[Fwd: poem by Galeano]

Michael Yates mikey+ at SPAMpitt.edu
Tue Dec 21 09:28:05 MST 1999

Here is a poem for the millennium by E.Galeano.

michael yates


Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 14:03:28 -0500 (EST)
From: "John P. Lacny" <jplst15+ at pitt.edu>
Subject: poem by Galeano

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 22:56:14 -0800
From: Michael Eisenscher <meisenscher at igc.org>
Subject: poem by Galeano

 >Eduardo Galeano
 >The new millennium is just around the corner.
 >Nothing to take too seriously:
 >After all, the year 2001 of the Christians
 >is the year 1379 of the Muslims,
 >the year 5114 of the Mayas
 >and the year 5762 of the Jews.
 >The new millennium is born on the 1st of January
 >thanks to a whim of the senators of the Roman Empire,
 >that one good day decided to break the tradition
 >that called for celebrating newyears at the beginning of Spring.
 >And the counting of years in the Christian era
 >comes from another whim:
 >One good day, the Pope in Rome decided to set a date to the birth of Jesus
 >although nobody really knows when he was born.
 >Time makes fun of the limits we invent for it
 >so as to make us believe that it (time) obeys us.
 >But the whole world celebrates and fears those limits.
 >It's just an invitation: millennia come and millennia go,
 >and the occasion is ripe for orators of inflamed speeches
 >to tell us about the fate of humanity,
 >and for doomsday preachers to announce the end of the world
 >and general chaos.
 >Meanwhile, time continues silently to tick towards eternity and mystery.
 >The truth is that nobody can resist: on a date like this one,
 >as arbitrary as it may be, we all feel the temptation
 >to ask ourselves how will the time that will be be.
 >And God knows how it will be.
 >We have only one certainty: in the 21st century, if we are still around,
 >we all will be people from last century, and worse,
 >we will be people from the last millennium.
 >Even if we cannot guess the time that will be,
 >we do at least have the right to imagine the time we want to be.
 >In 1948 and in 1976, the UN proclaimed long lists of human rights.
 >But most of humanity just has the right to see, to hear. and to remain
 >What about if we begin to practice the never proclaimed right to dream?
 >What about if we hallucinate for a short while?
 >Let's stare beyond infamy, let's guess another, possible world:
 >The air will be free of all poisons that come from human fears and passions;
 >on the streets, the cars will be squashed by dogs;
 >people will not be driven by the automobile,
 >nor will they be programmed by computers,
 >nor will they be bought by supermarkets,
 >nor will they be watched by television sets;
 >the TV set will cease being the most important member of the family,
 >and will be treated like the washing machine or the iron;
 >people will work to live instead of live to work;
 >penal codes will include the crime of stupidity
 >that is committed by those who live to have or to earn,
 >instead of living just to live,
 >like the bird sings without knowing it is singing,
 >and like the child plays without knowing that it plays;
 >in no country will they imprison boys who refuse military service,
 >but rather those who do want to serve;
 >the economists will not call standard of living
 >what really is standard of consumption,
 >nor will they call quality of life what is quantity of things;
 >the cooks will cease believing that lobsters enjoy being boiled alive;
 >historians will stop believing that countries enjoy being invaded;
 >politicians will stop believing that the poor enjoy eating promises;
 >solemnity will cease being a virtue,
 >and nobody will take seriously anybody else
 >who cannot make fun of him/herself;
 >death and money will lose their magic powers,
 >and neither due to wealth or death alone will an SOB become virtuous and a
 >nobody will be considered a hero or dumb
 >for doing what he/she thinks is fair instead of doing what is most
 >convenient; the world will no longer be at war against the poor, but against
 >and the military industry will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy;
 >food will not be a merchandise, nor communications a business,
 >because food and communication are human rights;
 >nobody will die of hunger, because nobody will have indigestion;
 >the street children will not be treated as if they were trash,
 >because there will be no street children;
 >rich kids will not be treated as if they were money,
 >because there will be no rich kids;
 >education will not be the privilege of those who can buy it;
 >police will not be the curse of those who cannot buy it;
 >justice and liberty, those siamese twins condemned to live separately, will
 >reunite, very closely, back to back;
 >a black woman will become president of Brasil,
 >and another black woman president of the US;
 >an indian woman will govern Guatemala and another, Peru;
 >in Argentina, the Women of the Plaza de Mayo will become examples, because
 >they refused to forget in the times of compulsory amnesia;
 >the Sacred Church will correct the errors in Moses' Tablets,
 >and the Sixth Commandment will mandate to celebrate the body;
 >the Church will also come up with another commandment
 >that God had forgotten:
 >You shall love nature, of which you are part;
 >the deserts of the world and of the soul will be reforested;
 >the desperate will be welcome and the lost will be found,
 >because they are the ones who dispaired from so much waiting
 >and got lost from so much searching;
 >we will be contemporary neighbors
 >of all those who search for justice and beauty,
 >no matter where they were born, where they have lived,
 >and regardless of boundaries in the maps or in time;
 >perfection will continue to be the bored privilege of gods;
 >but in this crazy and tough world,
 >every night will be lived like it were the last
 >and every day will be lived like it were the first.
 >Free translation from the Spanish by Claudio Schuftan, Hanoi.
 >Aviva at netnam.vn


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