Ready yourselves!' Mullone heard himself say, which was strange, he thought, for he knew his men were prepared.A great cry came from beyond the walls that were punctuated by musket blasts and Mullone readied himself for the guns to leap into action. Mullone felt a tremor. The ground shook and then the first rebels poured through the gates like an oncoming tide. Mullone saw the leading man; both hands gripping a green banner, face contorted with zeal. The flag had a white cross in the centre of the green field and the initials JF below it. John Fitzstephen. Then, there were more men behind him, tens, then scores. And then time seemed to slow.The guns erupted barely twenty feet from them.Later on, Mullone would remember the great streaks of flame leap from the muzzles to lick the air and all of the charging rebels were shredded and torn apart in one terrible instant. Balls ricocheted on stone and great chunks were gouged out by the bullets. Blood sprayed on the walls as far back as the arched gateway, limbs were shorn off and Mullone watched in horror as a bloodied head tumbled down the sloped street towards the barricade.'Jesus sweet suffering Christ!' Cahill gawped at the carnage as the echo of the big guns resonated like a giant's beating heart.Trooper O'Shea bent to one side and vomited at the sight of the twitching, bleeding and unrecognisable lumps that had once been men. A man staggered with both arms missing. Another crawled back to the gate with a shattered leg spurting blood. The stench of burnt flesh and the iron tang of blood hung ripe and nauseating in the oppressive air.One of the low wooden cabins by the wall was on fire. A blast of musketry outside the walls rattled against the stonework and a redcoat toppled backwards onto the cabin's roof as the flames fanned over the wood.'Here they come again! Ready your firelocks! Do not waste a shot!' Johnson shouted in a steady voice as the gateway became thick with more rebels. He took a deep breath. 'God forgive us,' Corporal Brennan said.'Liberty or death!' A rebel, armed with a blood-stained pitchfork, shouted over-and-over.
David Cook
On August 10, 1984, my plane landed in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. There were no skyscrapers here. The blue domes of the mosques and the faded mountains were the only things rising above the adobe duvals (the houses). The mosques came alive in the evening with multivoiced wailing: the mullahs were calling the faithful to evening prayer. It was such an unusual spectacle that, in the beginning, I used to leave the barracks to listen – the same way that, in Russia, on spring nights, people go outside to listen to the nightingales sing. For me, a nineteen-year-old boy who had lived his whole life in Leningrad, everything about Kabul was exotic: enormous skies – uncommonly starry – occasionally punctured by the blazing lines of tracers. And spread out before you, the mysterious Asian capital where strange people were bustling about like ants on an anthill: bearded men, faces darkend by the sun, in solid-colored wide cotton trousers and long shirts. Their modern jackets, worn over those outfits, looked completely unnatural. And women, hidden under plain dull garments that covered them from head to toe: only their hands visible, holding bulging shopping bags and their feet, in worn-out shoes or sneakers, sticking out from under the hems.And somewhere between this odd city and the deep black southern sky, the wailing, beautifully incomprehensible songs of the mullahs. The sounds didn't contradict each other, but rather, in a polyphonic echo, melted away among the narrow streets. The only thing missing was Scheherazade with her tales of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights ... A few days later I saw my first missile attack on Kabul. This country was at war.'s Story
Vladislav Tamarov
Only a few days after my encounter with the police, two patrolmen tackled Alton Sterling onto a car, then pinned him down on the ground and shot him in the chest while he was selling CDs in front of a convenience store, seventy-five miles up the road in Baton Rouge. A day after that, Philando Castile was shot in the passenger seat of his car during a police traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, as his girlfriend recorded the aftermath via Facebook Live.Then, the day after Castile was killed, five policemen were shot dead by a sniper in Dallas. It felt as if the world was subsumed by cascades of unceasing despair. I mourned for the family and friends of Sterling and Castille. I felt deep sympathy for the families of the policemen who died. I also felt a real fear that, as a result of what took place in Dallas, law enforcement would become more deeply entrenched in their biases against black men, leading to the possibility of even more violence.The stream of names of those who have been killed at the hands of the police feels endless and I become overwhelmed when I consider all the names we do not know—all of those who lost their lives and had no camera there to capture it, nothing to corroborate police reports that named them as threats. Closed cases. I watch the collective mourning transpire across my social-media feeds. I watch as people declare that they cannot get out of bed, cannot bear to go to work, cannot function as a human being is meant to function. This sense of anxiety is something I have become unsettlingly accustomed to. The familiar knot in my stomach. The tightness in my chest. But becoming accustomed to something does not mean that it does not take a toll. Systemic racism always takes a toll, whether it be by bullet or by blood clot.
Clint Smith
Telegraph RoadA long time ago came a man on a trackWalking thirty miles with a pack on his backAnd he put down his load where he thought it was the bestMade a home in the wildernessHe built a cabin and a winter storeAnd he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shoreAnd the other travellers came riding down the trackAnd they never went further, no, they never went backThen came the churches, then came the schoolsThen came the lawyers, then came the rulesThen came the trains and the trucks with their loadsAnd the dirty old track was the telegraph roadThen came the mines - then came the oreThen there was the hard times, then there was a warTelegraph sang a song about the world outsideTelegraph road got so deep and so wideLike a rolling river ...And my radio says tonight it's gonna freezePeople driving home from the factoriesThere's six lanes of trafficThree lanes moving slow ...I used to like to go to work but they shut it downI got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be foundYes and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owedWe're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowedAnd the birds up on the wires and the telegraph polesThey can always fly away from this rain and this coldYou can hear them singing out their telegraph codeAll the way down the telegraph roadYou know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nightsWhen life was just a bet on a race between the lightsYou had your head on my shoulder, you had your hand in my hairNow you act a little colder like you don't seem to careBut believe in me baby and I'll take you awayFrom out of this darkness and into the dayFrom these rivers of headlights, these rivers of rainFrom the anger that lives on the streets with these names'Cos I've run every red light on memory laneI've seen desperation explode into flamesAnd I don't want to see it again ...From all of these signs saying sorry but we're closedAll the way down the telegraph road
Mark Knopfler