The Economist: El 2004 en vers

Aquesta setmana, la revista The Economist, publica un resum de l’any en vers. Destaca sobretot l’estrofa del mes de març en la qual dediquen un versos a l’11-M i a les eleccions del 13 de març i on acusen a J.M. Aznar i al fet d’acusar a ETA de l’atemptat quan tot indica la pista del terrorisme islàmic com a causa principal de la seva derrota electoral.
A nosaltres tot això no ens suposa cap novetat, però el fet que ho publiqui el The Economist és un cop molt fort a l’intent del PP de justificar la derrota electoral en base a la manipulació de les masses del PSOE i a la seva credibilitat internacional.

El vers del mes de març:

But the worst bangs of all were the ones that shattered Spain,
Three days before a vote was due to put in place again
The team once led, the Bushies said, by that bright shining star,
The champion of “newâ€? Europe’s crew, José Marí­a Aznar.
When he had sent Spain’s soldiers to do battle in Iraq,
He hadn’t given his reasons, but kept all his thinking dark.
E’en so, the polls predicted that his team would win again,
But the voters didn’t like the way that he and all his men
Were quick to blame the bombing on Spain’s home-grown ETA camp,
When all the signs suggested that it bore al-Qaeda’s stamp.
And so the Spaniards brought to book George Bush’s friend and hero,
By opting for José Luis Rodrí­guez Zapatero.

A continuació tot el poema:

The world’s events we here rehearse—The year that’s passed is told in verse

DARK night gave way, that Jan the first,
To hopes that now the sun would burst
On where Saddam had once been king—
Tsar, caesar, lord—of everything,
And with his acolytes and thugs,
And poison gas and listening bugs,
Had ground the poor Iraqis down,
In field and dune and marsh and town.
The realisation soon would grow
That in his place was GI Joe,
A decent, fair and honest friend
Who had no wish his life to spend
In any country but his own—
So long as freedom had been grown.
For GI Joe had but one aim,
To make Iraq look just the same
As any democratic reach,
From Oregon to West Palm Beach.

AND yet Iraq was daily rent
By shots and blasts from men who sent
Crazed bombers out to kill and maim.
The zealous masses they’d inflame
And stir the clerics to incite
Their congregations to invite
The ever-conquering Yanks to go,
And never more their faces show.

MEANWHILE, over to the east,
Two years had passed since war had ceased,
Yet here as well some hopes were rising,
The reason was a group comprising
Delegates from far and wide,
Tajiks, Pushtuns, side by side,
Aimaqs, Uzbeks, crooks and warlords,
All agreed to sheath their broadswords,
Then sat down amid the rubble
To see if they could ease their trouble;
And from this motley institution
Arose an Afghan constitution.

NEXT door, where grimly clerics reign,
Weak reformists pled in vain
With a council so hardline
Few considered it divine.
What they sought was a selection
To contest the next election
And thus assist th’ Iranian nation
To escape its isolation.
But the steely ayatollahs,
Caring more for power than dollars—
Not that they would close their palms
To the faithful’s proffered alms—
Knew that they would lose control
If they let reform unroll.
So no, the critics could not stand:
Half their candidates were banned.
Guardians of the revolution
Must resist such vile pollution;
They must brook no opposition,
Press ahead with plans for fission,
Hone their theocratic praxis—
And languish on the evil axis.

IN OTHER parts the breaking news,
Of wars and bombs and avian flus,
Was little better, it appeared.
True, some Italians rose and cheered
To hear a court say Berlusconi
Must be tried, the law was phoney
That granted him immunity
And so conferred impunity.
And down in Georgia Saakashvili,
Young and brave, not touchy-feely,
Took every vote, bar 4%,
And thus became the president.

ELSEWHERE, however, much was gloom.
Darfur heard the crack of doom,
As every kind of odious deed
Was turned to by the janjaweed.
Oppression reigned from Minsk to Lhasa,
A bomber killed herself in Gaza,
And men in shades in Pakistan
Began to question Abdul Khan,
The father of the country’s bomb,
Who’d spread his secrets far from home.

