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Pakistan censors poetic salute to Bush


Last Edited: January 4, 2009, 2:54 pm

An article appeared this morning about how an English textbook in Pakistan had a poem about George Bush, and when the Pakistan government found out that it praised our leader, they had it removed.

The little poem is actually quite good, so I'm going to reprint it here, and the news story about it appears below.

Pakistan censors poetic salute to Bush
By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad

A poem in a school textbook has been removed by embarrassed education officials in Pakistan after it was found that the first letters of each line spelt out "President George W Bush."

The 20-line anonymous poem, The Leader, lists the qualities of "a man who will do what he must" and bears a passing resemblance to Rudyard Kipling's If.

"Ever assuring he'll stand by his word/Wanting the world to join his firm stand/Bracing for war, but praying for peace/Using his power so evil will cease", run typical lines.

An education ministry spokesman said it had no idea who wrote the poem nor how it found its way into A Textbook of English for 16-year-olds last year.

The acrostic is highly embarrassing for President Pervez Musharraf, who is already under fire at home for being allegedly pro-American and supporting the US war against terrorism.

America has even donated money to transform Pakistan's national curriculum into something closer to western ideals.

The result is a much-lampooned US-friendly philosophy called "enlightened moderation" which America has agreed to pay to disseminate in schools.

"We have decided to delete the poem from the book, published by the National Book Foundation and prescribed for federal board students," the spokesman told the Pakistani newspaper The News.

"It will be stretching the matter too far to assert that the poem was inserted in the book deliberately to enumerate the qualities of the American president," he added.

The official said the ministry was investigating how a series of committees employed to monitor and censor the contents of all textbooks failed to notice the acrostic.

The poem would not appear in the next edition of the book, he added.

The book was printed in 2004 for the first time after the government in Islamabad decided to deregulate the publication of textbooks.

Entry #221


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