What Must be Said by Gunter Grass (A Translation)

What must be said

*

Why have I been silent, silent for so long?,

Our generals have gamed it out,

Confident the west will survive.

We people have not even been considered.

What is this right to “preventive war”?

A war that could erase the Iranian people.

Dominated by it’s neighbor, pulsing with righteousness

Smug in the fact that it is they, not Iran,
Who have the Bomb.

Why have I so far avoided to identify Israel by it’s name?,

Israel and it’s ever increasing nuclear arsenal,

Beyond reproach, Uncontrolled, uninspected.

We all know these things

Yet we all remain silent, fearful of being labeled:
anti-Semitic
hateful
worse

Considering Germany’s past these labels stick
So we call is “business”, “reparation” take your pick,

As we deliver yet another submarine.

As we provide to Israel the means to deliver annihilation.

I say what must be said.

Why did I stay silent until now?

Because I’m German, of course.

I’m tainted by a stain I cannot wash out

I’m silent because I want so badly to make it right

To put my sins in the past and leave them silently there.

Why did I wait to say it until now?

And write these words with the last of my ink?

Declaring that Israel threatens world peace?

Because it is true and it must be said,

Tomorrow will be too late.

We Germans now carry a new burden of sin on our shoulders

Through the weapons we have sold

We are helping to carry out this foreseeable tragedy

No excuse will remove our stain of complicity.

It must be said. I won’t be silent

I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy;

Please shed the silence with me,

The consequences are all too predictable.

It’s time to demand free and permanent control
of BOTH Israel’s nuclear arsenal
AND Iran’s nuclear facilities
enforced with international supervision.

It’s the only way, in a land convulsed with insanity,
Israelis, Palestinians, everybody, will survive.

And we too, will survive.

Posted by MzAgams with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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2 Responses to “What Must be Said by Gunter Grass (A Translation)”

  1. Idrico Banderas Says:

    A finely written essay Lesley. In it, Grass manages to ‘own up’ to the sins of the past, and at the same time, unblinkingly warns of the dangers of allowing the victims of yesterday become the culprits of today because of guilt (The original sin syndrome I call it). I was utterly miffed when a group of Israeli writers called for Grass’ Nobel prize to be recalled. Some important questions that readily come to mind are: Why must we be silenced from speaking the truth because of our past wrongs? For how long am I to remain guilty for a past mistake? Does telling a lie take away my moral right to tell the truth? The answers to these questions are very telling in that they expose the embarrassing hypocrisy that characterises the thinking process of our elite intellectuals.

  2. untonyto Says:

    What must be said. Indeed.

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