A WORLD away, in cold Des Moines,
By caucus, poll or well spun coin,
The Democrats began to choose
A candidate who shared their views
And might do battle, later on—
The race would be a marathon,
Involving grit and shove and push—
With George (the latest) Walker Bush.
All eyes till now had focused been
On pull-no-punches Howard Dean,
But Dean let out a plangent yell
That sent his ratings straight to hell,
And, with the voters not so sure,
A new face was the cynosure.
John Forbes Kerry was his name
And by month’s end he’d shot to fame,
A veteran with gongs galore
And stinging words about the war.
Which war was that? Vietnam, of course,
But now once more the use of force
In this new war was looking vain—
The war to fell Saddam Hussein.
Could Kerry wow the party hacks,
And plug the Democratic cracks?
Was he Viagra? Polyfilla?
An elixir? A dragon-killer?
Or just a boring flip-flop man?
Political temazepam?

QUITE different questions troubled Tony,
The aegis-bearing Bush’s crony,
Whose faithful loyalty to his friend
Had brought no favours in the end
And cost him dear within his party,
Which threatened now to give him hearty
Thanks and hustle him to quit—
G. Brown could make a fist of it.
Two horrors stalked the grinning Blair,
One a pretty small affair
Involving top-up fees for students,
Never known for showing prudence.
The other, though, concerned Iraq,
In truth a matter deep and dark
In which the BBC had stated
That Tony Blair had overrated—
“Sexed upâ€? was in fact the term—
A spooks’ report about the germ
And ultra-nasty nuclear stuff
That S. Hussein was braced to puff
In—this was a measure of his power—
Just three-quarters of an hour.
Many Brits disliked the war,
The spin and lying even more,
Especially the false deduction
That the weapons were of mass destruction.
One man who’d told the Beeb his thought—
This was the source for its report—
Had then resorted to a knife
To cut his wrist and take his life.
Six months had passed and now was due
An independent full review
In which a judge would soon proclaim
If anyone should take the blame.
Some thought that, having heard from Hutton,
T. Blair would be as dead as mutton.
How wrong they were: when all was stated,
It was the Beeb the judge berated.

IN FEB, the shortest month of all,
Iraq was still in Mars’s thrall.
The world watched bombs and rockets fall,
And hopes of peace could only pall,
Notwithstanding Wolfowitz.

DARFUR now was racked by hunger,
Sri Lanka hoped for someone younger
Than its boss, Kumaratunga,
Who, ‘midst cries of “Cowabunga!â€?
Sacked her colleagues, causing splits.

LIKEWISE Putin purged his team,
Vowed to mine a richer seam.
Mugabe sank in world esteem—
His special powers made critics scream.
Zimbabwe was the pits.

FRANCE said it would ban the veil,
San Francisco it would hail
Same-sex weddings, male to male.
Gays who’d hoped they would prevail
Were putting on the Ritz.

UGANDAN cultists slaughtered 80,
Things were even worse in Haiti,
Nader said that every state he
Would contest, thus leaving baity
Democrats in fits.

THE world dismissed th’ Iranian poll,
A bomb in Arbil took its toll,
Kerry’s bus began to roll,
And viewers of the Super Bowl
Saw Janet Jackson’s tits.

IN EAGERNESS, it now appeared, to live up to its name,
Mad March arrived in crazy style with lots more of the same:
In Karbala, in Quetta, La Paz and Tashkent, too,
In Gaza and Fallujah—though not in Timbuktu—
Boom followed after bang, alas, bang followed thud,
The air was full of smoke and the streets were full of blood.
But the worst bangs of all were the ones that shattered Spain,
Three days before a vote was due to put in place again
The team once led, the Bushies said, by that bright shining star,
The champion of “newâ€? Europe’s crew, José Marí­a Aznar.
When he had sent Spain’s soldiers to do battle in Iraq,
He hadn’t given his reasons, but kept all his thinking dark.
E’en so, the polls predicted that his team would win again,
But the voters didn’t like the way that he and all his men
Were quick to blame the bombing on Spain’s home-grown ETA camp,
When all the signs suggested that it bore al-Qaeda’s stamp.
And so the Spaniards brought to book George Bush’s friend and hero,
By opting for José Luis Rodrí­guez Zapatero.

