Monday, August 9, 2010

Other Words

I was moved by an article from Truth-Digg: The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our Tears:  by Chris Hedges.

Chris Hedges said" Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes" Thought provoking article.

Chris Hedges also quoted a poem by the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali  “Revenge”:
"At times ... I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!
But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.
Likewise ... I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.
But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I’d be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge."

The Jewish/Palestinian “middle east” problem, the racist immigration battles currently raging in Arizona and the US, are all indicative of an endemic human problem. Not an illegal problem, a terrorist problem, or an alien problem, a human problem.
We dehumanize our enemies du jour, so that we can create fear to control and perpetuate our own malignant narcissistic agendas – whether as individuals, religions, or nations. Until we put a human face on all our fears, fear will always be our portion.

Here is my poem:

Other Words

Other words we use to excuse
to justify horrific views
to dehumanize and immorally abuse
from aggressive oppressors to the morning news

collateral damage, or a war on terror
not murder or genocide from predatory standard-bearers
shock and awe the cluster-bomb scare-ers
disguised as moral compass bearers

anti-Semitism an oft turned phrase
to hide the genocidal oppression from those that raze
bloodlust justified from the psychopathic crazed
fomenting mindless fury to hasten the end of days

legals, illegals, aliens, wetbacks, terrorists, dropped babies a few
humans treated as dogs foaming with rabies vile rhetoric spews
no longer human not even maybes human refuse
racism disguised by contorted, malignant views

concrete fences that multiply fears
Berlin-istic paranoid oppressive smears
the humans walled out suffer bloodstained tears
humans walled within with hate their conscience sears

pyres of lies stoked with human remains
spin is spun tightly, truth in chains
no mercy, no compassion, just holocaustic flames
oppressed given no quarter, just suffering and pain

clashes that rain ashes we all fall down
ringed state fortresses with boots on the ground
constant aggression make hate propaganda abound
malignant militaristic narcissism enthroned and crowned

euphemisms, cynical syllogisms – words of mass destruction
peace process, closures, walled settlements, border (of)fences – concrete construction
forgotten are the voiceless entombed in silenced obstruction
hate, fear and death a human seduction

peace is not a word, nor truth nor love
they are qualities of being that fear knows not of
hate, greed, genocide, oppression – words humans conceive of
love expects nothing, there is nothing without love


  1. Hedges is terrific. I've been impressed by everything of his that I've read.

  2. Thanks Dogo. A read well worth its weight in words. The inhumanity of humanity seems to negate human beings all together.

  3. Dehumanizing our enemies is a convenient precursor to war and revenge. It is tragic that we tend to hate, persecute or simply attempt to control that which we don't understand. Thanks John for your stirring words and those of Chris Hedges.

  4. Thank you Melanie. You are correct. I'm afraid that large heads seem to only disguise small minds. We seem to have abdicated understanding and settled for our own fears.


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