Saturday, April 14, 2012

What it says–G.Grass. Museo Fashion.

Historically, Chicano and latinoamericano poetry has reflected the political and social history of the times, much as it does today with contributions of latino poets around Arizona's banning of Chicano books and the immigration quagmire aimed at latinos.

So too, for a recent poem by the 1999 Nobel Poet Laureate Günter Grass, which created a heated international debate because of Grass's personal history as a German youth and his country's history under the Nazi Party and Hitler.

In line with La Bloga's cultural mission of supporting literature, our commitment to the dissemination of information, and our abhorrence to censorship, below is a translation of the poem, which many have heard about, but not many have necessarily read.

We leave it to readers to examine the text both for its literary worth, as well as to judge the importance of its political message.

What Must Be Said
[also published in Süddeutsche Zeitung 5 April 2012]

Why have I kept silent, held back so long,
on something openly practiced in
war games, at the end of which those of us
who survive will at best be footnotes?
It's the alleged right to a first strike
that could destroy an Iranian people
subjugated by a loudmouth
and gathered in organized rallies,
because an atom bomb may be being
developed within his arc of power.
Yet why do I hesitate to name
that other land in which
for years—although kept secret—
a growing nuclear power has existed
beyond supervision or verification,
subject to no inspection of any kind?
This general silence on the facts,
before which my own silence has bowed,
seems to me a troubling lie, and compels
me toward a likely punishment
the moment it's flouted:
the verdict "Anti-semitism" falls easily.
But now that my own country,
brought in time after time
for questioning about its own crimes,
profound and beyond compare,
is said to be the departure point,
(on what is merely business,
though easily declared an act of reparation)
for yet another submarine equipped
to transport nuclear warheads
to Israel, where not a single atom bomb
has yet been proved to exist, with fear alone
the only evidence, I'll say what must be said.
But why have I kept silent till now?
Because I thought my own origins,
Tarnished by a stain that can never be removed,
meant I could not expect Israel, a land
to which I am, and always will be, attached,
to accept this open declaration of the truth.
Why only now, grown old,
and with what ink remains, do I say:
Israel's atomic power endangers
an already fragile world peace?
Because what must be said
may be too late tomorrow;
and because—burdend enough as Germans—
we may be providing material for a crime
that is foreseeable, so that our complicity
wil not be expunged by any
of the usual excuses.
And granted: I've broken my silence
because I'm sick of the West's hypocrisy;
and I hope too that many may be freed
from their silence, may demand
that those responsible for the open danger
we face renounce the use of force,
may insist that the governments of
both Iran and Israel allow an international authority
free and open inspection of
the nuclear potential and capability of both.
No other course offers help
to Israelis and Palestinians alike,
to all those living side by side in emnity
in this region occupied by illusions,
and ultimately, to all of us.
--Günter Grass
[Translated by Breon Mitchell]

The 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Günter Grass, "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history."


Fashion of the Americas
at El Museo de las Américas
April 26, 2012, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
861 Santa Fe Dr. Denver, CO
$5/ $15 VIP (includes seating and champagne)

See some of Denver's hottest designers come together for one night only to celebrate the art of fashion. Featuring the talents of Carol Mier, Crystal Sharp, Tina Joliffe, Joie Delores and Joel Parada.

Come for the fashion show, meet the designers and learn what inspires them. Enjoy desserts, drinks, an exclusive trunk show and performance by Central City Opera. Reservations preferred but not required. Contact or 303-571-4401 for more info.

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