White Man’s new burden

The White Man’s new burden is a century-plus later response to Rudyard Kipling’s 1899 original “White Man’s Burden.” Kipling’s poem was an ode to imperialism and formed the justification for the Western ideology of policing the world. In light of our present realities of global conflict, I offered this re-interpretation.


Take up the White Man’s new burden –
let’s say to help the poor;
Lend us your sons and daughters
to fight the endless war.
We’ll say we’re bringing freedom
to the backwards and oppressed;
but preface our intervention
by our personal int’rests.

Take up the White Man’s new burden –
As old friends fall out of line –
Heighten the threat of terror,
and make more heroes shine;
They fought in selfless valor,
the claim leaders’ll vaunt.
While we shed blood and taxes
for a war we didn’t want.

Take up the White Man’s new burden –
Only then can peace be found.
Make regions in our own image,
till time comes for another round;
Friends and foes are ever changing,
while resources remain.
Fret not! When alas we are denied,
the flaws of “the Other” take the blame.

Take up the White Man’s new burden –
No unyielding rule abroad –
But only those who do our will
submissive to our cause;
The new found opposition,
The Western trained expat’
We’ll swoop in bringing shock and awe
Our odyssey begat.

Take up the White Man’s new burden –
Can you hear the pundits squawk?
Wondering why “they” hate us
and why our freedoms “they” want stopped.
The suppos’d humanitarian
having failed to see the light,
Far from being Moses
We’re like Pharaoh in their sight.

Take up the White Man’s new burden –
Embrace his age-old pride!
And let not financial crisis
allow you, your might to hide;
By the strength that we show
By the mere appearances,
The hope of milk and honey
will remain the poor man’s sedative.

Take up the White Man’s new burden –
Expanded in its scope
Sold now to Yellow, Brown & Black
exported as Change and Hope.
Democracy is this despot’s cloak
So blind allegiance must be pledged.
Drink the blood and be ye gods!
Don’t worry ‘bout your end!

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