Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 13, 2015

Repost: Günter Grass - What Has To Be Said

The German poet and writer Günter Grass died today. In his honer a repost from April 4 2012.

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Today the German Süddeutsche Zeitung published a poem by Günter Grass about the conflict between Israel and Iran. The usual subjects immediately condemned the writer.

The following is my unauthorized (amateur) translation of the complete poem into English. I tried to stay as near as possible to the, sometimes seemingly awkward but certainly intended, original line breaks and punctuation.

What has to be said

Why am I silent, conceal too long,
what is obvious and in war games
has been trained, at whose end we as survivors
will at the most be footnotes.

It is the alleged right of first strike,
with which the Iranian people,
subjugated by a loudmouth
and steered towards organized elation,
could be snuffed out with,
because the building of a nuclear bomb
within its fiefdom is assumed.

But why do I prohibit myself,
to name that other country,
in which for years - though kept secret -
a growing capability exists
though out of control as
not open for audit?

The general concealment of this fact,
to which my silence subjugated,
feels for me like a burdoning lie
and a coercion, which promises punishment;
the verdict "antisemitism" is commonly used.

But now, because from my country,
which for its very own crimes,
which are incomparable,
is called up again and again and taken to task,
repeatedly and businesslike, though
by slippy lips declared as reparation,
another submarine to Israel
shall be delivered, whose specialty
consists of, steering all-annihilating warheads
whereto, the existence
of a single bomb is unproven,
but as a fear shall be conclusiveness,
I say, what has to be said.

But why my silence so far?
Because I though, my origin,
which has a not redeemable taint,
prohibited me, to strain,
with this fact as spoken truth,
the country Israel, to which I am
and want to stay beholden.

Why do I speak only now,
aged and with my last ink:
The nuclear power Israel endangers
an already fragile world peace?
Because it has to be said,
what already tomorrow could be too late;
also because we - as Germans burdened enough -
could become supplier for a crime,
which is foreseeable, which is why our complicity
could not be redeemed
with the usual subterfuges.

And admittedly: I no longer remain silent,
because I am disgusted with
the hypocrisy of the west; additionally there is hope
that many may liberate themselves from their silence,
to request the originator of the discernible danger
to abstain from force
and also insist,
that unhindered and permanent control
of the Israeli capability
and the Iranian nuclear installations
through an international authority
shall be allowed by both countries governments.

Only this way can all, the Israelis and the Palestinians,
even more, all people who live in the delusion occupied region
near by near as enemies and in the end even us,
be helped.

Posted by b on April 13, 2015 at 18:17 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Born into a time and a world not of his making,
he grew with the tides that carried that world, adrift,
and learned to speak the language of raucous strutting gulls
seeking whatever scrap the waves of war would send,
no other way was given, no other way could be sought.

Once the tumult or war had passed,
once stilled voices arose from within
softly so softly whispering,
becoming the sound of another drummer, having step and cadence,
timbre and tune giving flesh to other ways and other stories.

With the great patience of the weaver, he wove his stories strands.
The warp and weft of what he knew and did,
but his weavings, his tales, the delights and regrets that made up his life
into somber works, of the frailties of being human, of the tragedy of misplaced trust
in those who nurture and try to protect and defend their own.

Now that small stilled voice is once again silent and no power can again awake.
The story-teller has told his tale and leaves behind only the echos of his tale
for those who will listen in the gathering silence, once again gathering upon the lands
just as it was once when the story-teller was just a small wee lad,
intent on his small tin drum, and what magic it would bring.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 13 2015 19:23 utc | 1

I liked Günter Grass. I enjoyed the Tin Drum. He was honest about his past. The style of German intellectual everyone likes.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 13 2015 19:27 utc | 2

Eduardo Galeano died the same day.
I love so much his "Memory of fire".
Made me cry.

Posted by: Philippe G. | Apr 13 2015 20:37 utc | 3

i am sorry to hear that he has died..

kudos to gunter grass for speaking his mind in what sounds like an atmosphere of ongoing repression, even if it isn't generally addressed. was it a consequence of all germany was blamed for and burdened with in regards the broad topic of zionism and the jews? israel was a byproduct that came after.. what happened paved the way for what now is the same way that his words help shed light on this broad mulch-facited topic..

Posted by: james | Apr 13 2015 20:40 utc | 4

@b

Thanks for informing us Gunter Grass parted to the realm of the unseen. That was a great choice of a poem to give homage to a man that, to the last day of his life, was the conscience of a country and a continent that have lost their bearings.


@Philippe G.@3

Thanks for notifying us of Eduardo Galeano's passing away. We’ve lost two giants of modern literature, gone on the same day across the pond, a great loss for humanity's conscience. May Gunter and Eduardo rest in peace and enjoy their resting days talking about the delusions of the world they left behind.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 13 2015 22:24 utc | 5

@b

Thanks for informing us Gunter Grass parted to the realm of the unseen. That was a great choice of a poem to give homage to a man that, to the last day of his life, was the conscience of a country and a continent that have lost their bearings.


@Philippe G.@3

Thanks for notifying us of Eduardo Galeano's passing away. We’ve lost two giants of modern literature, gone on the same day across the pond, a great loss for humanity's conscience. May Gunter and Eduardo rest in peace and enjoy their resting days talking about the delusions of the world they left behind.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 13 2015 22:32 utc | 6

@Lone Wolf

Beautifully stated.

Posted by: notlurking | Apr 14 2015 0:20 utc | 7

Thanks b for posting this. To Günter Grass who deserves honor for his works: thanks to such an original and admirable writer,

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 14 2015 0:29 utc | 8

Thank you for Gunter Grass translation and note of his passing.

