Isn't it interesting that most of the quaint sayings you and I have shared throughout the years all seem to have been turned on their heads?
For example, "Sticks and stones" should be a familiar refrain; yet there are those whose livelihoods have been taken from them for the simple utterance of contrary information. Take this letter to the Editor, Andrew Rosenthal, of the New York Times:
Re “Israel Bars German Laureate Over Poem” (news article, April 9):
Jewish reactions to Günter Grass’s poem “What Must Be Said,” about the nuclear crisis in the Middle East, are excessively defensive. Reading the poem itself is the best way to judge its merits as poetry and as controversial thought-provoking literature.
Mr. Grass is clearly not expressing anti-Semitic remarks. No one doubts his stated and demonstrated support of Israel. Rather than criticizing Mr. Grass’s expression of a political and practical way of reducing the risks of a war in the Middle East, readers should be studying and analyzing the piece, as any other literary piece, especially one designated as poetry.
Mr. Grass juxtaposes his guilt and anguish when addressing the German perpetration of the Holocaust, and has been a major force in compelling Germans to acknowledge it. But this does not commit him to be silent when he composes what, to him, is a way to extinguish an imminent catastrophe.
A reader need not agree with the views Mr. Grass expresses on the nuclear weapon issue. But in Israel, more than in any Middle East country, the right and even the obligation to read and debate his poem should be recognized as a democratic right.
This poem presents no clear or present danger to the security or safety of Israel. Rather, I read it as an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of Israel’s democracy.
New York, April 9, 2012
How about actually reading the poem, rather than the knee-jerk reaction of slings and barbs?
What must be said
Why did I remain silent, silent so long,
about something so clear we used
in war games, where, as survivors,
we are just the footnotes?
That is the claimed right to the formal preventive aggression
which could erase the Iranian people
dominated by a bouncer and moved to an organized jubilation,
because in the area of his competence there is
the construction of the atomic bomb.
And then why do I avoid myself
to call the other country with its name,
where since years -- even if secretly covered -
there is an increasing nuclear power,
without control, because unreachable
by every inspection?
I feel the everybody silence on this state of affairs,
which my silence is slave to,
as an oppressive lie and an inhibition that presents punishment
we don't pay attention to;
the verdict "anti-Semitism" is common.
Now, since my country,
from time to time touched by unique and exclusive crimes,
obliged to justify itself,
again for pure business aims - even if
with fast tongue we call it "reparation" -
should deliver another submarine to Israel,
with the specialty of addressing
annihilating warheads where the
existence of one atomic bomb is not proved
but it wants evidence as a scarecrow,
I say what must be said.
Why did I stay silent until now?
Because the thought about my origin,
burdened by an unclearing stain,
had avoiding to wait this fact
like a truth declared by the State of Israel
that I want to be connected to.
Why did I say it only now,
old and with the last ink:
the nuclear power of Israel
threat the world peace?
Because it must be said
what tomorrow will be too late;
Because - as Germans and with
enough faults on the back -
we might also become deliverers of a predictable
crime, and no excuse would erase our complicity.
And I admit: I won't be silent
because I had enough of the Western hypocrisy;
Because I wish that many will want
to get rid of the silence,
exhorting the cause of a recognizable
risk to the abdication, asking that a free and permanent control
of the Israel atomic power
and the Iran nuclear bases
will be made by both the governments
with an international supervision.
Only in this way, Israelis, Palestinians, and everybody,
all people living hostile face to face in that
country occupied by the craziness,
will have a way out,
so us too.
Translation by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher
I believe that Mr. Grass may be deserving of a second Nobel Prize.
Let me go a step further with the idea of sticks and stones versus words. Do we accept that there are those who can be cajoled into physical action by words alone? Of course, I am referring to those words which do not bear the weight of truth to them.
By that, I mean propaganda.
There may be many "acts on the ground" which may or may not jibe with reality; but let's feel free to discuss them, shall we?
For example, I believe that the rush to World War 3 may be predicated upon a flawed premise.
The Scofield Reference Bible is a fraud, hacked out by a swindler who cheated his own mother-in-law out of her family home and left his first family destitute. I'll let the slideshow detail that information for you.
MSNBC was reported as to have edited a recording of the 9/11 call made by George Zimmerman with the intention of promoting racial emnity, a bit of propaganda that was quickly revealed to be without any basis in fact. Was this just an "accident", as purported by the associated MSNBC staff?
Think about how long it took for for the disinformation regarding the hit-and-run upon Gavin Cato that sparked the Crown Heights riot that took the life of Yankel Rosenbaum. That whole morass could have been nipped in the bud before its inception.
Sticks and stones, they say.
I can, however, happily report that there is one saying that seems to have stood the test of time, and that saying is:
"The grass is greener of the other side."