ernie yacub on Fri, 1 Nov 2002 19:42:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Not in My Name - a moment, a day, a year of silence

 Not in My Name
 Emmanuel Ortiz 9.11.02

 Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me in a moment of
 silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the
 Pentagon last September 11th.

 I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of
 those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or
 killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in both
 Afghanistan and the U.S.

 And if I could just add one more thing
 A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have
 died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over
 decades of occupation.

 Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly
 children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an
 11-year U.S. embargo against the country.

 Before I begin this poem, two months of silence for the Blacks under
 Apartheid in South Africa, where homeland security made them aliens in
 their own country

 Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death
 rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin
 and the survivors went on as if alive.

 A year of silence for the millions of dead in Viet Nam - a people, not a
 war - for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel,
 their relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it.

 A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret
 war ...  ssssshhhhh .... Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that
 they are dead.

 Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia, whose names,
 like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our

 Before I begin this poem,
 An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
 An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
 Two days of silence for the Guetmaltecos ...
 None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
 45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas
 25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found their
 far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.  There
 will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
 And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees
 in the south, the north, the east, and the west ... 100 years of silence
 For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right
 Whose land and lives were stolen,
 In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek,
 Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.
 Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our
 consciousness ...

 So you want a moment of silence?
 And we are all left speechless
 Our tongues snatched from our mouths
 Our eyes stapled shut

 A moment of silence
 And the poets have all been laid to rest
 The drums disintegrating into dust

 Before I begin this poem,
 You want a moment of silence
 You mourn now as if the world will never be the same

 And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
 Not like it always has been

 Because this is not a 9-1-1 poem
 This is a 9/10 poem,
 It is a 9/9 poem,
 A 9/8 poem,
 A 9/7 poem

 This is a 1492 poem.
 This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written

 And if this is a 9/11 poem, then
 This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971
 This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977
 This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York,

 This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.
 This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
 This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
 The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
 The 110 stories that that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek
 This is a poem for interrupting this program.

 And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
 We could give you lifetimes of empty:
 The unmarked graves
 The lost languages
 The uprooted trees and histories
 The dead stares on the faces of nameless children

 Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
 Or just long enough to hunger,
 For the dust to bury us
 And you would still ask us
 For more of our silence.

 If you want a moment of silence
 Then stop the oil pumps
 Turn off the engines and the televisions
 Sink the cruise ships
 Crash the stock markets
 Unplug the marquee lights,
 Delete the instant messages,
 Derail the trains, the light rail transit
 If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco
 And pay the workers for wages lost
 Tear down the liquor stores,
 The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the Penthouses and the

 If you want a moment of silence,
 Then take it
 On Super Bowl Sunday,
 The Fourth of July
 During Dayton's 13 hour sale
 Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful people
 have gathered

 You want a moment of silence
 Then take it
 Before this poem begins.
 Here, in the echo of my voice,
 In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand
 In the space between bodies in embrace,
 Here is your silence
 Take it.
 But take it all
 Don't cut in line.
 Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.

 But we,
 Tonight we will keep right on singing
 For our dead.

   - Emmanuel Ortiz 9.11.02

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