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A goblin, a horrid little creature, with a face of greeny brown._Huge, hairy eyebrows that
One Small Voice


Peter Green

Peter is a lifelong Tottenham supporter from London. He wrote... A world cup in Qatar! Unthinkable, unbelievable when it was announced. Money does not smell, it stinks and shouts, drowning out voices of dissent and incredulity. And to make matters worse the football world bowed, taking the knee to embrace the change to the season to accommodate the lure of lucre. Footballers of some nations took the knee to show a stance against racism when the tournament began (nice window dressing) but were not allowed to show any support for gay and trans people.

My small voice to a busy wilderness of glass towers,
once a windswept desert, now a mediaeval modernity,
technologically transformed, metamorphosed,
manicured scenery, artificial and real greenery,
watered, transformed by the blackness of its black origins,
offspring gushing out of mother earth’s womb
liquid gold, shining now as it was then matt,
once viscous, now solid, stable,
the alchemist’s dream made reality not by alchemy
but by fuelling, feeding distant lifestyles (mine too):
different, dependent, disapproving (superficially),
diffident to offend a powerful provider,
caressing its cruel sovereign hand in a sandy land
ingraining feudal might over human rights.
Winds – not winds of change – still blow
international flags, they flap, fluttering, fly;
opponents and workers trapped, muttering, die -
a ‘small’ price paid for the coveted prize
sought by many nations,
bought by money unrationed, sprinkled
liberally by an illiberal reigning dynasty,
feinting change, feigning reform,
raining cash to host the bash of a Cup,
symbol of acceptability
signal of respectability
token of modernity.
The Beautiful Game has no foul stench
except its foul henchmen at its helm.
Money does not smell,
but ownership of the rigs and wells
gives power to send to hell
queer voices,
to own women’s choices,
to silence uncomfortable noises
amid the thunder and clatter of storms of scorn
before a rainbow’s drawn,
its colours a visible thorn,
a voice in the wilderness
for the voices for those who need them.
Voices of protest raised for them … then
hushed by the game’s governing cabal,
corrupt and with a simple fix!
‘Politics and sport don’t mix,
leave the protests out’ they spout
and issue their directive:
‘No armbands. Players will be booked’
and at a stroke defiance is cooked,
compliance enforced against the gesture
- not even grand; token, minimal,
years too late to counter the bait of bribes
and lies for the world football prize.
The Tournament:
promoted by bought allies,
feasted on by global eyes,
looking away from the abuses,
seeing only the glitter of the game,
the glory not the story of unhidden shame.

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