Monday, September 08, 2008

The Last Days of Humankind 4

Today is Monday, 8 September 2008.

But rest assured: You didn’t die in vain!

You died that every human right and value might be betrayed for profit, that every child in every womb might be consecrated to the sword, that every mother, daughter, sister, and wife might be armoured in gas masks, that every church bell might be melted to cannon, and shrapnel everywhere served as sacrament.

My friends, you were armed but did not revolt. You were armed, but couldn’t bring yourselves to desert the trenches of your Homeland’s dishonour, for the honour of liberating yourselves and us. Had you forgotten us, trapped like you between lies and fear, hunger and disease? Did you care the less for us, who had only one question: in the name of God and humanity, what could you have become, if you returned to us?

Comrades! Friends! Buddies! Pals!

Shall you not now, at long last, rise up from hero’s deaths, from battlefield graves, rise up far behind the lines where your commanders make merry? Rise up, your mangled faces of youth and spring frozen now forever in winter, rise up in their dreams?

Today, they sent you to die: tonight, they send for their whores.

Comrades! Friends! Buddies! Pals!

Won’t you save us from rulers whose peace is a plague, from misleaders whose greed turns green fields red and every mother’s hair white?

The enemy before you, the Homeland behind your back, the eternal sky above you: and you, enduring like a brief candle, only to die like sheep or cattle.

My comrade, friend, buddy, pal, died in field hospital. My last letter was returned, stamped “Moved. Address Unknown”.

Awake, you dead! Awake, demanding back your precious heads and blood and breath and tears and love and laughter! Awake, you dead, and show your masters what you are now! Awake, and show them men they can no longer command!

J’Accuse! J’Accuse! J’Accuse!

But I accuse them not only of your deaths. I accuse, condemn, and damn them eternally for your lives, for the years of animal living beneath the earth, for that last, prolonging moment when the animal within you confronted the animal outside you, and the man, once so human as yourself, drove home the bayonet in you, in a thousand trenches, in a hundred thousand homes, in ten million lives.

Now all our easy sleep, food, drink, joy, and dying safe at home seem crime and sin.

Time can obscure essential truths. Memory can be made to excuse the greatest evils. Yet who could even hope the future might misunderstand our crimes or imagine me a liar in my play?

TO BE CONCLUDED

2 Comments:

Anonymous Shahrazad said...

Weepy and weary on the installment plan. Why didn't I think of that?

3:53 PM  
Anonymous rtr said...

Because it would require compassion?

12:21 AM  

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