The Great Escape
Miller Caldwell Camp Manger at Mundihar NWFP Pakistan 2005-2006.
The Danish cartoon caused the pain
An offence abounding beyond their shores
As I sat covered in a Pakistani car
As voices urged to kill a Dane.
Their anger boiled to boiling over
We moved so slowly at knife point
“Where’s the Dane?” they asked the goffer.
‘”No Dane here,” said the frightened driver.
I dare not move under anxious feet
Blanket covered, despite the heat
At last we sped out of the town
“Mundihar is next,” I had to groan.
Mon Dieu. Mon Dieu la vie est la
Simple et tranquille
Cette paisible rumeur la
Viens de la ville.
The car slowed down the mob approached
I heard them say they had a rope.
The Holy Quraan place on the seat
Gave promise of an eager hope.
Inch by inch we made our way
Still breathing hot and sticky air
Until we reached the Earthquake camp
More friendly faces to greet me there.
‘Salaam Alaikum, you made it Miller’
‘Alikuum Salaam,’ I replied in a dither.
‘But tell me from where you came?’
‘I think you think, we’re all the same.’
Dumfries is a border town on the Nith
Doonhamers, just like kin and kith.’
“So you are not a Dane, it is fair to say?”
‘No but can I get back to base today?’
“We’ll hatch a plan to get you back
By varying the time we travel.
Work on till dark then pack your pack
Your safety is in peril’
And so it was each morn and night
The journey was an effort
As I lay hidden in the car
Tied up and almost tethered.
I hold no grudge no pain nor fault
They saw my life in danger
It was the price I had to pay
For being a helping stranger.
This is an account of the aftermath of the Danish Cartoon riots in the NWFP of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan where I was sent to be the Camp Manager at Mundihar but was given a room to stay at Manserah. The 12 mile journey each day was the locus of this poem. For a fuller account and my confrontation with Usama bin Laden, you can read about it in my diary entitled 7 Point 7 on the Richer scale or in my autobiography Untied Laces.