EXCUSES

By Ian McDonald


Remember the Biafra babies?

well they all mostly died

malnutrition, dehydration, machete, whatever,

but my conscience was clear

for many's a sixpence I put in those boxes.

Sure we have our own problems here.

Take the state of the health service,

bloody six months to get a hip replacement.


Like the war to end all wars

that was the famine to end all famine

in the sixties of the Beatles, the Barbie Doll and Biafra

weren't we all poor back then.

So why should I feel guilty?

Sure we have our own problems here.

Ten cents on a packet of Goldgrain last week.

Fifty euro goes nowhere in Tesco now.


Anyway, no problems in Biafra today.

Now ethnically cleansed and subsumed by neighbours

while the power brokers watched on with their blind eye

the other one focused on the 'bigger picture'

as it ogled all that black gold.

Sure we have our own problems here.

What about Shell and the Mayo pipeline?

And my heating bill went up again last year.


We've had a feast of famine since then,

Ethiopia, Eritrea, even El Salvador.

But hunger's not fashionable with the media any more.

Wars are more visually shocking.

Al Jazera is the best - really gruesome.

Sure we have our own problems here.

We’ve had ‘The Troubles’

and we still have the Limerick Mafia.


That guy with the table outside the Post Office,

he looks after the third world poverty thing now.

Don’t make eye contact or you'll have to pay.

I don't give - it all goes on administration.

I do the lent collection though, nearly twelve Euro this year.

Sure we have our own problems here,

with university fees on the way in

and the wife put on short time last month.


I think Rwanda might be in Africa.

I remember it because of the one million slaughtered

when the UN couldn't decide if it was genocide or not.

That was their blind spot back in 1994.

You shouldn’t dwell too much on these things.

Sure we have our own problems here.

The swine flu has taken its toll recently

and auntie May is eighty three and very poorly.


You've heard about the child soldiers in Chad.

I have no idea where Chad is either

and maybe those kids are better off doing something.

But I wouldn't send my eight-year-old off to war.

Paddy, next door, says it’s a cultural thing.

Sure we have our own problems here

with the children’s allowance slashed

and the cost of school books rocketing.



Then you have Iraq and Afghanistan

and them dying like flies out there.

I suppose they’re well used to it by now.

It gets too much airtime on the news here.

I usually switch to the Movie Channel at nine.

Sure we have our own problems here

With the Stock Exchange in turmoil

and NAMA about to rob us blind.



Nothing but wars and famine abroad.

All far away though, in countries with strange names.

Thank God for Man. United

We need normality in our lives

And what can we do anyway?

We don’t understand their cultures.

Maybe best to let them find their own way.

And sure we have our own problems here.

Don’t we?