Social Fiction. They Killed My Mum

Social fiction; the use of stories to create the changes we want to see in this world

In 2013 at the Skoll World Forum, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus gave a powerful talk to hundreds of forum delegates from all around the world. He asked social entrepreneurs to write the possibility of a new future. He pointed out that science follows science fiction, with the fictional images of scientific inventions contributing to the drive to achieve those visions in reality. In describing what he believes is needed to create the changes we want to see in the world, he ask why we don’t have “social fiction.”

Social Fiction

They Killed My Mum; We’re Investigating


The little boy sat amidst the rubble, his dark brown eyes staring unfocussed into the distance. He was perhaps five. His clothes were dusty and streaked with blood though whether that was his own or his parents’ was hard to see, at least at first glance. He wore no shoes. His left hand gripped the hand of a woman that poked out from under a pile of mangled debris. He did not move. Tears no longer flowed down the dried tracks they had made in the grey dust of his face. Occasionally he spoke an almost inaudible, flat monotone, “They killed my Mum”.

A reporter took his picture, looked at the camera display, frowned and moved a little to get a better angle. “The eyes”, he murmured, “I need to focus on his eyes”. He stood up and turned around slowly, surveying the totally destroyed market place yet again. There must have been hundreds of people there trying to go about the ordinary business of staying alive. Now most were dead. Except this little boy.

“Why don’t you move him to hospital?” he asked those standing quietly nearby.

“He won’t let go of his mother’s hand”.

“Can’t you dig her out”?

“Soon. The concrete is too heavy. We have to wait for equipment to arrive.”

US Department of State: Daily Briefings

“The reports that hundreds died yesterday in Sa’dah, Yemen, are wild exaggerations.”

“So, how many did die?”

“Around thirty”

“Does that include that little boy’s Mom?”

“Saudi has acknowledged the bombing but has said that that particular market place is often used by Houthi to buy supplies.”

“Is State going to ask Saudi for more information?”

“We’re investigating.”

“Were the bombs used made in the US?”



The small crowd milled like disturbed ants; they had seen this before, they had done this before, they would see it again, they would do it again. Survivors had to be checked, comforted and taken to hospital. Close relatives clung to the wounded and dead alike, crying with relief or screaming their anguish. One girl, perhaps ten years old stood stock still, ignoring the crowd that streamed around her. One of the crowd, a man whose grey hair and beard was not due to the dust in the air stopped and called out to his wife. “Can you talk with her, help her, give her some comfort?”

“Come. You are welcome in my house, there is food and water. We can wait there for more news.”

“They killed my mother.”

“Perhaps, but we cannot be sure. We can go to the hospital. M’shalla there will be some good news.”

The girl shook her head, her long black hair swirled from side to side, somehow freed by the blasts of exploding bombs from its all confining hajib, . “You don’t understand. They killed by mother.” She turned her dark, fierce, tearless eyes towards the woman. “They killed my mother. They must die.”

US Department of State: Daily Briefings

“We support the actions of Israel when it acts to defend itself. As it must, every day.”

“Does State know who fired the rocket from Gaza?”

“Hamas of course.”

“But there is talk it might have been fired by the Mossad, working under cover.”


“Will it be investigated?”

“There is nothing to investigate.”

East Aleppo

The teenage boy tore frantically at the rubble that had been his family’s home for generations. He heaved one last rock away then sank to his knees. There was no mistaking the clothing despite the stain of dried blood. His mother had worn it many times. Slowly, as if in a trance, he cleared away more rubble and exposed her now pale, lifeless face. Ignoring the gaping hole from which oozed a grey mush that had once been a sparkling, loving brain, he bent down still further and kissed her forehead.

“They have killed my mother.”

“The Russians are sons of camel whores.”

“It was not the Russians this time. The planes were American painted in Russian colours.”

US Department of State: Daily Briefings

“I can announce the Secretary of State is holding discussions about implementing a no fly zone in Syria.”

“Does that mean our planes will attack Russian planes?”

“What it means is that Russia will no longer be able to kill innocent women.”

