Extinguishing Flames – “We Fight”, Shake the Dust 7/7 Finals version

As the flame is extinguished and the London 2012 Parade marks the end of the Olympics/ Paralympics, I’m reminded of these resonant words from four young poets addressing the Olympic theme of truce:

As soon as the games end,
false friendship no longer remains…
… will we extinguish the Iraqi, Afghani, Libyan flames…?

Children in the Niger Delta look on at a Shell gas flare. © Elaine Gilligan / Friends of the Earth

Video footage of the Shake the Dust finals has yet to surface so in the meantime here’s the full written version of “We Fight” performed on the 7th July at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank.


by Yorkshire Slam Team 2012 (Chloe, Nathaniel, Stan, Abena)


We fight,
We fight for freedom,
For belief,
To protect our sacred soil

We manufacture your society
Clones not citizens have risen
We call it politics…
others call it terrorism

Seven, seven. Seven Years Ago
In this city… today
Seven, Seven… RIP, RIP
RIB – Rest In Battle

But WE are the ones who cause more terror
than any suicide bomber has ever made
We kill from desks, from blood signed treaties,
no need for us to pick up a grenade

Other people’s freedom,
for centuries we have took,
And we dare to do this
in the name of the holy books,

We protect our borders
from those who protest against our truth,
We propagate riot in the streets
and blame it on         the youth,


the empty promise of peace
held aloft by blackened burned hands
the white flag turned red

A raging sea of anger flows into a calm lake of peace
No padlock can be attached to this shimmering veil,
delicate cobweb curtain
Truce – a time bomb
waiting     to

As soon as the games end,
false friendship no longer remains,
so when Britain brings home a gold medal,
will we extinguish the Olympic torch flame?
Iraqi, Afghani, Libyan, flames…

Those five interlocking rings
that you believe represent unity?
Just a temporary agreement
to stop us bombing every country.

Like gullable Gollums,
my precious, my precious
the Olympic rings chain you,
The media has trained you,
trained your mind to join our ranks,
We indoctrinate, INDOCTRINATE
With toy plastic army tanks!

Yes, to you, Call Of Duty,
may seem like just a game,
But parents, let me tell you –
your children have already been subliminally trained

Add zero money/ zero jobs/ zero opportunity,
Plus University fees times’d by two.
Did you get the final solution?
–Forget education – the Army needs YOU

We fight,
We fight for freedom,
For belief
To protect our sacred soil,

The mask comes off,
We fight to quench our lingering thirst for oil.


Smoke clears.
A green horizon in the distance
Across this broken pomegranate land
Potential seeds of hope

A new world,
Community not competition
Poetry instead of points

a permanent truce.

We write for freedom,
We write for liberation,

We write to protect our sacred soil.

[an earlier version of “We Fight” & “Shake Perceptions” performed at the Yorkshire finals can be seen here]


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