Killing Birds

Works in Progress

- Is a potential pandemic worse than today's reality? There are a lot of decisions that seem to have been made in the handling of H5N1 that I have yet to see discussed in a social or ethical context. The closest I have seen has been when the Sudanese government raised objections to WHO just coming in and culling flocks, saying "you can not do this without proof since our people will starve." Influenza is a theory, starvation is a reality. Money will not help when there is no other protein source to buy.

What are we really doing? Is this a realistic plan, to cull hundreds of thousands of birds just in case to prevent spread and disease for a few human deaths? And the refusal to immunize birds, are we protecting everyone or are we starving people today so that we protect the West, just in case? The third world burns in either case.

Since 1997, 109 human deaths partway through 2006

Why have we decided
Pandemic flu is more important
than Genocide in Dafur?
than HIV in Africa or spreading
through the Indian subcontinent?

Is it more important than malaria
Leishmaniasis, parasites, malnutrition,
or stopping exploitation of children
as sex workers across Asia
catering to Western man?

Is it because it threatens the West?
Following home the well-fed
comfortable white tourist to their home
family, friends and neighborhood
making the risk of dying personal and real.

Otherwise, is it really rational?
The cost, the hysteria, the devastation,
the cultural change forced permanently
on families and villages with only casual thought
to the future by death scared bureaucrats.

The planning and action have brought
the horseman swinging his scythe
but it is not avian influenza for many
through the villages of Asia or Africa
riding hard it is famine harvesting children.

For millions spent and billion of poultry slaughtered,
death walks in familiar form
stealing thousands and thousands of children this year
no money for those programs, for food, medicines, vaccines or AIDS
common killers stay local and do not threaten the West.

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The First Rider

Pestilence rides the winds high
harvesting the birds wings, fleeing
flyways from home nests
summer grounds, winter grounds.

She scythes across the plains of the world
ponds and rivers, streams and oceans
byways of travel routes
home grounds, nesting grounds

White horse winged carrying the horsewoman
directing the waterfow, disease spreading
new ways ready for the next rider
blackend grounds, blood red grounds


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