BY CONTRAST, for some others, the votes were trouble-free;
Malaysia and El Salvador had rulers filled with glee.
The Taiwanese returned their boss, though only by a fraction,
While the other 49% demanded satisfaction.
John Kerry drew more comfort from a Super Tuesday win,
His rivals, though, sustained a blow and saw their ranks grow thin.
Attempted coups would make the news in Congo and Sudan,
And Turkmenbashi banned all beards in Turkmenbashistan.

THE South Korean president found solace out of reach
When his parliament chastised him and then voted to impeach.
For North Koreans and Cypriots the talking came to naught,
But with Muammar Qaddafi it all proved much less fraught.
In Pakistan the Indians had a jolly spiffing tour
Showing cricket could bring friendship to old enemies next door.
Events in Venezuela, though, were doomed to end in fracas—
Too bad that cricket isn’t played in soccer-mad Caracas.
Too bad, as well, for Irishmen who liked to have a drag,
That now in every workplace the signs said “Quench that fagâ€?.

THE father of Muqtada
Was a better man, they said,
Yet anyone called Sadr
Filled western hearts with dread.
Old Sadr was a scholar,
With a penchant for the book,
But the son was rather different
With a very nasty look.
He could summon up his forces
From the centre of Najaf,
Or the slums of Sadr City
Where the streets were mean and tough.
Though the Sunnis of Fallujah
Might sometimes call a truce,
Muqtada thought the Shias
Should turn Bush’s rednecks puce.
And so the spring was bloody
In this “liberatedâ€? land,
Where the lights were intermittent
And the wells were clogged with sand.

THOUGH things were somewhat better
In the kingdom to the south—
You could not say the people here
Were living hand to mouth—
Yet a bomb went off in Riyadh
And re-echoed clear and loud
With a message that was meant to rock
The ruling house of Saud.

IN THE land between the Jordan
And the Mediterranean Sea,
The guardian of the Jewish state
Said Gaza might be free.
He vowed to pull the settlers
From their Earthly bit of heaven.
The borders, though, would not be those
Of 1967.

NO MATTER, said the White House;
It’s an excellent idea.
A state we’ll make in Palestine
With all its exiles there.
They can’t go “homeâ€? to Israel—
That simply isn’t on—
We’ll leave it to the Likud
And dear Ariel Sharon.

BY CONTRAST, in Ilave,
A town in south Peru,
Protesters tore the place apart
And lynched the mayor too.
A law in California
To give workers compensation
Had brought the state to penury
Amid much consternation.
“Don’t vorry, frendz, no need to fear
The budget it vill beggar;
Ve’ll halve the cost of joblessness,â€?
Said Arnold Schwarzenegger.

WOULD in Iraq more mayhem come in May?
Yes, shots and rockets fell, and bombs galore.
But worse than this, the world was soon to say,
Worse than the ruin and bile and gore,
Were pictures on the screen and in the press
Of hapless prisoners held in Abu Ghraib,
Recoiling from the unslipped dogs of war,
And humbled in their awful nakedness—
Yet not by those who’d ruled this jail before,
But leering GI Joe and GI Joan, his babe.

WE TOLD you so, said Muslims far and wide,
“A failure of our leadersâ€? was th’ official phrase.
Don Rumsfeld realised he must now decide
To go, which, pondering the matter for some days,
He did. But ‘twas not from the Pentagon he hastened
But to Iraq, responsible, he said,
For matters of “enhanced interrogationâ€?—
He did not care for “torture liteâ€?—and, seemingly unchastened,
Spoke of “abuseâ€?, but not of resignation:
Bad apples lower down were blamed instead.

A HAPPIER tale by far from India came
Where Sonia Gandhi’s Congress from behind
Emerged to form a government and claim
Lok Sabha, though the top job she declined—
A politician bashful, it appeared,
Despite Nehruvian lineage and lore.
Manmohan Singh the premiership assumed,
A market-friendly face whom no one feared.
The BJP its sorry self had doomed,
With “India shiningâ€? calls for five years more.

