And this poem is still so, so necessary!

October 2018
I feel this poem is more important than ever and I feel like I need to shout it louder than ever!
September 2017
I am working on a post about 50 translated poets and writer’s everybody should have read before they are 50 one of which I chose to be Wolfgang Borchert. He was a German author and playwright who fought WWII as a soldier and passed away shortly afterwards. He wrote one of the most powerful anti-war poems and I believe it is more important than ever.
I have taken this translation by Ryan Wilcox from Rereadinglives.co.uk:
“Then There is Only One Thing to Do”. (A very powerful anti war poem, universal in power)
 
By Wolfgang Borchert
Translated by Ryan Wilcox. (Placed in public domain by Ball State University)
 
You. Man at the machine and man in the workshop. If they order you
tomorrow to stop making water pipes and cook pots and start
making helmets and machine guns, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Girl behind the counter and girl at the office. If they order
you tomorrow to fill hand grenades and mount scopes on sniper rifles,
then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Factory owner. If they order you tomorrow, to sell gun powder
instead of talcum powder and cocoa, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Researcher in the laboratory. If they order you tomorrow, to
invent a new death to do away with old life, then there’s only one
thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Poet in your room. If they order you tomorrow not to sing
love songs, but songs of hate, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Doctor at the sick bed. If they order you tomorrow to certify
men as fit for war, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Minister in the pulpit. If they order you tomorrow to bless
murder and praise war as holy, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Captain on the steamer. If they order you tomorrow not to
transport wheat but cannons and tanks, then there’s only one
thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Pilot at the airfield. If they order you tomorrow to carry
bombs and incineraries over cities, then there’s only one thing to
do:
Say NO!
You. Tailor at your table. If they order you tomorrow to start
sewing uniforms, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Judge in your robe. If they order you tomorrow to report to
the military court, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Man at the train station. If tomorrow they order you to
give the signal for the ammunition and the troop trains to
depart, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Man in the village and man in the city. If they come for
you tomorrow and with your induction papers, then there’s
only one thing to do:
Say NO!
You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, you, mother
in Frisco and London, you, on the banks of the Huang Ho and the
Mississippi, you, mother in Nepal and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo –
mothers in all regions on earth, mothers all over the world, if
they order you tomorrow to bear children – nurses for military
hospitals and new soldiers for new battles, mothers all over the
world, then there’s only one thing to do:
Say NO! Mothers, say NO!
Because if you don’t say NO, if YOU don’t say no, mothers, then;
then:
In the noisy port cities, hazy with steam, the large groaning ships
will grow silent, and like titanic, mammoth corpses, filled with
water, they will lethargically totter against the lifeless, lonely,
algae-, seaweed-, and shell-covered walls of the docks, the body
that previously appeared so gleaming and threatening now reaking
like a foul fish cemetery, rotten, sickly and dead –
the streetcars will be senselessly bent and dented like dull,
glass-eyed birdcages and lie like petals beside the confused, steel
skeletons of the wires and tracks, behind rotten sheds with holes
in their roofs, in lost, crater-strewn streets –
a mud-gray, heavy, leaden silence will roll in, voracious
and growing in size, will establish itself in the schools and
universities and theaters, on sport fields and children’s playgrounds,
horrible and greedy and unstoppable –
the sunny, juicy grapes will spoil on the neglected slopes, the rice
will dry up in the desolate earth, the potatoes will freeze in the
plowed fields and the cows will stretch their dead, rigid legs into
the sky like upturned milking stools –
in the institutions, the ingenious inventions of the great physicians
will become sour, rot, mold into fungus –
the last sacks of flour, the last jars of strawberries, the pumpkins
and the cherry juice will spoil in the kitchens, chambers and cellars,
in the cold storage lockers and storage areas – the bread under the
upturned tables and on splintered plates will become green and the
melted butter will smell like soft soap, the grain on the fields will
have bent down to the earth alongside rusty ploughs like a defeated army,
and the smoking, brick chimneys, the food and smokestacks of the stamping
factories, covered by eternal grass, will crumble, crumble, crumble –
then the last human being, clueless with slashed intestines and
polluted lungs, will wander alone under the poisonous, glowing sun and
vacillating constellations, wander lonely among immense mass graves and
cold idols of the gigantic, concrete-block, deserted cities, the
last human being, scrawny, mad, blasphemous, complaining – and his
terrible complaint: WHY? will trickle away unheard into
the steppe, waft through the burst ruins and die out in the rubble of
churches, slap against impenetrable bunkers, fall into pools of blood,
unheard, answerless, the last animal-like cry of the last animal human being – 
all of this will come about, tomorrow, tomorrow perhaps, perhaps
already tonight, if – if – if – you don’t
say NO.
This is an audio version of the poet himself reciting this poem in German:

We still want peace/ Wir wollen immer noch Frieden

September 2018

 

Wow, I just found one of my oldest posts I still have in my archives. This video and Emmanuel Jal’s mission to bring peace not only to his country but to all the world was very important to me then. It still is and I believe it is more important than ever. Please enjoy a very old post 🙂

 

December 2010

 

This morning I got a twitter message from Alicia Keys featuring Emmanuel Jal who was a child soldier and is a musician now. I just can not get enough of his song “We want peace. . He started the campaign WE WANT PEACE to help prevent another genocide in Sudan.

