biggest theft in the history of our great country, you say.
You say there are still more slitty eyes cutting out the heart of America, blood coming out of America’s wherever.
What’s a man gotta do? You’re on a surfing safari gonna shoot down those Japanese cars crashing in wave after wave like rollers on Malibu beach where the California girls with eyes of cornflower blue and hair like wheat-fields they never saw, don’t go any more.
Moloch, your opponents say, the monster eating America’s future. What if the future isthe orange monster, what could be worse? What could be worse? Meanwhile your people insist the wig’s on the other way: you’re the one to save the children and make America great again; and they want you for the part, they love you for the role because you speak perfect American.
You talk fast and loosely poetic in rhythms running from old Philip Marlowe on the West Coast before the Beach Boys, to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl of New York. Not that you saythe same things as the Beat hippie gay fat guy but yours is the same vernacular and it’s all to do with being in the moment – let’s levitate the Pentagon, remember? And each moment is unique so of course you are going to say different things because thedifferent situation demands it and it’s all about the situation (Not the moment? No, that was a moment ago).
You the ginger man playing it like Malcolm McLaren doing what Guy Debord always wanted to; leching and leering, too, as if your middle name is Benny Hill. The spectacle which started with the politic poetic rhetoric of liberal-baiting, red-hating Senator Eugene McCarthy and crossed over to the counterculture, has finally made it home – spectacularly.
How could America not love you?