בית קשב‏ > ‏כתבים‏ > ‏

Let Us speak Out For Man


Let Us Speak Out For Man

/ M. Zohar, January 2011 / translated by Issy Gershon  

 

It has happened, it is happening, it shall happen –

So now's the time and here's the place

To speak out for man.

 

*           *           *

 

The situation here and now is neither a rehearsal nor a repetition,

It is not what has already been –

Things are clear even without comparing them to other, dark and infamous, places:

We are on the verge of an abyss and an evil spirit is hovering over the earth;

The sun still shines, the loquat still flowers –

While the clouds of terror condense and multiply.

 

And we are unwilling to believe – “It won’t happen to us”, so we deny;

(But it is already happening! – And it is real, it is no play! –

And what else must happen for us to agree to look plainly and see?)

And “The situation could be worse – it’s not so terribly bad”,

Soothe the analysts; and the compromisers collaborate –

Distribute decrees of appeasement, solicit and incite to consent,

Making kosher, and apparently purifying every horror and every crime:

 

“We’re not really like that – we simply have no alternative”;

“Look – that’s what everyone does!”;

“It’s either us or them”, and ‘They’ are never ‘Us’ –

'They' are the aliens, the ‘Them’ of every color and name;

And so ‘We’ and ‘Them’ fight, inflict injury and get hurt,

Time and again forever right, a dead end:

 

 

 “With blood and fire, sperm and womb, we shall invade and conquer and purify”

Thus ‘Us’, as well as ‘Them’; “We have the right!”, “It serves them right!”

Thus speak the possessors of the Holy Word, based on a promise,

With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, demand the right of return

And settlement in the Land of the Forefathers ("ours, not theirs")

Confiscating and disinheriting, uprooting and blocking and oppressing,

Shooting and stabbing and trampling; supervising and governing and policing,

Prosecuting and judging, blaming and justifying and punishing and avenging –

According to the law of the idols that we have created in our own image

(and absolutely not in the image of others.)

 

*           *           *

 

Here and now we are together alive,

And there is no escaping the actions’ consequences –

As we do to others, so we hurt ourselves:

 

It is the same discrimination, the same hatred, it is the message of darkness;

These are the same complexes – patronizing and victimizing;

The same fear and ignorance unsettling and paralyzing,

Exploding in our faces and castrating the heart and spilling the guts;

The same violence and obtuseness, fanaticism and corruptness,

Imperiousness and ruthlessness, isolationism and suspiciousness –

There is no human and no home that they pass over.

 

*           *           *

 

First they hurt others –

And I did not speak out, because I am merely me;

 

------ First they hurt the Arabs;

And then the foreign workers and the refugees,

And the homosexuals and all those who are not kosher enough –

The reporters and the columnists, and the lecturers and the artists,

And the charity workers and the protestors,

And the peace activists and the human rights advocates;

And all those who deviate and do not obey

The voice of the multitude, the people’s say,

As decided by the government of terror, the reign of prejudice,

Unanimous against everyone possible ------

 

And then they hurt me –

And there was no one left, to speak for me.

 

First I did not speak out, because I am merely me;

And then there was no one left, to speak for me.

 

*           *           *

 

Let us speak out for man,

In every place while still there is man –

Hear Israel – Hear Ishmael – Hear ---

 

Every man is human,

Every man is responsible for the whole world –

I am we, we are all of life;

 

And where there's no man, let us be human –

Now, because tomorrow's too late –

Man to man, humane.

 

(*) “… I didn't speak out …” – based on Martin Niemöller’s words.

 

 

 

*           *           *           *           *           *

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”

 

[From "Invisible Cities" / by Italo Calvino / translated from the Italian by William Weaver]

 

[Please help distribute this text, in whole or in part,

to whomever and in any manner you deem fit]