We all live under the skirt of delusion about our world. What is never discussed are the tenets of inheritance and accumulating private ownership of property. They have ruled much of our world for centuries. Who is to question the further delusion that those of inherited wealth and property are best to lead our species? Even in the downfall before us, few will question this sordid given of our social construct.

Let me go find my drum which has become a marimba. I am sure that beating on it will change the world.....or make me feel better for a moment.

Your energy lives on Gunter!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 14 2015 0:44 utc | 9

Ah, very sorry to hear of Galeano and Grass.

More on Galeano from TeleSur

I can't say I've read much of Grass, I will rectify that.

As for Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America is far and away the most beautifully written and powerful history I've ever read.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 14 2015 1:20 utc | 10

Friends,

Here is an email that I sent to myself when first I became aware of this poem. In it is a link to the original text in German, as well as a link to a translation found at Sic Semper Tyrannis, and including a translation of a term not translated in the version found at SST:


http://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/gedicht-zum-konflikt-zwischen-israel-und-iran-was-gesagt-werden-muss-1.1325809

Translation:

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/what-has-to-be-said---guenter-grass.pdf

N.B.: Wiedergutmachung translates as reparation.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Apr 14 2015 3:07 utc | 11

And speaking to the concern that Iran might be attacked, and how this might be averted, here is an interesting development:

http://tass.ru/en/russia/788889

President Putin has lifted the hold on selling the S-300 ground-to-air missile system to Iran. There is more in the link than my brief summation.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Apr 14 2015 3:12 utc | 12

JerseyJeffersonian @11
Russia through lifting the hold on selling the S-300 wants to help Iran in negotiation with the West.

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 14 2015 4:11 utc | 13

@ALAN #12:

That's one interpretation. But this could just be Russia getting the ball rolling when it comes to lifting sanctions on Iran. As Noirette has pointed out, a lot of sanctions can be lifted by individual countries.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 14 2015 4:41 utc | 14

...
President Putin has lifted the hold on selling the S-300 ground-to-air missile system to Iran...
Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Apr 13, 2015 11:12:10 PM | 11

It was hard to suppress a chuckle or two last night during BBC's lame attempts to spin Iran's acquisition of a SELF DEFENCE missile system sound immoral and illegal.
Aided, of course, by the loudest available mouths from among The Usual Suspects.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 14 2015 4:54 utc | 15

...
But this could just be Russia getting the ball rolling when it comes to lifting sanctions on Iran.
...
Posted by: Demian | Apr 14, 2015 12:41:02 AM | 13

It could be, but that's not the way Putin and Obama see it.
It's feeding Obama's "peaceful settlement backed up by an overt military threat" bullshit right back at him.

The S-300 will allow Iran to protect itself, and limit the damage from a "pre-emptive strike" - for about 90 minutes. 90 minutes is all the time Russia needs to make the instigators wish they'd spent more time learning not to believe so much of their own bullshit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 14 2015 5:33 utc | 16

@Hoarsewhisperer #15:

Yes, that's another dimension. As in many of Putin's/the RF's moves, there are several goals in play. Another one that occurred to me since my previous comment is that everyone agrees that what is behind this alleged breakthrough in the nuclear talks with Iran is that the Empire wants to peel Iran away from Russia. So Russia is showing Iran who its true friends are – not the US and its EU vassals, who have made no moves to lift any sanctions.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 14 2015 6:02 utc | 17

So Russia is showing Iran who its true friends are – not the US and its EU vassals, who have made no moves to lift any sanctions.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 14, 2015 2:02:27 AM | 16

LOL

If Russia were a "true friend" it wouldn't have stalled on the damn s-300 contract in the first place, you vacuous eejit

Posted by: lol | Apr 14 2015 6:15 utc | 18

"true friends" don't F-around like the Russians have done, refusing to give Iran the means to defend themselves, despite signing contracts promising to do so

Posted by: lol | Apr 14 2015 6:18 utc | 19

@ALAN@12

Russia through lifting the hold on selling the S-300 wants to help Iran in negotiation with the West.

@Demian@13

That's one interpretation. But this could just be Russia getting the ball rolling when it comes to lifting sanctions on Iran. As Noirette has pointed out, a lot of sanctions can be lifted by individual countries.

It could be both. There is no contradiction between Russia strengthening Iran’s hand in negotiations with the West, and “getting the ball rolling” in lifting sanctions to Iran. However, there are many ways in which lifting the ban can be interpreted, mainly, a slap on the face of the US “unacceptable” position vis-à-vis Iran acquiring S-300. By lifting the ban, Russia has declared loud and clear it won’t allow another Iraq, Libya, etc. in its neighborhood, at once precluding Jewistan from attacking Iran with impunity. Putin waited for this move until the right moment, he knew it would alter the strategic balance in the region for a long time to come, forcing all actors, particularly the aggressive ones, to rethink their short to medium term geopolitical objectives. Now China will have the S-400, Iran might acquire the advance version of the S-300 (Antey-2500), with the prospect of acquiring the S-400 in the future. Russia is developing a counter-shield to NATOstan encirclement by providing advance defense technology to friendly countries, and augmenting Iran’s anti-aerial defenses is in Russia’s vested interest. Only the Caspian Sea separates Iran from Russia’s soft underbelly, and protecting it by enhancing Iran’s defenses is one of Russia's strategic imperatives.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 14 2015 7:04 utc | 20

@lol@17

LOL

If Russia were a "true friend" it wouldn't have stalled on the damn s-300 contract in the first place, you vacuous eejit

@lol@18

"true friends" don't F-around like the Russians have done, refusing to give Iran the means to defend themselves, despite signing contracts promising to do so

