Apr 07 2012

What must be said

Was gesagt werden muss

Das Gedicht von Günter Grass, 04.04.2012, 12:03

Warum schweige ich, verschweige zu lange,
was offensichtlich ist und in Planspielen
geübt wurde, an deren Ende als Überlebende
wir allenfalls Fußnoten sind.

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

Doch warum untersage ich mir,
jenes andere Land beim Namen zu nennen,
in dem seit Jahren – wenn auch geheimgehalten –
ein wachsend nukleares Potential verfügbar
aber außer Kontrolle, weil keiner Prüfung
zugänglich ist?

Das allgemeine Verschweigen dieses Tatbestandes,
dem sich mein Schweigen untergeordnet hat,
empfinde ich als belastende Lüge
und Zwang, der Strafe in Aussicht stellt,
sobald er mißachtet wird;
das Verdikt “Antisemitismus” ist geläufig.

Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

Warum aber schwieg ich bislang?
Weil ich meinte, meine Herkunft,
die von nie zu tilgendem Makel behaftet ist,
verbiete, diese Tatsache als ausgesprochene Wahrheit
dem Land Israel, dem ich verbunden bin
und bleiben will, zuzumuten.

Warum sage ich jetzt erst,
gealtert und mit letzter Tinte:
Die Atommacht Israel gefährdet
den ohnehin brüchigen Weltfrieden?
Weil gesagt werden muß,
was schon morgen zu spät sein könnte;
auch weil wir – als Deutsche belastet genug –
Zulieferer eines Verbrechens werden könnten,
das voraussehbar ist, weshalb unsere Mitschuld
durch keine der üblichen Ausreden
zu tilgen wäre.

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

Nur so ist allen, den Israelis und Palästinensern,
mehr noch, allen Menschen, die in dieser
vom Wahn okkupierten Region
dicht bei dicht verfeindet leben
und letztlich auch uns zu helfen.

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

Brauner Fleck auf weißem Grund., Portrait “Kurskorrektur zu Günter Grass (02)” ca. A3, Mischtechnik 2012.  http://mainzerliteraturfestival.de/christian-felder/ or http://bit.ly/HoXYng

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2012/04/07/what-must-be-said/

3 comments

    • Jacques on April 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm
      Author

    What Must Be Said. by Günter Grass

    Why do I stay silent, conceal for too long
    What clearly is and has been
    Practiced in war games, at the end of which we as survivors
    Are at best footnotes.

    It is the alleged right to first strike
    That could annihilate the Iranian people–
    Enslaved by a loud-mouth
    And guided to organized jubilation–
    Because in their territory,
    It is suspected, a bomb is being built.

    Yet why do I forbid myself
    To name that other country
    In which, for years, even if secretly,
    There has been a growing nuclear potential at hand
    But beyond control, because no inspection is available?

    The universal concealment of these facts,
    To which my silence subordinated itself,
    I sense as incriminating lies
    And force–the punishment is promised
    As soon as it is ignored;
    The verdict of “anti-Semitism” is familiar.

    Now, though, because in my country
    Which from time to time has sought and confronted
    Its very own crime
    That is without compare
    In turn on a purely commercial basis, if also
    With nimble lips calling it a reparation, declares
    A further U-boat should be delivered to Israel,
    Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existence
    Of a single atomic bomb is unproven,
    But as a fear wishes to be conclusive,
    I say what must be said.

    Why though have I stayed silent until now?
    Because I thought my origin,
    Afflicted by a stain never to be expunged
    Kept the state of Israel, to which I am bound
    And wish to stay bound,

    From accepting this fact as pronounced truth.

    Why do I say only now,
    Aged and with my last ink,
    That the nuclear power of Israel endangers
    The already fragile world peace?
    Because it must be said
    What even tomorrow may be too late to say;
    Also because we–as Germans burdened enough–
    Could be the suppliers to a crime
    That is foreseeable, wherefore our complicity
    Could not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses.

    And granted: I am silent no longer
    Because I am tired of the hypocrisy
    Of the West; in addition to which it is to be hoped
    That this will free many from silence,
    That they may prompt the perpetrator of the recognized danger
    To renounce violence and
    Likewise insist
    That an unhindered and permanent control
    Of the Israeli nuclear potential
    And the Iranian nuclear sites
    Be authorized through an international agency
    By the governments of both countries.

    Only this way are all, the Israelis and Palestinians,
    Even more, all people, that in this
    Region occupied by mania
    Live cheek by jowl among enemies,
    And also us, to be helped.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/gunter-grasss-controversial-poem-about-israel-iran-and-war-translated/255549/ or http://bit.ly/HnVbaa

    • Mike Nunn on April 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I love this poem. It is time that it was written.

    • Jacques on April 8, 2012 at 9:28 am
      Author

    Here’s a newer translation by Michael Keefer and Nica Mintz. PULSE (http://pulsemedia.org) says it is the best by far; it manages to preserve the poetic intent without sacrificing precision.

    Why have I kept silent, silent for too long
    over what is openly played out
    in war games at the end of which we
    the survivors are at best footnotes.

    It’s that claim of a right to first strike
    against those who under a loudmouth’s thumb
    are pushed into organized cheering—
    a strike to snuff out the Iranian people
    on suspicion that under his influence
    an atom bomb’s being built.

    But why do I forbid myself
    to name that other land in which
    for years—although kept secret—
    a usable nuclear capability has grown
    beyond all control, because
    no scrutiny is allowed.

    The universal silence around this fact,
    under which my own silence lay,
    I feel now as a heavy lie,
    a strong constraint, which to dismiss
    courts forceful punishment:
    the verdict of “Antisemitism” is well known.

    But now, when my own country,
    guilty of primal and unequalled crimes
    for which time and again it must be tasked—
    once again, in pure commerce,
    though with quick lips we declare it
    reparations, wants to send
    Israel yet another submarine—
    one whose speciality is to deliver
    warheads capable of ending all life
    where the existence of even one
    nuclear weapon remains unproven,
    but where suspicion serves for proof—
    now I say what must be said.

    But why was I silent for so long?
    Because I thought my origin,
    marked with an ineradicable stain,
    forbade mention of this fact
    as definite truth about Israel, a country
    to which I am and will remain attached.

    Why is it only now I say,
    in old age, with my last drop of ink,
    that Israel’s nuclear power endangers
    an already fragile world peace?
    Because what by tomorrow might be
    too late, must be spoken now,
    and because we—as Germans, already
    burdened enough—could become
    enablers of a crime, foreseeable and therefore
    not to be eradicated
    with any of the usual excuses.

    And admittedly: I’m silent no more
    because I’ve had it with the West’s hypocrisy
    —and one can hope that many others too
    may free themselves from silence,
    challenge the instigator of known danger
    to abstain from violence,
    and at the same time demand
    a permanent and unrestrained control
    of Israel’s atomic power
    and Iranian nuclear plants
    by an international authority
    accepted by both governments.

    Only thus can one give help
    to Israelis and Palestinians—still more,
    all the peoples, neighbour-enemies
    living in this region occupied by madness
    —and finally, to ourselves as well.

    http://pulsemedia.org/2012/04/07/what-must-be-said/

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