Propaganda

It didn’t start with the gas chambers
or even the forced labour camps

before either of those
there was hatred from the masses

but it didn’t start with hatred from the masses
before that was paranoia
and before even that, there was fear from the masses
…of losing jobs
…of losing identity
…that the race of others might somehow destroy them

but it didn’t even start with fear from the masses
before the masses had their fear
there was propaganda

propaganda fueled by the hatred and fear
of only a select few
but that propaganda was enough
to sow the seeds of fear, then paranoia, then hatred

and eventually, this allowed for labour camps
and ultimately, gas chambers

perhaps the masses didn’t know
what their mass hatred allowed
but still, they were culpable

and we say, we would never let that happen today

oh yes, we say that we would never let that happen
even as we worry that the refugee
who has lost everything
might secretly be plotting
to destroy us

~~

NaBloPoMo Day 25

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Dec.1 update – sharing this with dVerse for Open Link Night.  I recently wrote a poem about groaning train cars.  I was reminded by one reader that there have been atrocities both before and after the genocide in Germany during WWII.  This same reader may take issue with the fact that this poem clearly takes reference from the same place and time…however, I wanted to use that time-period to pose the question: how different are we from the masses under Hitler.  It seems to me that too many of us are just as susceptible to propaganda, and I worry that we might be heading down the same metaphorical road.

The Train Cars Groan

The train-cars groan as they are
filled to capacity and beyond
with men
with women
with children
who are being relocated to
their new home
their new jobs
their new reality

The train-cars groan
but not from the weight of the load

The train-cars groan as they
speed along the track
click click
click click
click click
progressing from the start
to the eventual finish of the journey
knowing that this is
merely one trip of many

The train-cars groan
but not from the weariness of many miles

The train-cars groan
as the passengers disembark
scared
confused
weeping
and as they are met
by the men who came to meet them

The train-cars groan
but not because not one passenger thanked them

The train-cars groan
as they read the sign
above the gates of the new town:
Arbeit Macht Frei

The train-cars groan
because they know
that there will be “work”
but the “free” is quite clearly a lie

~~

Arbeit Macht Frei – The sign above the Nazi deathcamp of Auschwitz.  Translation is “work makes free”.  This sign could not have been further from the truth for the countless number of men, women, and children who walked through those gates – many of whom were murdered in the gas chambers before they were even given a chance to “work”.  And those who were sent to do labour were worked, literally, to death.

NaBloPoMo Day 12 – Written in light of the fact that yesterday was Remembrance Day – and written in dedication to the millions of innocent men, women, and children who were casualties of hatred during Hitler’s reign of terror over anyone whom he didn’t like.

~~

Sharing this with dVerse for Open Link Night on Nov.17

International Day of Peace

Oh Lord, more than ever
we need Your peace
to descend upon this earth
You must weep
when young girls are kidnapped
and forced into marriages
that have nothing to do with love
or forced to sell their bodies
for someone else’s profit
you must weep
when schools must close
due to threats of violence
you must weep
when nations rage and go to war
over differences of opinion
you must weep
at domestic abuse
at bullying
at racism
at violence and hatred of all forms
Oh Yes, Lord
more than ever
we need your peace
to descend upon this earth

Ugly People

There are those who say that
the world has ugly people
and they’re right…
but they say that “ugly”
is the colour of skin or hair
or “ugly” is their religion
(or lack thereof)
or “ugly” is the
brand of clothes or
make of car that they drive
and in that, I say, they’re wrong
Oh yes, the world has ugly people
but it’s an ugly that bleeds out
from deep within their core:
an ugliness that is born
of hatred and prejudice
and discrimination.

I hate to see that the world
has so many ugly people
but most of all
I hate to see that
sometimes,

I
am ugly
too.

~~

Perhaps the first step to ending racism/prejudice/hatred of any sort is to recognize that most (if not all) of us are guilty to one degree or another…for only when we see the ugly in our own souls can we hope to make any sort of change in the world.

Skin

Is my value as a human merely based
on the colour of my carcass?
Is there no intrinsic value
in what lies beneath my pelt?
Is my hide all that matters?
Will you say that a coat of black
is worse or better than a coat
of white or brown or red?
Peak beneath my skin
and see who I really am
Let me see you for more
than your colour
or let me be flayed
and tanned
for if I am no more than the
tone of my flesh,
I am merely an animal
to be hunted and
turned into leather.

~~

Recent violence that appears to be racially motivated, and a history of marking people as “good” or “bad” based on nothing more than their exterior are the motives behind writing this piece. Usages of terms for animal skins is very deliberate, for that is what we are – animals – unless we can see each other for who we really are, and not just what we look like.

I’ve also decided to share this with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, as it seems to fit the Sunday mini-challenge of something deep within a shallow world.

Sky

sometimes, the sky is
dark. heavy.
with rain
and it seems the heavens
weep with sorrow

sometimes the clouds
exPLODE with sound.
angry. defiant.

sometimes heaven
erupts with fire
and it hurls with hatred
those flames to the earth below

but sometimes heaven
embraces us with warmth
as winter gives way to spring

sometimes the clouds
blush with a pallet of colour
when we catch them
kissing goodnight to the sun

and sure, sometimes the sky weeps
but when it is done,
it rejoices in life renewed.

sometimes, I see the sky
reflected in the eyes of my children

~~

written for dVerse Open Link Night

My Favorite Things

Maria sang of her favourite things
to the kids in her care in a
country on the brink of war
a place where fear and hatred were
the most commonly traded commodities
where you might get shot…or worse
for saying the wrong thing to the
wrong person…or simply having
the wrong last name

She sang of favourite things
in a world that was dark…a
world ruled by a man with a
silver tongue, a golden voice
and a soul as black as foulest hell

Her song couldn’t chase that
dark away, but it was a
beacon of hope that all might
someday, somehow
turn out all right in the end

I’ve got my favourite things too
things like freedom to worship
my God as I see fit
I can say what I want, even
criticize the government with
no fear of persecution

I can walk down the street and
greet those I meet
every race, colour, creed

I may not have post-war angst
like the beat generation and
for that I’m thankful.

One of my favourite things is
singing about my favourite things
in a land where I’ve got the freedom
to enjoy them.

~~

posted for the dVerse “Beat Poetry” prompt