THE EU welcomed ten more to its ranks.
Iran was going nuclear, folk said.
The rivers in Brazil all burst their banks.
Torrential rain left floods and thousands dead
In Haiti, which was also torn by strife.
Koizumi went to North Korea to find
The children of some Japanese once captured.
Rush Limbaugh said that he’d divorce his wife.
Darfur was looking trashed and badly fractured,
But no one now could bring themselves to mind.

THE bloodshed and violence continued to mount
In the land where Saddam had once reigned.
That the Yanks could breathe easy if they yielded power
Was the hope that they all entertained.
The date had been set for the end of the month,
For the new sovereign state to be born.
The handover came, with a slight hint of shame,
On an early, unadvertised morn.

THINGS weren’t going much better for Bush back at home,
The top judges said he was wrong.
Guantánamo’s inmates, they forthrightly ruled,
Had had rights to appeal all along.
To make matters worse, in the eyes of the world,
Was some evidence bound to displease,
That G. Bush’s own men, with a stroke of the pen,
Had said “Torture’s OK overseas.â€?
And then from some sages there came a report
Saying no kind of link could be found
Between Saddam Hussein and the troglodyte men
Who had razed the Twin Towers to the ground.

BUT America now for a moment would pause
To reflect on a president late.
Old antagonists all could agree not to call
Reagan anything other than great.

IN EUROPE, meanwhile, all the big cheeses met
To say yes to a new constitution.
Though for months they’d conferred, some critics demurred
Amid vows to resist “revolutionâ€?.
Most voters, however, to judge by the poll
For their pan-European talking-shop,
Had preferred to stay home, with a film or a tome,
Than this grandiose plan try to stop.

THE Philippine votes were all counted at last
And Arroyo was once more in power.
But no comeback for Bill, though kid Clinton could still
Pull crowds with a vapid memoir.

AS USUAL, however, the nastiest news
Was to come from the sad Middle East:
While cameras were steadied, two men were beheaded
And the tapes to the media released.

EUROPEANS, some at least, in years divisible by four,
Start July with sporting talk not just of cycling (yes, le tour),
Of Wimbledon (yes, “Come on, Timâ€?), of cricket (who’s that at the crease?),
But also, quadriennally, of football (no more summer peace—
Nil-nil, foul, expletive, “Goal!â€?), a ghastly contest won by—Greece!

IF THAT, however, shook the bookies, no one now expressed surprise
That a senior Senate panel went to lengths to criticise
All the spooks and spies and experts, all of those who once had said
That Iraq was stuffed with weapons fit to fill the strong with dread;
Thanks to them, the panel noted, all the world had been misled.

IN BRITAIN, too, there was tut-tutting, as Lord Butler now laid bare
All the fibs and fabrications in the desperate drive to scare.
MI6 had bungled badly, God knows how it made its claim
About those horrid, beastly weapons—golly, what a rotten shame!
Still, since the mess was all collective, no one really was to blame.

THAT’S the way New Labour likes it, so it seems, at any rate:
No one fails and all have prizes; simply blame the fourth estate.
Don’t let’s mention missing weapons, don’t be cross, it’s quite unfair.
All who acted acted nobly, good intentions everywhere.
Politicians don’t say sorry, not Geoff Hoon or Tony Blair.

OTHER leaders had their problems, Europe’s struggled to recruit
A chap to run the new commission, not, they hoped, a boring suit.
But half the names were controversial, and half again seemed pretty so-so,
Until they found a man at last, not at all malodoroso,
A Portuguese would fit the bill: José Manuel Durí£o Barroso.

FAR and wide, as voters voted, ruling parties took a hit.
In Canada the Liberals smarted, won but also lost a bit.
The Japanese were likewise vengeful, gave the government some knocks;
Mexico did something similar, taking aim at Mr Fox,
And his missus, so it seemed—all ambitions, airs and frocks.

AT THE HAGUE the World Court uttered, Israel’s wall would never do;
We’ll build on,â€? th’ Israelis answered, “What’s it got to do with you?â€?
Michael Moore was grossing millions, Kerry picked his running-mate.
Uncle Sam restored relations with a former terror state—
Libya was back in favour, Iran was now the place to hate.

FAR away, in Venezuela,
August saw bold Chávez cheer.
Faces in the West turned paler,
As the poll results grew clear:
Six in ten had backed the colonel,
This would have results external,
For the price of oil was dear.

