Its a Fence, Not A Wall

Maticni Street in Usti nad Labem
Maticni Street in Usti nad Labem

They don’t pay rent and they don’t work
They create an awful din
They look different because they are
So lets wall the Roma in.
Well build a wall, 13 foot high
Build it right around
We can pretend they don’t exist
When we can hear from them no sound.
This is the twentieth century
This is the twenty first
We are good citizen of these lands
The gyspies are the worst.
We want action from the city council
For it to happen now we call
We want them to solve the problem
By building a thirteen foot wall.

o o O o o

Why build a wall around our flats
How can it make you content
To wall us in like animals
Because some cant pay the rent
We dont have jobs, us you accuse
And vent on us your anger as you attack
When we look for work the Czech man says theres none
We know its because were black.
Our people are sunk in apathy
They cannot see a way out now
Why not place our people on our feet
And to progress, show us how?
We’ll appoint stewards to our flats
Law and order for to keep
Settle rows of drunks before they get out of hand
Rubbish to gather, the courtyards to sweep…

o o O o o

We are the council of this town
Our tenants we have heard
We know of rents that have not been paid
We call a wall absurd.
We see the stewards that police the flats
And where rubbish had been
They now work to empty the bins
And keep their court yards clean.
Thirteen foot high and concrete
We will not build this wall
We’ll build a 1.8m barrier of ceramic bricks
And it as a “Fence” we’ll call.
We’ll build the kids a playground
And in it they can play
They’ll not notice there corralled like animals
This the council does say!

o o O o o

Men came from East and Came from west
And said from where they’d been
Nothing like this ever did exist
Nothing like this they’d seen.
It could not be built, it was not right
It was racist, outright wrong
And Romanys attacked the site
Pulling down bits erected as they were built along
The middle of the street they lived
As their neighbours looked on with pride
At how the council done their will
Ans sided with their side.
Bt the pressure it kept mounting
It was seen the world round
And everyone who came on it
Only revulsion in them was to be found.

o o O o o

And so in time the wall came down
Six weeks after it was built 1.8m high
But to this day the scars remain
The hatred does not die.
What is it about humanity
That when there problems be
Will not talk and there or solve
But think if they cannot see
By building barriers between their own
And those whose presence they dont desire
Those they hate will not exist
If they do, build the barrier higher?
From Berlin to Belfast theyve stood
As well as in this town
Som of them are standing
And more of them has come down
They stand to protect one from another
In Belfast each other they attack
But in this town Czechs attacked Roma
And the Roma did not fight back.
Today in that town and street
A wall we may not find
But it will always exist
As a barrier of the mind.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This poem is inspired by the news article on the fencing in of Roma by their Czech neighbours, even after their concerns was addressed. It was dismanlted due to international pressure six weeks after construction, during which time the Roma blockaeded the site and destroye sections, to no avail.

Im sure readers will agree its a lot worse and more symbolic of our age than the Berlin wall.

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