So please spread the word about the campaign, download the video (on the bottom right side of the page) and pass it on to friends and family and follow Emmanuel on Twitter, Facebook etc. (* I think they do not share the video anymore)

War is a difficult subject for me as I come from a country that has caused war on two occasions in Europe.
I have been raised both on my family’s side and by my schooling to see war as no solution to anything at all. As a social worker, I have been working with elderly women who started to remember the horrifying experiences of fleeing, being raped, bombed and losing everything. Their suffering both when it happened and years afterwards still touches me. My granny just starts talking about her experiences of being forced to work in a weapon factory in her teenage years with highly toxic substances that cause her health problems even now.
Comparing the experiences of the common people both in Germany and England I have learned that there is no difference. In the end, it is the common people who pay with the whole of their lives for the lies that politicians spread to be able to cause war or to end war. We all pay for it and the weapons get worse so we pay worse. It is time to say NO!

On the other hand, this campaign is such an effective but low-cost advertising for Emmanuel Jal’s Video and CD. It will be a great success as people want peace and so many pass it on. That gives me a bitter taste of the whole thing.

But for me, the cause is more important and I think it is great that VIP’s use their influence to fight against the many evils that make this world a bad place to be. They have the power to make these things public and to do something. And for me, it is crucial to do something even if it is a little.
My ancestors have been asked:” Why haven’t you done anything?” I want to be able to answer that question with: “I have!”

 

September 2018

 

Wow, ich habe gerade einen meiner aeltesten Beitraege in meinen Archiven gefunden. Dieses Video und Emmanuel Jal’s Mission Frieden nicht nur zu seinem eigenen Land sondern zur ganzen Welt zu bringen war mir damals sehr wichtig. Sie ist mir immer noch wichtig und ich glaube es ist wichtiger als jemals zuvor. Bitte geniesst diesen sehr alten Beitrag 🙂

 

Dezember 2010

 

Heute morgen habe ich eine Nachricht auf Twitter von Alicia Keys bekommen, die mir Emmanuel Jal, der ein Kinder Soldat war und nun ein Musiker ist, empfohlen hat. Ich kann einfach nicht genug von seinem Lied “We want Peace”bekommen. Er hat die Kampagne WE WANT PEACE gestartet, die versucht, einen weiteren Genozid im Sudan, zu verhindern. Bitte gebt die Links zur  Kampagne, zum download des video’s (am unteren rechten Rand der Seit) weiter und folgt Emmanuel auf Twitter,Facebook ect. ( * Ich denke sie teilen das Video nicht mehr)

 

Krieg ist ein schwieriges Thema fuer mich, da ich von einem Land komme, das zweimal Krieg ueber Europa gebracht hat.

 

Ich bin beides von meiner Familie und von der Schule dazu erzogen worden, dass Krieg keine Loesung ist. Als Sozialarbeiterin habe ich mit aelteren Frauen gearbeitet, die die Traumas von Flucht, vergewaltigt werden, Bomben und alles verlieren erlebt haben. Deren Leiden damals und dann Jahre spaeter beruehrt mich immer noch tief. Meine Oma faengt gerade erst an, ueber ihre Erfahrungen zu sprechen, die sie als Teenager machte als sie in einer Waffenfabrik arbeiten musste. Sie war hochtoxischen Substanzen ausgesetzt, die ihr immer noch gesundheitlich zu schaffen machen.

 

Wenn ich die Erfahrungen der einfachen Leute in Grossbritannien und Deutschland vergleiche finde ich, dass sie exakt die gleichen sind. Am Ende sind es immer die einfachen Leute, die mit ihrem ganzen Leben fuer die Luegen bezahlen muessen, die Politiker waehlen, um Krieg zu beginnen oder zu beenden. Es sind wir, die dafuer bezahlen und die Waffen werden schlimmer und so muessen wir mehr bezahlen. Es ist Zeit “NEIN!” zu sagen.

 

Auf der anderen Seite ist diese Kampagne eine sehr guenstige und effektive Werbung fuer Emmanuel Jal’s Video und CD.Es wird ein grosser Erfolg sein, weil die Menschen Frieden wollen und viele es weiterleiten werden.  Das gibt mir dem Ganzen einen bitteren Beigeschmack.

 

Aber ich denke der Grund ist wichtiger und ich finde es gut, dass Beruehmtheiten ihren Einfluss geltend machen, um gegen die schlechten Dinge zu kaempfen, die die Welt einen boesen Platz machen. Sie haben die Macht, Dinge bekannt zu machen und etwas zu aendern. Und fuer mich ist es wichtig etwas zu aendern auch wenn es nur ein wenig ist.

 

Meine Vorfahren wurden gefragt:” Warum hast Du nichts getan?” Ich will die Frage mit “Ich habe etwas getan!” beantworten.