IN IRAQ the wells were pumping,
But the place was still at war;
In Najaf the joint was jumping,
Chaos reigned as ne’er before,
Till an aged ayatollah,
Who had long been hard to collar,
Sealed a deal to fight no more.

AT HIS trial for war-crimes vile,
Slobodan Milosevic
Was too ill, despite denial,
To conduct his legal pitch.
So two lawyers were appointed—
Perhaps their minds were double-jointed—
To defend the Serb’s last ditch.

Prisoner in a Malay jail,
Six years on at last got lucky—
No one even asked for bail.
No such luck for Master Thatcher,
Nabbed inside his Cape Town dacha;
Protests were to no avail.

IN NEW YORK th’ United Nations
Told the bloodstained Sudanese
Time was running out for patience:
Would they stop the killing, please?
But veto-wielding Mr Putin
Didn’t want the UN boot in,
So Sudan would feel no squeeze.

WINDS swept through the Caribbean,
Olympic athletes strove in hope.
Only efforts Herculean
Could make Afghans give up dope.
Rebels flocked to Katmandu,
Chechens bombed a plane or two;
Could the Russians ever cope?

SEPTEMBER was here, and the winds now blew strong;
The trail of destruction grew horribly long.
East-coast America, Haiti and Cuba
Jamaica, Grenada and once-Dutch Aruba
Were hammered and battered by night and by day,
Their houses were flattened, if not blown away.

IN AFRICA, too, the disasters descended,
As locusts came down it seemed God was offended.
But the worst blows of all, as so often the case,
Were the blows meted out by our own human race.
And of these there were few that could ever compare
With the slaughter that opened the Russian school year.

THREE hundred children, perhaps many more,
When the classrooms were stormed were found dead on the floor.
Chechen guerrillas were plainly to blame,
But many thought Russia shared some of the shame
For badly mishandling the siege of a school
And repressing the Chechens who wanted home rule.

FOR benighted Iraqis things also were bad,
Bombs killed 30 children in central Baghdad.
The place will be peaceful, said Iyad Allawi,
But the script was now written by one al-Zarqawi,
A man often said by the pressmen embedded
To preside over hostages being beheaded.

SHARON’S plan for Gaza now looked like a starter,
A bomb killed eight people in central Jakarta.
In Land after Land German voters made plain
That they didn’t care much for the thought of more pain;
But though plenty were ready to stick it to Schrí¶der,
They equally hoped to put Merkel in purdah.

REFORMERS in Turkey now thought it was time
To make sex out of wedlock, if married, a crime.
The EU took umbrage and said, “Not so fast,
If you want to join Europe this mustn’t be passed.â€?
“OK,â€? said the Turks, in the face of such flak,
And their talks for accession were put back on track.

NOW grey October galloped in apace,
Although the sun shone bright enough on some.
John Howard, down in Oz, ran quite a race
And left Mark Latham up a tree of gum.
The Afghans voted, too—it was a first—
And in a poll few thought would safely pass,
Though ballots oft were missing or dispersed,
They Karzai chose and thus escaped a farce.
The folk of Maharashtra, in their poll,
Rebuked the Hindu zealots all about;
The Indonesian voters, on the whole,
Chose cautious Yudhoyono in a rout.
But Serbs and Kosovars would still not mix,
So left their mutual province in a fix.

WHO now would speak for Europe in the world
And harmonise th’ affairs of all its nations?
Barroso had his chosen list unfurled,
With faces matching all their future stations.
But one of them, named R. Buttiglione,
To parliament had aired views rather strange;
It said that they were bigoted baloney:
This member of the team he’d better change.
And so he now withdrew the whole commission.
Attention turned instead to hot-air blasts.
The Russians chose to end sins of emission,
And ratified that protocol at last.
This meant the number now reached 55—
Enough to keep Kyoto’s dream alive.

GOOD news from France came when arrests were made
Of ETA leaders sought for crimes in Spain.
The word from Pitcairn left the world dismayed:
For years the island’s girls had cried in vain
As male descendants of the Bounty’s crew
Raped and abused them with no sense of shame.
Th’ Iraqi news was sadly far less new,
Samarra was recaptured, but the name
Fallujah, fiercely resonant with awe,
Was now on every lip and trembling tongue.
The White House race towards its close did draw,
Debates were done, the final mud was slung.
With rival’s records each played fast and loose;
Bush cut some taxes, Kerry shot a goose.

