A poem from KOSOVO WAR  POETRY  by David Roberts

War Spectacular

From 24 March  to 9 June 1999 millions daily watched the war in Kosovo/Serbia on TV  -  a major historic event, one of the most important events in Europe of the twentieth century, and a matter of deep importance for the twenty-first century.

In a simple visual way the images of refugees seemed to justify the bombing. The scenes assailed us night after night. It all seemed so obvious. The Serbian action played into the hands of NATO politicians who needed to justify their bombing campaign. But it was so misleading  -  as information on this web site shows. 

The events were real, but they had causes which were never explained. The missiles were not simply "humanitarian" missiles. Serbian forces were not simply evil. The refugees were not simply refugees.

It is strange that such an important event should pass so quickly and so completely out of the concerns of the media.

War Spectacular


And here is Kate Adie.
Behind me on this warship you can see
primed for targets five hundred miles distant
the first cruise missiles
to be launched in this campaign.
With a thunderous roar, and right on cue,
the million dollar rockets rise into the night
then arch and head east.
Such fireworks leave us all impressed.

And here we have the refugees, the dispossessed,
a pitiful procession of bewildered humanity,
thousands of them in endless convoy
fleeing from the Serbian terror.
They tell of identity papers
snatched from them by troops at the border
of their homes now looted and torched.
We see, close up, their haunted eyes.
We are moved by the human face of suffering.

And now for the rest of tonight's news.


David Roberts

3 December

Copyright 1999 David Roberts 

* Kate Adie, the BBC Chief News Correspondent, 
was with the US Sixth Fleet for the start of the war. 
She reported the launch of the cruise missiles from an 
American warship in the Adriatic.

Free use for students personal study requirements only. No publication without authorisation.

Kosovo War poetry is published by Saxon Books    ISBN 0 952 8969 2 3   4-99 (UK), Approx $8 (USA)   Available Worldwide

Kosovo War Poetry Index Page

Back to Main Index

More about the book