Thursday, June 25, 2009

Learn the buggers...

On a coach going through Manchester I saw a blue plaque, once. It told the world that it marked the site of St. peter's field, the scene of the infamous (to anyon immersed in labopur movement culture) Peterloo. My heart skipped a beat, there, in what is now basically downtown Manchester was the place where 15 people were killed and hundreds injured. I'd read about it so often, thanks to the poetry of the radicals laureate Percy Bysshe Shelley.

One. Small. Massacre - nearly two hundred years ago, now. Still remembered, still an animating force. It spurred on the chartists, it burned in the hearts of the labourites and the socialists. Castlreagh and King George didn't fall that day, nor shortly afterwards, but it created a cultural bond for the workers' movement that has since gone on t hound the likes of Castlereagh et al.

In Iran the dead will not be forgotten - the Ayatollahs will not fall this week, nor, I suspect, even this year, but the memory of this month will remain, and may even be remembered in Persian verse. It might read something like this:

'And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again - again - again -'

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

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