THE second of November and the morning of the vote,
The candidates seemed neck and neck and not inclined to gloat.
By midnight, though, it all was clear, the prize had gone to Bush,
The hammer of Saddam Hussein, Iran, the Hindu Kush.
A warrior the voters chose, a man to love and dread,
A Christian, a patriot, who’d paint the country red.

AND red indeed it looked next day: both Senate and the House,
Were redder than the day before, the Democrats would grouse.
Moreover, in 11 states the fate of marriage gay
Had fallen foul of prejudice and men like Tom DeLay,
Who’d mashed the map of Texas, despite the protests heard,
With help from one Bush liked to call the Blossom of the Turd.

THE time had come, apparently, to make the good times roll,
The cabinet was winnowed and they said goodbye to Powell.
He’d hardly dared leave Washington for fear that in a trice
Old Rummy would outsmart him, so bring on Condi Rice.
With the CIA in chaos and Bill Rehnquist looking sick,
George Bush could now prepare to cure the body politic.

THE place most sorely wounded, though, was bleeding at the seams;
‘Twas time to zap Fallujah and to hell with all the screams.
Iraq was due to hold a vote within just 80 days;
The way to spread democracy was bomb and blast and blaze—
Insurgents, you’ll appreciate, not plain Iraqis good.
Too bad if some poor innocents may not have understood.

THE Arab world then drew a breath to praise dead Arafat,
And wonder who might now take o’er the group that he begat.
The Dutch all froze in horror at a murder foul and wild
Of a man who’d made a movie that had many Muslims riled.
West Africans in Cí´te d’Ivoire were turning on the French
And torture tales of Pinochet made many a Chilean blench.

TO BATTEN down a hatred some thought was quite primordial,
Jacques Chirac came to England and thus kept the entente cordial.
A group of wise reformers tried to mend some UN fences.
A Homo hitherto unknown was named floresiensis:
She lived 12,000 years ago and stood just three feet tall,
Her teeth were worn with munching and her brain was rather small.

AN ACID memorandum from the Red Cross came to light
Saying techniques in Guantánamo were really far from right.
And meanwhile an election rent the floundering Ukraine,
Whose streets were thronged with people, all clamouring in vain.
And down in Foggy Bottom the man so long ignored
Decided that he now had time to take a trip abroad.

IN PRE-ELECTION Britain there was war on every front;
The Lords and Commons clashed over huntsmen’s right to hunt.
Pink coats were sent a-packing, the countryside was cross,
But the Commons was determined to show that it was boss.
If this was freedom’s test, then the government would flunk it;
But never mind, all eyes were on the love-lorn Mr Blunkett.

AND so the year was almost out,
December had begun.
Ukraine was going down the spout:
Both Victors thought they’d won.
But then the court said, “Vote once more,
On Boxing Day.� Was that a bore?
No, more a shaft of sun.

A VOTE took place in Mozambique.
In France old Juppé crowed:
A judge gave him the right to seek
The presidential road.
Sarkozy will be miffed, they thought,
To face this man from Chirac’s court,
When Jacques puts down his load.

THE world had changed, ‘twas plain to see,
And yet it was the same
For those with AIDS or HIV—
Few comforts for them came.
Five million more were virus-cursed,
And seven times that already nursed
This incubus of shame.

UP NORTH rich folk would now decry
The rising price of oil,
The dollar low or euro high,
And housing off the boil.
Third-worlders, though, were used to pain—
Another year and little gain,
Another year of toil.

WOULD next year any better be
Than this year gone before?
Would peace illumine January,
Or would it be more war?
Would sun shine down and flowers bloom?
Or would there be a hecatomb?
We do not know, that’s sure.

FOR now we must content ourselves
With Spiderman and Shrek,
With red-nosed deer and little elves,
And hollied halls to deck.
If Father Christmas wishes well,
The world won’t just yet go to hell,
Though it may look a wreck.