Sunday, August 30, 2009

32 Men Got Away From Colditz

I wrote this poem four years ago.

32 Men Got Away From Colditz

After the war, book & film
capitalised, Colditz, The Great
Escape, The Wooden Horse. Boys’
own games, valour amidst boredom

The grudging respect Wehrmacht
had for their captives was on the
whole reciprocated. The duty to
escape balanced the duty to prevent it.

The Swiss ensured ‘fair play’.
Towards the end things got ‘dicey’
to use the vernacular. The SS didn’t
play by Geneva rules. Neither for that matter

had the German army in Russia.
Demonise your enemy & it demonises
you back, a lesson Berlin learnt at its cost.
The prisoners took control in Colditz to

the annoyance of the American film crew
eager to shoot a liberation. My teenage image
of war - sporting encounters with possible
lethal consequences. Belsen justified our side.

Now, fresh pictures of degradation and torture
midst all the rhetoric about the need to combat
evil. Blame a few scapegoats, not those who
say Geneva cannot count for terrorists.

Harvey McQueen

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