You're right, up to a point. I have shared the same misgivings about Russia stalling on the sale of the S-300 to Iran, at what can be considered an urgent moment. Iran has been in danger of being obliterated back to the Stone Age by the same troglodytes that destroyed Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc., and needed to improve its defenses. Why would Russia renege on its commitments at a crucial time? I thought Russia was playing dangerous games, given Iraq’s experience. However, Russia’s refusal to comply with the sale of the S-300 can only be understood against the historical backdrop of a very complex relationship. Russia and Iran are united more by sharing the same enemies than by a common vision of themselves. Russia has been very helpful to Iran during the entire sanctions period, always advocating for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue, and by giving Iran a way to circumvent the Western sanctions. The ban on the sale of the S-300s came about during a time Russia was still playing darling to the West, and even though it appeared to be a negative development, it provided Russia with the political/diplomatic legitimacy to engage the West in the search of a diplomatic solution. On 20-20 hindsight, they were right, Russia achieved its objectives, Iran survived, and all is well that ends well. Now the situation has changed, Russia is where Iran was a few years ago, their relationship has improved under the strain of Western sanctions, and Russia knows the West is aiming at its jugular. It is high time to arm Iran. For Iran, Russian refusal to sell the S-300 has been very beneficial; in fact, we could say the entire sanctions period has helped Iran to grow exponentially in multiple sectors, including advanced weapons technology. Russia is now facing the same self-reliance issues, forced to develop domestic solutions on the military and many other sectors.

“Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests,” said Lord Palmerston, yet another cynical but realistic Englishman. You’re right in your assertion Russia was not a friend of Iran by refusing to sell the S-300s at a dangerous time, but wrong in assuming Russia HAD to sell them as an act of friendship. There is no such a thing. You’re also right in your critique of Demian’s assertion Russia is showing Iran “who its true friends are.” There is no such a thing either.

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/russia-iii-iranian-relations-post-soviet

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 14 2015 8:41 utc | 21

@notlurking@6

Thanks, very kind of you.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 14 2015 8:49 utc | 22

@Lone Wolf #20:

You’re also right in your critique of Demian’s assertion Russia is showing Iran “who its true friends are.” There is no such a thing either.

It may be the case that “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests” (although the point about nations having "permanent interests" is obviously false, since the past interest of England was to run a global empire, whereas the interest it now contents itself with is being the poodle of the US), but Russia, China, and Iran have a shared (permanent) interest in the world being multipolar, instead of what the US empire is desperately trying to hang on to, unchallenged domination of the whole planet. So yes, because Russia and Iran are opposed to US hegemony, they are true friends. There is nothing in the meaning of "friend" that implies that friends will always agree or always have the same interests.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 14 2015 9:22 utc | 23

Beautiful poems by Gunter Grass and Formerly T-bear. Grass carries a great burden that doesn't belong to him or to the German nation. The past is just that; there are no winners.

Posted by: PJP | Apr 14 2015 11:08 utc | 24

halt ,who goes there

......."moo the asshoo"

first week in june

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 14 2015 12:34 utc | 25

A multipolar world is also in the interest of the American people, as they then won't have to fight endless wars and lose their freedom. The false prosperity that they currently think they enjoy with the empire is a hollow, soul-destroying prosperity.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 14 2015 14:20 utc | 26

A unipolar world is only in the interest of the American ruling class, and their hirelings at home and abroad.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 14 2015 14:21 utc | 27

@Demian@22

So yes, because Russia and Iran are opposed to US hegemony, they are true friends. There is nothing in the meaning of "friend" that implies that friends will always agree or always have the same interests.

As the saying goes, "with friends like that, who needs enemies?" It seems your concept of friendship is rather poor, if you consider that Russia contributed to the potential demise of Iran as a nation, by denying the sale of the S-300s after the transaction had been sealed, at a very dangerous moment for Iran. Anyone anywhere would call that backstabbing if judged from a sheer friendship POV. Besides sharing a common ideology, the USSR and PRC had the same enemies before as now, which did not preclude them from a break up of seismic proportions that turned them from "friends" into mortal enemies. Russia, Iran, China, and to a lesser degree India, share a common interest facing the aggressive Empire of Chaos, but it doesn’t mean they are friends. Russia and China are building a strategic relationship based on facing a common enemy, which makes them allies, not friends. Countries develop tactical or strategic alliances according to their needs for survival, and change them accordingly. If Russia-Iran relations develop into a strategic alliance, they will be just allies, not friends, in the same way the USSR was an ally of the US/UK during WWII. Or do you think old bulldog Churchill was a friend of the Soviet Union just because they were fighting the same Nazi trash? Calling the US/UK “friends” of the Soviet Union based on their struggle against a common enemy would be a sort of historical aberration.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 14 2015 16:37 utc | 28

Very good discussion about the current dynamics between countries. I wish to expand the discussion to the dynamics of ideologies going on.

As a species I would argue that our ideologies have not evolved in consort with other "advances". While it may not be the season of the British empire anymore, it is the season of the American empire and the folks behind the curtain are arguably the same. My read of history has the "lineage" of the folks behind the American empire ideology going back five centuries or so. I describe the main ideology tenets of what I call Western empire as
private ownership of property (and the accumulation of such through inheritance).
private banking and finance (My position is that you have totally sovereign banking, finance and “money” or it is private and by this I mean that a mix of private and sovereign is really private given the other tenets of the operative ideology).
inheritance ( a stellar concept that has been abused by placing individuals above the commons which establishes and maintains the elite and wannabe hierarchy we have and stultification of ideological evolution).
rule of law ( It is a great idea that should focus on the needed “regulation” of our anti-group human tendencies but is now the tool of control and suppression by the elite).

The rest of the nations that are not part of American empire now or were independent in the past reflect other ideologies that I only want to summarize here as not Western. And to get back to the dynamics of ideologies, it is clear that American empire is being challenged in manifest ways by the majority of the population of the world.