“A colleague just messaged me to say that US jets painted in Russian colours were involved in the last attack.”

“Your colleague should take care. Aiding the enemy is a serious charge.”

“Does you announcement mean that the Secretary is considering the possibility of war with Russia?”


Hassadjek Village, Near Aleppo

The two clearly marked Belgium F-16 fighter jets streaked away to the north, their mission accomplished. The pilots knew they had been spotted by Russian radar, but no anti-aircraft weapons had switched on, yet alone locked on. They would live to kill another day.

Not so the innocent inhabitants of the village. Men shook their hands at the vanishing planes, women cried out, children stood silently. Some were embraced by tearful parents, other stood alone. Not yet aware they were now orphans.

US Department of State: Daily Briefings

“Russia has deliberately provoked the UK by sailing an aircraft carrier and support destroyers and other vessels through the English Channel. This blatant beating of the Russian war drums must stop.”

“There are witnesses on the ground at Hassadjek who say they clearly identified the jets as being Belgium.”

“The US has joined with Belgium protesting in the strongest terms against the propaganda lies being spread by Russia and its paid spies in Syria.”

“What progress has State made with its consideration of a planned no flight zone in Syria?”

“I am not authorised to give details at this time, but you may be assured that this most recent attack by Russian planes on the innocent village of Hassadjek will not go unpunished.”

“So were they not Belgium planes? Will that be investigated further?”



The reporter could barely conceal the excitement he felt. This was not virtual reality, but real reality. Here he was watching a war play out, people being killed, blown to pieces, shot, burned to death. And it was not on a screen, it was everywhere he looked. There a blown up suicide truck, here a crying child. Through his interpreter he asked, “why do you cry?”.

“They killed my mother.”

Turning back to his camera, “IS will kill anyone.”

“It was not Daesh, it was them,” pointing at the Turkish troops.

“Cut that.”

US Department of State: Daily Briefings

“The heroic efforts by Iraq are making progress in driving IS out of Mosul.”

“Russia is claiming that IS forces are being allowed to leave Mosul and enter Syria.”

“Russia’s brief time of influence in Syria is at an end. The US ambassador to the UN is telling the Security Council right now that as of midnight Washington time the US and its allies will enforce a no fly zone in Northern Syria. Any Russian or Syrian plane or helicopter entering the zone will be destroyed.”

“But that will mean war with Russia!”

“Russia will be taught a lesson, as we speak their aircraft carrier and Syrian based missile system is being destroyed.”


“They have destroyed our aircraft carrier and are attacking our missile bases in Syria.”

“Destroy all US ships in the area and all US and allied planes on the ground or in the air in Syria or close by.”

“Place our defensive missiles on standby; this is no exercise.”

“Give the order, all offensive missiles on land and sea to be armed with nuclear weapons, be targeted and placed on standby.”

“Inform China. What we feared is about to happen. The American Government is truely insane.

The White House

“Russia has retaliated.”

“Good. Now the world will see how ineffective they are against the power of the US and God.”

“But Madam President, they have not been ineffective. They have taken out many of our vessels and planes in the Middle East theatre.”

The President did not try to hide her smile. This was why she had spent years building her power, her riches. This was why she had endured the antics of her rapacious husband. It was all hers. She could, in only four minutes change the destiny of the world. Make America Great again. Destroy its enemies. People would fear her, and by that very fear would be made to love her. To proclaim her as the greatest woman, the greatest president the world have ever known: “for the power and the glory are mine”.

“Destroy Russia. All missiles and bombers will destroy Russia now.”

And with that she pushed the red button and committed billions to their death.

A Remnant of Earth

Ten thousand Hiroshima’s.

Ten thousand Nagasaki’s.

Clouds bloomed like mushrooms after a summer rain.

Dust enveloped all, dimming the sun and moon alike.

In the total silence one weak voice whispered: “They killed my mother, the world.”

US Department of State: Ghost of Daily Briefings


2 thoughts on “Social Fiction. They Killed My Mum”

  1. I am speechless. That is moving and terrifying and written in an original and moving way. Oh dear. My weekend peace destroyed. Must try harder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *