The Song of Osama bin Laden | Miscellany | Chicago Reader

The Song of Osama bin Laden 

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

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In the high rocky wastes of Afghanistan,
In the cruel 'Indu Kush or beyond--
'Oled up with what's left o' the Taliban
In the great, empty sprawl of 'Elmand--
In some wretched and waterless canyon, where
No Yankee or Brit's ever trodden--
It's somewhere out there we'll discover 'is lair,
The cave of Osama bin Laden!
'E swims like a shark in a friendly sea
(Remember those sayings of Mao?)
We know where 'e's been--where 'e's likely to be
But we never know where 'e is now!
Way up by the borders of Pakistan,
In the realm of the tribal Pashtun,
There isn't a more Gawd-forsaken land
This side of the pitiless moon
And it's there that the pitiless mullahs preach
Against ev'rything Western and Modern
'Aranguin' the solemn young fellows they teach
To follow Osama bin Laden!
The West, they declare, is at war with Islam
Look at Palestine! Look at Iraq!
'Tis noble to strap on a suicide bomb
And die in the counterattack!
The tough-minded rulers in Washington
Who targeted Saddam Hussein
Proclaimed the worst part of the fighting done
And now are at pains to explain
As conditions get bad in the slums of Baghdad
And the eyes and the attitudes 'arden.
'Ow many Iraqis, already 'alf mad,
Now turn to the tribe of bin Laden!
They all think 'e's Robin 'Ood, slinkin' away
With that bloomin' big price on 'is 'ead!
Well, what if we catch 'im--then what'll they say?
But what if we turn 'im up dead?
The lads in the crowd in Jalalabad
Know life to be bitter and mean
It's 'ard to believe in a lovin' Gawd
'Avin' seen all they've seen
For them, it's jihad--a last-ditch intifada--
It's Death--and reward in the Garden
Aye, what could be 'arder to kill than a martyr
--A martyred Osama bin Laden!

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tom Chalkey.

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