Will the elite, that may have already chartered our course to extinction with imprudent decisions like Fukushima, relinquish control of their empire or prove to the universe that humanity will not evolve past the Enlightenment period?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 14 2015 17:19 utc | 29

Here in the US, we grew up hearing about how bad the Germans were and how they victimized all these completely innocent people.

Now when I look at who runs Hollywood, the media, Wall Street/finance, and the neoconservatives, and I think about these wars in the Middle East and the Wall Street's destruction of our economy, I no longer think that the Germans were irrational madmen. No, no... Now I think "wow, the Germans knew exactly who they were dealing with."

Posted by: Rich | Apr 14 2015 18:27 utc | 30

The poem was and still is bad stuff, literally. And although I agreed with him politically in this issue, Grass should have anyway stopped from discussing anything, with his special past of hiding his Waffen-SS membership for over 60 years. Or read this Grass stupidity in an interview with Tom Segev in Haaretz, Aug. 26., 2011:

"Of eight million German soldiers who were captured by the Russians, perhaps two million survived and all the rest were liquidated. There were about 14 million refugees in Germany; half the country went directly from Nazi tyranny to communist tyranny. I am not saying this to diminish the gravity of the crime against the Jews, but the Holocaust was not the only crime. We bear responsibility for the Nazis' crimes. But the crimes inflicted serious disasters on the Germans and thus they became victims."

The figures are totally wrong: In Soviet captivity, about one million Wehrmacht soldiers died, historians say, and they were also not "liquidated". How Grass comes to his six million number is the secret of his subconsciousness. What the Literature nobel laureate said reads, in any case, as classic myths from the neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing corner - the poor german becoming a victim of bolsheviks and jews.

what really pisses me off are these stupid excuses, lies, inadequate analogies etc. of the german war generation. How does it come GG spoke about 6 millions Wehrmacht soldiers being "liquidated" by soviet red army in captivity??? It's a subconscious subtext: 6 millions jews murdered in holocaust - we, the germans, also mourn about 6 millions victims. It's the life long "Lebenslüge" of this generation, based on untrue facts and wishful thinking.

Posted by: matzerath | Apr 14 2015 18:41 utc | 31

@psychohistorian # 29
Interesting comment, thanks.
Could you please elaborate more on Fukushima, just want to know your take, thanks....

Posted by: Sufi | Apr 14 2015 18:48 utc | 32

Demian @14
Putin’s Missile Could Make U.S. Attacks on Iran Nearly Impossible
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/13/putin-s-missile-could-make-u-s-attacks-on-iran-nearly-impossible.html

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 14 2015 19:00 utc | 33

There was discussion on Craig Murray's site a few days ago about whether the UK could use its nuclear weapons against the wishes of the U.S. It was claimed that it could not, because guidance would depend on GPS provided by U.S. satellites.

Which set me thinking. Could all countries' nuclear weapons and missiles be neutralized by blocking communication to satellites?

Could it be that Israel's nuclear weapons are not after all such a threat to the world?

Posted by: lysias | Apr 14 2015 19:39 utc | 34

one of my relatives was dying in the hospital he said i cannot die until i finish this book leave me to read he weakly showed the book he told his family please don’t disturb now be gone and he turned the pages and then he finished with it and he died

the tin drum by gunter grass

he didn’t know that grass had joined the waffen ss and hid it all his life if he had he would have been reading something else or maybe not who knows he was an author himself a man of the pen and the brush and not given to listening to any opinions on anything

he survived the camps with a short stay and then fled to far away but was left with a game leg and tuberculosis so them’s the breaks as he said his lungs were rottten well before but he sure loved books

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 14 2015 19:57 utc | 35

@32

The web site I keep up on Fukushima with is http://enenews.com/

I find it well intentioned and with educational commenters. I am incensed by the hubris of nuclear proponents that think nothing of condeming and/or committing thousands of potential future generations of humans to take care of the garbage they are creating or die trying to do so.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 14 2015 20:16 utc | 36

@ PJP | Apr 14, 2015 7:08:30 AM | 24

Thank you for your kind words regarding. May I suggest?: "The past is just that; there are no winners survivors". All who are alive come from winners but that doesn't last so very long. YMMV

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 14 2015 21:18 utc | 37

At 17 years of age, one's brain has not yet completely formed; and many countries don't hold minors to the same legal standard as adults, when meting out justice. Günter Grass was 17 at the time he was in the SS. The moralists and finger waggers are a bit too preachy and pompous on this score; and how easily they pass judgment, as they attempt to mock the artistic achievement of this man's life. This pontificating comes most likely from citizens whose own countries are hip deep in atrocities, psychopathic behavior, and crimes against humanity.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 15 2015 3:12 utc | 38

...
It's the life long "Lebenslüge" of this generation, based on untrue facts and wishful thinking.
Posted by: matzerath | Apr 14, 2015 2:41:51 PM | 31

Thanks for the Histrionics lesson.
How come you forgot to mention the "God gave it to us" untrue fact/ wishful thinking in Jewish Occupied Palestine?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 15 2015 4:44 utc | 39

@Copeland #38:

Günter Grass was 17 at the time he was in the SS. The moralists and finger waggers are a bit too preachy and pompous on this score; and how easily they pass judgment

That, and the SS didn't do anything worse than what the US did in Vietnam. Is anyone here going to deny that?

Given that since the end of World War II, the US with its wars killed 2 million+ people (a conservative estimate off the top of my head, just counting Vietnam), the modern symbol of absolute evil when it comes to waging war should not be Nazi Germany, but the United States.

