Senin, 09 April 2012

WHAT MUST BE SAID by Gunther Grass

Poetry by eighty-four year-old Germans is rarely read by anyone, however Gunther Grass's WHAT MUST BE SAID has reaped the Nobel Prize winner a firestorm of condemnation from Israel and Germany. The Israeli interior minister went so far as to declare the writer of THE TIN DRUM 'persona non grata' and demand that Norway stripped the novelist of his award for literature.The poem criticized both the Fatherland and the Mideast nation for endangering world peace through an arms race designed to attack Iran. Few people have read the poem, so here it is.Make your own judgment.WHAT MUST BE SAIDWhat is obvious and has beenPracticed in war games, at the end of which we as survivorsAre at best footnotes.It is the alleged right to the first strikeThat could annihilate the Iranian people—Subjugated by a loud-mouthAnd guided to organized jubilation—Because in their sphere of power,It is suspected, a nuclear bomb is being built.Yet why do I forbid myselfTo name that other countryIn which, for years, even if secretly,There has been a growing nuclear potential at handBut beyond control, because not accessible to inspections?The universal concealment of these facts,To which my silence subordinated itself,I sense as an incriminating lieAnd coercion--the punishment is promisedAs soon as it is ignored;The verdict of “anti-Semitism” is familiar.Now, though, because in my countryWhich time and again has sought and confrontedIts very own crimesThat is without comparisonIn turn on a purely commercial basis, if alsoWith nimble lips calling it a reparation, declaresA further U-boat should be delivered to Israel,Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existenceOf a single atomic bomb is unproven,But fear wishes to be of conclusive evidence,I say what must be said.But why have I stayed silent until now?Because I thought my origin,Afflicted by a stain never to be expungedForbade this fact as pronounced truthTo be told to the nation of Israel, to which I am boundAnd wish to stay bound.Why do I say only now,Aged and with my last ink,The nuclear power Israel endangersThe already fragile world peace?Because it must be saidWhat even tomorrow may be too late to say;Also because we--as Germans burdened enough--Could become suppliers to a crimeThat is foreseeable, wherefore our complicityCould not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses.And granted: I am silent no longerBecause I am tired of the West’s hypocrisy;In addition to which it is to be hopedThat this will free many from silence,Appeal to the perpetrator of the recognizable dangerTo renounce violence andLikewise insistThat an unhindered and permanent controlOf the Israeli nuclear potentialAnd the Iranian nuclear sitesBe authorized through an international agencyBy the governments of both countries.Only this way are all, the Israelis and Palestinians,Even more, all people, that in thisRegion occupied by maniaLive cheek by jowl among enemies,And also us, to be helped.THE ENDIt certainly doesn't sound like Robert Frost's A ROAD NOT TAKEN, but I don't write poetry any more and I don't have any plans to visit Israel in the future.And I'm sure that neither does Gunther Grass.Nu?

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