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Alan Shatter: And still they come


Alan Shatter

Alan Shatter

Alan Shatter

This poem was written by former Justice Minister and author Alan Shatter last month as the Mediterranean refugee crisis began to intensify

And still they come,

The beleaguered, the traumatised, the bereaved,

The detritus of conflict and cruelty,

Lives upended by sectarianists, tribalists and ideologists,

Casualties of fundamentalist religious definitivism

And authoritarian dictatorial elitism.


And still they come,

The survivors, the fugitives, the tortured,

The dispossessed, the oppressed, the distressed,

The remnants of what was and what could have been,

Lives disrupted by politics, fanaticists and fundamentalists,

And God's self-appointed warriors of destitution and destruction.


And still they come,

The brutalised, the capsized, the exploited,

The optimists, the pessimists, the fatalists,

Destinies children craving salvation,

Lives liberated from absolutists, sadists and rapists

And self-appointed promoters of atrocity, war and genocide.


And still they come

The men, the women, the children,

In search of peace, freedom and prosperity,

To a dehumanised, disunited European horizon,

A porous fortress of moral indifference and hubris,

It's humanity paralysed on an altar of politically stoked

Xenophobic opportunism.


And still they come,

The relieved, the retrieved and the grieved,

The barely living, rescued from the Mediterranean's coffin ships,

A continuing traffic of human tragedy and nightmarish memories,

Running their race in the desperation stakes

Onto Europe's sandy beaches and rocky shores

And storming its indifferent citadels, walls and barricades.


And still they come

But will their coming become us?

Irish Independent