Tabish Khair on Cartoon Wars

I am growing fond of Tabish Khair’s poetry. Just read this remarkable poem:

Cartoon Wars

Let’s spell out this world.

Generally speaking, we are civilised.
Evil is something others do, mostly.
Not that we are perfect. No, that’s not what I mean.
Occasionally we make mistakes.
Criticism of it should bear that in mind.
It happens: a bomb gone bad, some brutal soldiers.
Doesn’t mean our intentions were not good.
Evil is something others do, mostly.

Germans, or at least Nazis, and communists, Muslims:
Evil is something they do, mostly.
Now the difference between us and them is this:
On every occasion we were willing to meet them, but they
Could not imagine a world with us, with people like us
In it. No, they can’t. That’s the problem. They
Don’t mean what they say, say what they mean. Damn.
Evil is something they do, always.

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