(Unfortunately, the vulgar fascism of Angela Merkel undermines this line of argument. (For non-vulgar fascism, see Leni Riefenstahl.))

Posted by: Demian | Apr 15 2015 5:20 utc | 40

Demian at 40 -- The SS ran the camps and Gestapo. Guantanamo and "black sites" are a pilot program, for now. Mass surveillance, yes, mass political incarceration, no (vs. mass socio-economic incarceration). Industrializing death is an order of magnitude or two more, at a minimum

We have a ways to go yet, I pray to god we don't get there. That's serious talk from an atheist like me. Part colloquial expression, part "just in case;" superstition fighting the horrible, I suppose. Usually, I bet against the house on Pascal's wager, but not on this hand.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 15 2015 5:45 utc | 41

@rm 41:

Industrializing death is an order of magnitude or two more

Nobody does industrializing death better than the United States. Consider carpet bombing (which Germany never did), Hiroshima and Nagasaki, execution (a barbarism which no civilized country now engages in) by lethal injection, and random murders by means of drones brought to us by the military industrial complex.

Yes, unless I'm mistaken, I've objected to people calling the US fascist. As you say, there is no mass political incarceration. But as far as the harm that the US does to people outside of the US, the US is at least as bad as Nazi Germany.

And when I mention "people outside of the US", that goes for American citizens. There are the assassinations by drones of American citizens, and also the US military fleeing Yemen without making any effort to evacuate American citizens.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 15 2015 6:22 utc | 42

radio interview, really great.

http://kingworldnews.com/dr-paul-craig-roberts-4-12-15/

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 15 2015 8:18 utc | 43

what a wonderful man.

Why do I speak only now,
aged and with my last ink

so glad you did gunther, so very grateful. sealed signed and delivered, you stepped right up to the plate.

Posted by: annie | Apr 15 2015 8:26 utc | 44

Günter...

Posted by: annie | Apr 15 2015 8:27 utc | 45

Too much whataboutery here. Comparing the crimes of two different repressive regimes confuses rather than clarifies - it makes no sense to try to align the two evils because not only were they different in action the motivations were completely different.
Not better or worse - just different. One was driven by greed and a desire to establish hegemony, the other driven by fear, fear of the other compounded by ignorance.
The only parallel between the two sets of atrocities is that both are collective crimes driven by a warped shared consciousness, the crimes of individuals are easier to judge and condemn but must always be considered in the light of the state of that mass consciousness at the time the crime was committed.
Thus the nearest equivalent to Grass' joining the SS at 17 is the thousands of young amerikans who signed up to invade Iraq after the WTC action.
Were they stupid for joining? yes certainly but we must all be aware that the incidence of young people truly comprehending the evil within the society which nurtured them is actually quite low. Those that do often have a history of being been rejected by that society either because of their parents or something else which for no fault of the child's, that society has a set against.

I have no doubt Grass was deeply ashamed of his SS past and that however harshly the humanity may judge him, it wouldn't be as harshly as Grass judged himself.

It is pointless to hold Grass or any other kid who follows the behaviours of his childhood indoctrination, accountable.
Some people see the error of their upbringing as they mature - most do not but Grass was one who did - so why condemn him ahead of all the nasty fascists currently in positions of power in Germany, who are plotting economic and/or physical expansion into Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and the Ukraine?
I don't have a set against the adolescents who fight for the IDF killing Palestinians because their heads have been filled with lies and emotive irrationalities, but I have no difficulty is wishing evil including painful death on older Israelis from Netanyahu down to the greedy migrants moving into settlements created by pushing the indigenous people of the Jordan Valley off land which has belonged to their clan for millennia.

What young people do must always be considered in perspective - the context in which the kid acted.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 15 2015 9:03 utc | 46

I don't think the main problem for Grass was the fact that he was a forced conscript of the SS at age 17. The problem is his hypocrisy in hiding this fact while simultaneously playing the role of Germany's conscience in confronting its Nazi past.

Posted by: sleepy | Apr 15 2015 9:40 utc | 47

@40

That's the Israeli argument ... "We haven't treated the Palestinians any worse than you treated the Indians."

The Dick Cheney argument ... "We're not as bad as the NAZIs."

Granted for the sake of argument. Irrelevant. My culpability for my crimes/sins/failings is in no way related to yours with respect to yours.

I agree with Debs ... I don't hold the individual who's fallen so much as I blame the collective.

If there is no group within the entire collective willing to do what it takes to reverse the collective's obvious, ongoing war crimes ... and let's stick to the ones that are reversible here, the ones proceeding under our very noses, the ones undertaken by our present governments ... then the blame is our collective own. Yes, there are individuals who revel in the torture, the blood and the hatred ... but it is only the collective that can accomplish these holocausts on the scale of war crimes, crimes against society,humanity ... and every member of 'us', the collective, must bear responsibility for what we have not done.

Surely the US is on point, but Israel, the UK, Germany, France ... the rest of the EUnuchs are close behind.

See,

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2015 10:02 utc | 48

"I don't think the main problem for Grass was the fact that he was a forced conscript of the SS at age 17. The problem is his hypocrisy in hiding this fact while simultaneously playing the role of Germany's conscience in confronting its Nazi past.

