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Inspired by my time in charge of the BBC's Baghdad bureau between 2004-2009; the antics of my top bosses and the pressures of the job.

Responsibility

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse09 Jun 2014

Don’t believe it involves chauffeur driven cars;
Please try not to confuse it with cascading
Emails of patronising ill-written bollocks;
Don’t suppose it means asking your PA

To pick up your dry-cleaning,
Or creating new layers of lackeydom,
Or paying yourself whatever you like;
Above all, don’t think it involves meetings.

Picture, instead, pacing around a hot and
Dusty office while you wonder
If the people you’ve sent out on a story
Will come back unharmed – or at all;

Imagine directing a cameraman in the pools of
Blood and urine left by a suicide bomber
(“Don’t bother with any close-ups –
We’ll never use the body parts”);

Think of telling him later that there
Just weren’t enough dead
To interest the teatime news;
And listening as he describes

A baby smeared over a pavement
And splashed on a wall;
Then looking him in the eye
And persuading him what we do matters.