The Unknown Hero

My son died with a gun in his hand
And with fear in his eyes my son died.

Just seventeen

In childhood dreams

When they sent him to his grave

He asked me why

A man must die

Before they call him brave.

How can they talk of honour

As a comfort and a cure

To the widowed, to the grieving

To the crippled, to the poor?
My son died with a gun in his hand

And with fear in his eyes my son died.
It’s time to fight for freedom

And Liberty for all

The General cries the same old lies

Hear the battle call.

But a man will always be the slave

Of the man who calls the tune

Pied Piper leads you to the grave

But promises the moon.
My son died with a gun in his hand

And with fear in his eyes my son died.
They dug a trench

Ten yards long

In the dusty battle grey

Face in the mud

Drenched in blood

The dead boys bodies lay.
Funny how I remember still

The baby in my arms

Now with his graveyard lover

Wooed by the battle charms
Do they close the gates of heaven

To a boy who died in vain?

Are we doomed to watch this tragedy

Keep spinning round again?
My son died with a gun in his hand

 And with fear in his eyes my son died.

© Rob Henry 31/07/1981


So You Want to Be a Storyteller?

Sam S. Mullins: a blog about anything

Really? Even if people won’t want to date you ever again for fear that you’ll one day talk about them on stage? You’re sure?

Okay. Welcome aboard.

Here’s a cheap glass of wine. Where we’re going, you’ll need it.

I’ve got to tell you – I think you’ve picked a great time to get into the story game. I mean, with the success of storytelling podcasts like The Moth, RISK!, Definitely Not the Opera, Snap Judgement and This American Life millions of people are now aware of the phenomenon of modern storytelling. Just about every city in North America now has a regular storytelling event, and there seems to be more opportunities for storytellers than ever before. For raconteurs like us, the getting has never been good-er.

But before you start speaking your heart into the crackly microphone at the local roti place’s storytelling event (at which no one is there to actually hear stories [they’re just there…

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Road trip through hell to paradise – travelling through East Africa by bus. Part Four

All four parts are a great read…. I will never moan about a bus journey again…. without at least feeling some degree of shame anyway.

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The first crunch of my teeth was the worst and elicited a gagging reflex, which made the passengers nearby chuckle, but I was so hungry I swallowed and pushed the other half of the cricket into my mouth. To be honest, there wasn’t a real taste but I was aware of the wings and the legs brushing against my lips and I had to tug something thin and wispy from between my teeth. The old man smiled and nodded and started to shovel more into a black plastic bag. I put up my hands to stop him: I wasn’t sure I could face eating the things, but he smiled again, encouragingly and passed the bag to me. He didn’t want any money for the crickets but was grateful when I passed him a 1,000 TSH – less than 50p – and I rested the bag in my lap as he…

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Road trip through hell to paradise – travelling through East Africa by bus. Part Three

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The blackness of the night was lit by regular flashes of lightning. Rain poured down the windscreen, the wipers screeching as they struggled to clear the volume, and the side windows of the bus painted brown as the wheels ploughed through the sodden dirt-road, spraying mud high into the air on both sides of the vehicle.
I’d moved my camera bag onto my lap as I feared for the safety of the contents in the wildly bucking coach. Not a vehicle was in sight and I felt some consolation that bandits might not want to be out in this weather either.
The track was narrow, and had sharp slopes to either side, to aid water run-off in storms like this, but with deep pot-holes, or small boulders that had fallen onto the road as obstacles, the driver had to steer one side or the other into the side slopes, so…

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Road trip through hell to paradise – travelling through East Africa by bus. Part One

My Blog

Having just completed my trip – 2,300 miles by bus from Arusha, East Africa, to Lake Tanganyika, on the borders of Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, I have some advice for other Brits or Europeans who might wish to make a similar journey – the Canary Islands are very nice at this time of year!
Actually the return journey was very pleasant – I broke it into 3 stages, and that made it much more pleasant, if not necessarily more memorable.
I left Arusha on the 6am bus, bound for Kigoma. I was led to believe, that this was a 10-hour trip and I would be in Kigoma for about 4pm.
Lesson 1 – don’t believe bus agents. On the four bus trips I took, not one was less than 25% out of their estimated arrival time.
African buses are strange. They divide their seating into 3 on the right of…

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Road trip through hell to paradise – travelling through East Africa by bus. Part Two

David Owen’s blogs and photographs in East Africa – rocking the cradle of humanity.

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The five hours of waiting weren’t too bad – I could get off the coach; there were toilets, and food was available, the worst part was not knowing when the repairs were to take place.
However, in the food area, where I managed to get a seat in the shade, some of the seasoned travellers were getting unhappy – it wasn’t about the delay – I don’t think anyone travels this way expecting a timetabled arrival (apart from me). We’d set out at 6am, arrived at the food area at 11 am, and now it was getting on for 4 pm. By my calculations we had another 5 hours of travelling, but the engineers were still working frantically. If we could get going soon, we’d be in Kigoma for 9 – 10pm – it wasn’t that bad.
Then it was explained to me – there was a nasty section ahead…

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