Posted by: sleepy | Apr 15, 2015 5:40:02 AM | 47"

thanks for mentioning that, the other point why Grass was/is nothing of a progressive or adorable person is his stupidity which you see e.g. in the a.m. interview with Tom Segev. He released voluntarily, not being explicitly asked by Tom Segev, all his nazi thoughts from the back corners of his (sub)consciousness, everything he was vaccinated with during the first 18 years of his life and hadn't overcome till when he died. that disqualified him for any other statement on current affairs, esp. Israel - Iran. He didn't tell us why he was hiding his Waffen-SS membership, why he was talking neo-nazi language, reactinonary right wingers BS etc.pp.


from the 2012 discussion here another statement:
"I have little respect for Germans who complain about the burden of guilt for the sins of two world wars, particularly if they attempt, as GG does, to compare their suffering "as Germans" to that of Germany's victims. Here in America we have a somewhat analogous situation with slavery. Despite being separated from the present by generations, the wounds and guilt of that are still real and felt in everyday life by many people. In the shadow of this legacy, all our hero-worship of Lincoln the Emancipator sometimes tends to have a desperate and hollow quality. "See? See how great we are?? We ended slavery!"

Similarly, all of GG's anguish over whether to break his silence "as a German" rings rather hollow and self-absorbed to my ears. I do not subscribe to the view of the holocaust as transcendentally unique and incomparable, but I do believe it is important to clearly distinguish those who were exterminated from those in whose name it was carried out. In my view, GG's attempt in this poem to link his political stance with Germany's historical role, unedermines rather than strengthens his attempt at moral courage, and makes it in the end rather all about him, his feelings, his burdens, his guilt (or lack thereof). The poem attempts to be liberating and expansive, as if to expiate the sins of the past by speaking out in the present. But instead it comes off as utterly narrow and solipsistic. "Woe is me!" is all it says to me. It may be an "important" poem, but it's a bad one.

WW2, by contrast to our slavery, is still a part of the living memory of many. Whether you Germans like it or not, the stain will be with you for a very long time. To be clear, I do not believe that children should be literally punished for their parents crimes, but the damage nevertheless persists, and it is selfish and irresponsible to deny the reality of that. If you don't like it that some people may consider that your righteous political stance lacks moral force simply because of your nationality, all I can say is: tough shit. Deal with it.

Posted by: Uriel | Apr 5, 2012 11:13:24 AM"

Posted by: matzerath | Apr 15 2015 10:43 utc | 49

49

that sums it up

i remember reading the tin drum and the part about catching eels with a horses head somehow stayed with me...most people remember the glass breaking scene

nabakov was a favourite but the glass bead game by hesse opened my eyes to the possibilities

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 15 2015 11:21 utc | 50

jfl 48

thats the israeli,s arguement........

no,the palestinians are treated the same way the arabs treated jews over the centuries.a link to the facts


www.danielpipes.org/comments/175038

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 15 2015 11:43 utc | 51

Did someone really splutter some tosh about "facts" and then link to Daniel Pipes?

Really?

Daniel Pipes?

Facts?

Daniel Pipes as a possessor of "Facts" ?

It's either top class satire or rank stupidity

Posted by: lol | Apr 15 2015 12:59 utc | 52

@mcohen@51

no,the palestinians are treated the same way the arabs treated jews over the centuries.a link to the facts

How much does bouncer Lieberman pay you for posting trash? Does he pay you in shekels or dollars? I could teach a thing or two about how Christians, Jews and Muslims used to live in peace under Islamic rulers, but you're not worth my time. And you're wasting your hasbara time here at MoA. Why not moving to the Middle East Forum, where you will feel at home among idiots?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 15 2015 13:45 utc | 53

Daniel Pipes, the expert of hate

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 15 2015 14:18 utc | 54

Daniel Pipes, the expert of hate

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 15 2015 14:26 utc | 55

31;There's no pain like the Jews pain,right?Jesus.
And yeah,Hitler is rehabilitated by today's criminal hypocrites.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 15 2015 14:53 utc | 56

Speaking of Russia, was anyone else upset that neither Russia nor China vetoed the anti-Houthi Security Council resolution on Yemen? The invaders don't get an arms embargo, only the rulers of the country being invaded?

UN sanctions Houthis in Yemen, ignores Russian calls for all-inclusive arms embargo

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 15 2015 15:12 utc | 57

F@56

Even the Saker is pissed about this capitulation calling it a new Libya but as usual the Putin apologists are rallying around the Leader. I don't think that Putin or Russia has any reason to support the Houthis and they wanted an embargo on weapons for all groups but their veto would have at least forced more discussion at the powerless UN. The Saudis had no approval from the UNSC for their aggression in Yemen before this resolution gave them a backdoor approval.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 15 2015 15:31 utc | 58

Wayoutwest @57

I agree, it's basically the UN giving the stamp of approval to the ultimate crime, unprovoked aggressive war. The UN, therefore, should be brought before a Nuremberg Tribunal and then be put to death.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 15 2015 15:59 utc | 59

Moscow chickenshitted out, i.e. abstained.
MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. Russia did not support the UN Security Council resolution on Yemen because the document does not envisage immediate ceasefire and resumption of negotiations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Our position is based on the fact that the proposed text should have been focused on the tasks put forward by the Yemeni crisis — immediate ceasefire and resumption of negotiations in the framework of an inclusive political process under active UN coordination," the foreign ministry said.

Russia "actively worked on coordinating the draft resolution that met these objectives," the statement noted. "However, a number of important amendments proposed by us were not taken into account, in particular, demanding that all sides involved in the armed confrontation cease fire, including with the aim of preventing more civilian casualties; the importance of introducing obligatory and regular humanitarian pauses; importance of expanding arms embargo on all Yemeni sides of the armed conflict," the foreign ministry added.

"Moscow, just like many countries in the region, is convinced that there can be no military solution for Yemen," the ministry said. "The adopted resolution should not be used for further escalation of the confrontation. It is necessary to sustainably look for peaceful settlement, taking into account the interests of Yemenis. We hope that the UN will continue its mediatory efforts to solve the crisis in the country," the statement noted.

