On 18 May 1994, five Nepali soldiers serving with the United Nations contingent in Mogadishu were killed by Somali gunmen, and one was later abducted from hospital.
The gurkha with a khukri
But no enemy
Works for the United Nations
And yet gets shot at
In missions he doesn’t comprehend
Order is hukum, hukum is life
Johnny Gurkha still dies under foreign skies
He never asks why
Politics isn’t his style.
He’s fought against all and sundry:
Turks, Tibetans, Italians and Indians
Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and
Loyalty to the utmost
Never fearing a loss.
The loss of a mother’s son
From the mountains of Nepal.
Her grandpa died in Burma
For the glory of the British.
Her husband in Mesopotemia,
She knows not against whom
No one did tell her.
Her brother fell in France,
Against the Teutonic hordes.
She prays to Shiva of the Snows for peace
And her son’s safety
Her only joy, her only hope
Farming on a terraced slope.
A son who helped wipe her tears
And ease the pain in her mother’s heart.
A frugal mother who lives by the seasons
And peers down to the valleys
Year in and year out
In expectation of her soldier son.
A smart gurkha is on the way
Heard from across the hill with a shout
‘Tis an officer with his batallion.
A letter with a seal and poker-face
“Your son died on duty,” he says
“Keeping peace for the country and the
A world crumbles down
And comes to an end
A lump in the Nepali mother’s throat
She cannot utter a word.
Gone is her son,
Her precious jewel.
Her only insurance and sunshine
In the craggy hills.
And with him her dreams
A Spartan life that kills.