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“Suez” 1

Du Bois was an accomplished poet. Many of his poems were political in nature and supported his belief that artistic creations should be propagandist in nature and serve the purpose of social advancement. This was certainly the case in his 1956 poem “Suez,” which challenges European and American colonialism and which calls for Egypt and other nations to pursue their freedom and independence. Young Egypt rose and seized her ditch And said: “What’s mine is mine!” Old Europe sneered and cried: “The bitch Must learn again to whine!” The British lion up and roared But used his nether end Which raised a stink and made men shrink As world peace seemed to rend. Dull Dulles rushed about the world, His pockets full of gold. Ike sadly left his game of golf And talked as he was told: “Lord God! Send Peace and Plenty down And keep on drafting men. Send billions east and so at least No income tax shall end.” 228 Adlai essays with polished phrase To say the same thing less And prove without a shade of doubt Both parties made this mess. The campaign’s done and Ike has won, We spent ten millions for the fun. Meantime it would be well to note How many million did not vote. *Young Israel raised a mighty cry: “Shall Pharaoh ride anew?”But Nasser grimly pointed West, “They mixed this witches ‘brew!” Big Three are shouting long and loud; United Nations boil; Big Business raves: “Drop on these waves A million tons of oil!” With whites withdrawn, the traffic runs As it has run before. But white folk fumed and pointed out Red pilots from the shore. Old Britain would be great again With war on Earth, bad will to men! But France would civilise the dead And make the black Sahara red. Greed splits the West and hatreds swell To rebuild, race and color pride, Where Moses and Mohammed died And Jesus Christ was crucified. Israel as the West betrays Its murdered, mocked, and damned, Becomes the shock troop of two knaves Who steal the dark man’s land. Beware, white world, that great black hand Which Nasser’s power waves Grasps hard the concentrated hate Of myriad million slaves. 229 The Soviets in blood and tears Have made their socialism strong The West quite frantic in its fears Has tried to stamp it to the ground. This cannot be, it’s but the sight Of private capital’s sad plight. Fear makes America feel free To buy revolt in Hungary. For eastward trumpets sing the song, The rising sun calls loud and long. All Africa lifts high its head, And sees all Asia burning Red!