On April 14, the UN Security Council has adopted resolution 2216 that stipulates arms and military equipment embargo to Houthi rebels. The draft document was proposed by Jordan, US and UK. Fourteen UN Security Council member-countries supported the resolution, including China and Venezuela, while Russia abstained from voting.
http://tass.ru/en/world/789475

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 15 2015 16:26 utc | 60

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 15, 2015 11:31:31 AM | 57

Russia & China aren't panicking because the dimwits pretending to be in control wouldn't have needed the resolution if the Houthis were losing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 15 2015 16:48 utc | 61

H@61

I don't think Russia nor China are prone to panic but they do obviously capitulate.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 15 2015 17:27 utc | 62

#53 54 55

i knew danny pipes would get you all hot and bothered

here is a better link....more respectable lol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1929_Safed_riots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farhud

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFtreatment.html

peace and love

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 15 2015 21:56 utc | 63

I never got introduced to Gunter Grass, but I certainly did discover Galeano while I was in South America. Some of my favorite Galeano quotes:

I don't believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people.

The Church says: the body is a sin.
Science says: the body is a machine.
Advertising says: the body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.

Utopia lies at the horizon.
When I draw nearer by two steps,
it retreats two steps.
If I proceed ten steps forward, it
swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.
What, then, is the purpose of utopia?
It is to cause us to advance.

I can’t sleep. There is a woman stuck between my eyelids. I would tell her to get out if I could. But there is a woman stuck in my throat.

In this world of ours, a world of powerful centers and subjugated outposts, there is no wealth that must not be held in some suspicion.

Human rights pale beside the rights of machines. In more and more cities, especially in the great metropolises of the South, people have been banned. Automobiles usurp human space, poison the air, and frequently murder the interlopers who invade their conquered territory—and no one lifts a finger to stop them. Is there a difference between violence that kills by car and that which kills by knife or bullet?

Recordar: To remember; from the Latin recordari, to pass back through the heart.

Extermination Plan: destroy the grass, pull up every last little living thing by the roots, sprinkle the earth with salt. Afterwards, kill all memory of the grass. To colonize consciences, suppress them; to suppress them, empty them of the past. Wipe out all testimony to the fact that in this land there ever existed anything other than silence, jails and tombs.
It is forbidden to remember.
Prisoners are organized into work gangs. At night they are forced to whitewash the phrases of protest that in other times covered the walls of the city.
The steady pelting of rain on the walls begins to dissolve the white paint. And little by little the stubborn words reappear.


Posted by: Vintage Red | Apr 16 2015 0:57 utc | 64

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 15, 2015 1:27:45 PM | 62

I love it when you precede your snippets of dogma with the warning "I don't think..."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16 2015 2:37 utc | 65

Posted by: matzerath | Apr 15, 2015 6:43:22 AM | 49

It's laughably obvious that you'd have absolutely no interest in smearing Grass if his writings hadn't resonated with so many people and made him a tall poppy. Have you no shame? You (also) forgot to mention that anti-Jewish feelings in Germany were inflamed by a Jewish-inspired and declared boycott of pre-WWII Germany. That tends to expose your stance as even more repulsive than the hypocrisy and concealment of which you accuse Grass.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16 2015 4:22 utc | 66

@Hoarsewhisperer #66:

Speaking of Jews and Nazis (somewhat off-topic):

Jerusalem Post: Ukrainian parliament recognizes militia that collaborated with Nazis

“The passage of a ban on Nazism and Communism equates the most genocidal regime in human history with the regime which liberated Auschwitz and helped end the reign of terror of the Third Reich,” said Wiesenthal Center director for Eastern European Affairs Dr. Efraim Zuroff.
Take that, Ukies. And the German Christian Democrats should take note.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 16 2015 4:53 utc | 67

@66: funny how all reasoned arguments on this site in the last run are being countered by a "Protocol of the Elders of Zion" like type. Every discussion here finally ends by stating "jewish world domination" or even them killing and eating little - mainly christian - children. Now acc. to you asshole the jews started WWII and their own extermination by "a Jewish-inspired and declared boycott of pre-WWII Germany". I really don't get it that bernhard in his peace alley in Hamburg still accepts this kind of BS and the associated so-called human beings (I think they are rather computer generated fuckers) on his site. Maybe he deserves some more pressure again to clean his acts.

Posted by: matzerath | Apr 16 2015 9:12 utc | 68

#68

a bonfire of profanities is called for.

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 16 2015 11:02 utc | 69

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 15, 2015 9:45:38 AM | 53

Posted by: lol | Apr 15, 2015 8:59:57 AM | 52

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15, 2015 6:02:17 AM | 48

FACTS.and i post on no one,s behalf.liars need to be corrected as in League of Liars.....LOL


Other mass murders of Jews in Arab lands occurred in Morocco in the 8th century, where whole communities were wiped out by the Muslim ruler Idris I; North Africa in the 12th century, where the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several communities; Libya in 1785, where Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews; Algiers, where Jews were massacred in 1805, 1815 and 1830; and Marrakesh, Morocco, where more than 300 Jews were murdered between 1864 and 1880.21

Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854­-859, 1344) and Yemen (1676). Despite the Koran’s prohibition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465 and 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333 and 1344).22

The situation of Jews in Arab lands reached a low point in the 19th century. Jews in most of North Africa (including Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Morocco) were forced to live in ghettos. In Morocco, which contained the largest Jewish community in the Islamic Diaspora, Jews were made to walk barefoot or wear shoes of straw when outside the ghetto. Even Muslim children participated in the degradation of Jews, by throwing stones at them or harassing them in other ways. The frequency of anti-Jewish violence increased, and many Jews were executed on charges of apostasy. Ritual murder accusations against the Jews became commonplace in the Ottoman Empire.23

As distinguished Orientalist G.E. von Grunebaum has written:

It would not be difficult to put together the names of a very sizeable number Jewish subjects or citizens of the Islamic area who have attained to high rank, to power, to great financial influence, to significant and recognized intellectual attainment; and the same could be done for Christians. But it would again not be difficult to compile a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.24

The danger for Jews became even greater as a showdown approached in the UN. The Syrian delegate, Faris el-Khouri, warned: “Unless the Palestine problem is settled, we shall have difficulty in protecting and safeguarding the Jews in the Arab world.”25

More than a thousand Jews were killed in anti-Jewish rioting during the 1940’s in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.26 This helped trigger the mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries.

