Veiled ode to George Bush deleted from Pakistani textbooks


Veiled ode to George Bush deleted from Pakistani textbooks

Alex Kumi Monday December 5, 2005 The Guardian

At first sight it is little more than a poetic polemic about the virtues of an effective leader. But a poem has been removed from school textbooks in Pakistan after it became clear that the first letter of each line spelt out 'President George W Bush'. Penned by an anonymous writer, The Leader embarrassed education officials in the country after it found its way into an English textbook for 16-year-olds.

The 20-line work, which was first printed last year, includes the lines: 'Never back down when he sees what is true/Tells it all straight, and means it all too/Going forward and knowing he's right/Even when doubted for why he would fight.'

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And the poetic description of the ideal leader continues: 'Over and over he makes his case clear/Reaching to touch the ones who won't hear/Growing in strength, he won't be unnerved/Ever assuring he'll stand by his word/Wanting the world to join his firm stand.' The revelation is likely to embarrass Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf, who has been criticised at home for taking what has been perceived to be a pro-American stance in supporting the Bush administration's so-called war on terror.

An official working with the Pakistan Education ministry told the Times of India: 'We have decided to delete the poem from the book, published by the National Book Foundation, and prescribed for federal board students.

'It will be stretching the matter too far to assert that the poem was inserted in the book deliberately to enumerate the qualities of President Bush.'

An investigation has been launched to find out how the work was not spotted by the committees which censor the content of textbooks. It was first printed in A Textbook of English last year after the Pakistani government took the decision to deregulate the publication of textbooks.

The leader

P atient and steady with all he must bear,

R eady to accept every challenge with care,

E asy in manner, yet solid as steel,

S trong in his faith, refreshingly real,

I sn't afraid to propose what is bold,

D oesn't conform to the usual mold,

E yes that have foresight, for hindsight wont do

N ever back down when he sees what is true

T ells it all straight, and means it all too

B racing for war, but praying for peace

U sing his power so evil will cease:

S o much a leader and worthy of trust,

H ere stands a man who will do what he must