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Ballad of Jean Charles
Jean Charles de Menezes
a Brazilian working man
came to London to find a job,
give his family hope back home.
He came from a place called Gonzaga,
he grew up on a farm,
he wanted to go to America,
ended up working in Britain.
He was an electrician by trade
working lawfully at the time,
lived in flats in Tulse Hill:
three stories, a block of nine.
A diligent worker, responding to a call,
he made his way that July day;
the whole city in a smog of panic
because of failed bombings a day previously.
A bus to Brixton, the station was shut,
another to Stockwell, into the station,
walking slowly till he saw his train
and to catch it, like everyone, he ran.
Meanwhile, the police were anxious
to nab those behind the bombing plot
and a man Osman, lived in the same flats,
was one suspect they were desperate to get.
With no proper photo to identify
one surveillance officer, an undercover soldier
(most likely a member of the SAS)
in charge of a camera, went to relieve himself.
So it was, under this man's suspicion,
a pursuit of Jean Charles began,
with command HQ then insisting
he must be stopped before the station.
Three surveillance officers following him
were convinced they had the right man,
they noted he had 'Mongolian eyes':
firearm police were sent to the scene.
They never halted him before he entered,
never challenged him as they claimed,
given names like spies in a Bond film,
they fired seven shots at close range.
Jean Charles de Menezes
sitting on a tube-train bound for Kilburn,
blasted with illegal 'hollow point' bullets:
his skull shattered, his brain blown.
It was like 'shoot-to-kill' in N. Ireland:
a boy in a barn at the wrong time,
the backfiring of a fatal exhaust,
a car driven through a checkpoint too fast.
Commissioner Sir Ian Blair lied on TV
saying Jean Charles had been warned,
that he'd attempted to run away,
vaulting the barriers, acting suspiciously.
Just as in N. Ireland, many people here
assumed he must have been guilty,
that police or soldiers couldn't commit murder
and only some called for a proper Inquiry.
In Gonzaga, the family of Jean Charles
were full of grief and anger
at the lies of police, loss of a relation
on an innocent journey across London.
Commissioner Blair was questioned, never punished,
Commander Cressida in charge of the operation
soon went on to gain promotion,
no officers appeared in the dock for murder.
Flowers and vigils at Stockwell station,
a demo to MI6 turned back by the police
and the body of de Menezes
flown to Brazil, but not resting in peace.
Flowers go brown and ink runs
but the memory's still so strong,
of Jean Charles de Menezes,
killed by the State on a train.