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 16 2015 11:10 utc | 70

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 15, 2015 9:45:38 AM | 53

Posted by: lol | Apr 15, 2015 8:59:57 AM | 52

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15, 2015 6:02:17 AM | 48

people who are neither arab or moslem have used the the i/p conflict to attacks jews simply because they are jew haters. gunter grass was one of them.end of story.a thousand poems will not change that fact.

Towards the end of his life, Grass would be labeled, not unfairly, a fraud and hypocrite. Having spent a lifetime encouraging Germans to pull back the curtains and come clean about the past, including the complicity of ordinary citizens in war crimes, it was only in 2006 in his memoir, “Peeling the Onion” — seven years after he had won the Nobel, as Christopher Hitchens once pointed out — that Grass revealed that during the War, he had been a member of the Waffen-SS.
Having failed to get into the navy as a volunteer two years prior, in the final months of the war at the age of seventeen Grass served in the Frundsberg Panzer Division in Dresden. He had previously claimed to have been a Flakhelfer – a student conscripted after 1943 to man anti-aircraft batteries — and thus part of the generation exempt from direct culpability in German crimes.
To this extent, Günter Grass’s status as the conscience of Germany was based both on a lie and an occlusion of the truth. It is not that he should be punished for his service per se, but his lack of admission undermines his loud and repeated calls for honesty and transparency. Remember him as the conscience of Germany if you must, but a more honest appraisal of Grass’ life and work would acknowledge his failings too. One cannot have the one without the other.


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/218516/lets-get-honest-about-gunter-grass/#ixzz3XZ7Kmnbp

Joachim Fest, conservative German journalist, historian and biographer of Adolf Hitler, said to the German weekly Der Spiegel about Grass's disclosure:

After 60 years, this confession comes a bit too late. I can't understand how someone who for decades set himself up as a moral authority, a rather smug one, could pull this off.[57]

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 16 2015 11:37 utc | 71

MCohen@70

What do you think is the root cause of anti-Jewish violence in the ME and elsewhere? There must be some concrete historical reasons for this scapegoating which was also used on other groups such as the Armenians in Turkey.

The Jews in Moorish Spain seemed to prosper under Islam and only suffered when Islam was replaced by Christianity. We have what are called Crypto Jews here in NM who's ancestors hid their Jewish identity and practices after their forced conversion in Spain.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 16 2015 16:35 utc | 72

...
"people who are neither arab or moslem have used the the i/p conflict to attacks jews simply because they are jew haters. gunter grass was one of them.end of story.a thousand poems will not change that fact."
...
Posted by: mcohen | Apr 16, 2015 7:37:04 AM | 71

Boy! Things must be getting desperate in land-stealing Land for you to deploy such a pathetically juvenile non sequitur, merely to bulk up an appallingly dishonest drive-by smearing. If the Deniers of the Palestinian Holocaust hate Grass as much as you and the equally dishonest matzerath claim to do then that, alone, entitles he, and his writings, to a permanent place in the Beacon Of Hope For Humanity Hall of Fame.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 16 2015 17:48 utc | 73

Wayoutwest says:

...some concrete historical reasons...

well, golly gee wilikers, hombre, the fact that the Jews pretty much invented interest on money loans sure as hell didn't win many hearts and minds, did it? and then there's that other little historical caveat of being responsible for Jesus' death...

Posted by: john | Apr 16 2015 18:08 utc | 74

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 16, 2015 12:35:41 PM | 72

"What do you think is the root cause of anti-Jewish violence in the ME and elsewhere?"

the reason is old as this planet itself...ignorance

long is the cold winter ,dark is the night.

HALT WHO GOES THERE

make a fire,gather around....the bigger the fire ,the bigger the crowd....safe

see that small fire over there,

small fire,small crowd

thats the jew fire.....not safe

Posted by: mcohen. | Apr 16 2015 22:45 utc | 75

probably the world's last Prussian.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 17 2015 3:39 utc | 76

Well, I found and read *The Tin Drum*, which had never appealed to me before, and am more than 'impressed' with the 50 year-old novel and so, sympathetic and appreciative of its author - for taking up, sticking with, and finishing his work if there had been nothing else - and there is so much more than just his dedication, and dutiful workmanship to the book.

So now I have to come back here and read this poem again with some understanding where before there was none. All the talk of Grass' 'worthiness' - he was Waffen SS, he never said so - dissolves in the face of the work, and all the other works I have not read - and in the face of his assessment of the his own life and the German-Israeli pas de deux in light of others assessment of both.

What German was 'uninvolved' with Germany's fate seventy years ago? What American, what Israeli, is uninvolved with their country's fate today? And who and where are the heroes in any case?

So I am glad that Gǚnter Grass took up, stuck with, and finally finished his assessment of his own life and work and that of Germany and Israel as well - even if that had been all that he'd accomplished, and that is certainly far from all.

For his voice certainly does not come from without but from within the very heart of the context he has assessed, and soon there will be no one living to speak of it from a first hand perspective at all. Certainly no one whose life and voice are as well documented, discussed, explicated as is his, and now, as complete as well.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 24 2015 9:50 utc | 77

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