Из искры возгорится пламя – From a spark the fire will flare up, Alexander Odoevsky

Only one thing to do, say NO!

Wolfgang Borchert
Then There’s Only One Thing To Do! (1947)
Translated by Ryan Wilcox

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 plows 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 inpenetratable 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.

Poem was taken from WP blog, Antiwar literary and philosophical selections

 

 

Today every human being should be Bertolt Brecht

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Bertolt Brecht, is described as German poet, playwright and theater director. His works are recognized and rewarded with respect for internationally. He is the founder of “dialectical theater”. Brecht is defined himself as “communist”.

Here, some of his works,

………

I see the system. Its surface
Has long been known, but not the inner workings.
I see some people, a few on top and many down below,
and those on top shout down to those below: Come up, then all
of us will be on top.
But if you look closely
You’ll see a hidden something
Between the ones on top and those below.
It looks like a path, but no, it’s not a path.
More like a plank, and now you see it plainly,
it’s a seesaw. That’s it. This whole.

System’s a seesaw with two ends
Depending on each other.
Those on top are where they are because the others
are down below.
And they will stay up top only so long as the others stay down.
They’d be on top no longer if the others, leaving their
old place, came up.
And so it is that those on top inevitably want those below to
stay there for all eternity and never rise.
And anyway, there have to be more people down below
than up on top to keep the seesaw in position,
that’s why the whole system is a seesaw.
(Brecht 1931)
……
One of the quote from his opinions about capitalism and fascism:
“Those who are against fascism without being against capitalism, who lament over the barbarism that comes out of barbarism, are like people who wish to eat their veal without slaughtering the calf. They are willing to eat the calf, but they dislike the sight of blood. They are easily satisfied if the butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat. They are not against the property relations which engender barbarism; they are only against barbarism itself. They raise their voices against barbarism, and they do so in countries where precisely the same property relations prevail, but where the butchers wash their hands before weighing the meat.”
……
A Worker’s Speech to a Doctor…
We know what makes us ill.
When we’re ill word says
You’re the one to make us well
For ten years, so we hear
You learned how to heal in elegant schools
Built at the people’s expense
And to get your knowledge
Dispensed a fortune
That means you can make us well.
Can you make us well?
When we visit you
Our clothes are ripped and torn
And you listen all over our naked body.
As to the cause of our illness
A glance at our rags would be more
Revealing. One and the same cause wears out
Our bodies and our clothes.
The pain in our shoulder comes
You say, from the damp; and this is also the cause
Of the patch on the apartment wall.
So tell us then:
Where does the damp come from?
Too much work and too little food
Make us weak and scrawny.
Your prescription says:
Put on more weight.
You might as well tell a fish
Go climb a tree
How much time can you give us?
We see: one carpet in your flat costs
The fees you take from
Five thousand consultations
You’ll no doubt protest
Your innocence. The damp patch
On the wall of our apartments
Tells the same story.
Bertolt Brecht
…….
Another quote of his opinions:
“injustice does not justify, if those who fought against them have fallen down.
because our defeat, only proves of the our numbers of fighting against dishonor, only it proves we’re few in number..
and we expect from the remaining who stayed in quiet,
they should feel ashamed.”
……
And the last one;
“Who didn’t unite against the fascism, they would meet in the dungeon of fascism.”
……
While I was examining this great human being, I’ve realized Brecht’s works made me feel very rebellious and kind of stormy in Turkish and in Russian. I guess this was about my English lack. And, I am wondering if I knew the German language, what would I feel?:)

 

“…however and wherever we’re, we must live as we will never die…” Nazim Hikmet

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On living

Living is no laughing matter
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
You must take living seriously,
I mean so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people
even for people whose faces you have never seen,
even though you know living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you’ll plant olive trees
and not for your children, either
but because although you fear death you don’t believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

2
Let’s say we are seriously ill, need surgery
which is to say we might not get up
from the white table.
Even though it’s impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we’ll still laugh at the Bektasi jokes being told,
we’ll look out the window to see if it’s raining,
or still wait anxiously
for the latest political reports.
Let’s say we are at the front
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
We’ll know this with a curious anger,
but we’ll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which could last years.
Let’s say we’re in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years, say,
before the iron doors will open.
we might fall on our face, dead.
I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
we must live as if we will never die…

3
This earth will grow cold, a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day.
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space.
You must grieve for this right now
you have to feel this sorrow now
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to be able say “I lived”…

1947-1948, Nazim Hikmet Ran

Turkish communist poet Nazim Hikmet Ran (1902-1963)