Silly me— and I had thought you needed A home, a chance, a job; new neighbours who Would welcome you to fields already weeded A thousand years. Not one of us here knew, Or dreamed, that you would dress your girls in sacks, Or drag them back to wed your brother’s get Near twice her age, persuading her with whacks About her head until she weds a man she never met. My friend, (and you should know I am your friend), I tell you, and I choose my words with care, That buried in the messages we send There beats a drum long muffled. Friend, beware! Praise any god you please, to any heights: But do not use his name to claim such ‘rights’.
Mandalay, Mustique January 13, 2006
Eight years ago I received a call from an early mobile phone. An ex-girlfriend of mine, a Muslim we shall call ‘Sascha’, (obviously not her real name), was trapped in a car. Outside her flat, cowering in her vehicle, she sat terrified while her two brothers waited to give her a through beating because she refused to travel with her parents to marry a 50-year old ‘uncle’ in Pakistan she had never met. ‘Sascha’ was born and bred in Britain, loved pop music and fashion and had never been to Pakistan in her life— she was a beauty consultant in a department store. Fortunately, I am not a gentleman. I told her to stay calm, and to sit in her car. Then I telephoned a couple of bouncers in a club down my street in Soho. The came upstairs to visit me, refused my offer of money, and drove to Holland Park where ‘Sascha’ lived. There they found the two brothers parked directly behind their sister’s car with baseball bats in their hands. Requiring no further information, they rocked, then tipped the these cowards’ car, a Mini, upside down and left it on its roof. ‘Sascha’ escaped to her flat, shouting her gratitude. I wish the story had a happy ending. It doesn’t. Her father went home to Pakistan to die. Foolishly or not, depending on your point of view, she flew out there to be with him although they been estranged for many years. She was kidnapped and forced to marry the 50-year old man who had paid her father long ago for the privilege. She lives there today in a village with three children, while her ‘husband’ struts around London, having obtained a visa by forcibly marrying her. He lives on Social Security and speaks almost no English. To be frank, he hates the English and everything they stand for. It doesn’t matter to me if some of my best friends are Muslims or not. This is wickedness masked by the cloak of religion and ‘human rights’. What rights does ‘Sascha’ enjoy? None. There are no U2 CD’s in her squalid home or a CD player, for that matter. She confides in me via a secret messenger. Gentle reader, we either protest against this evil and prohibit it in so far as we can, or we join it. On which side of the line will you stand? My story is true in every detail, bar ‘Sascha’s name.
This poem is a work in progress. It is incomplete, unfinished and has not been revised. It is meant only to offer a glimpse into the notebook of a poet at work. Please do not post it onto other sites or publish it in any form without this notice being attached. Thank you — Felix Dennis