November 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A friend sent me this. Terrific, really.
November 7, 2013 § 8 Comments
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.–
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
November 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Hannah Arendt was not afraid of making a few jokes. I thank her for it. We, the Refugees has a peculiar but particular beat. Humorous in its own way. I hope you, dear reader, take a moment to read it. Or skim it. Here is an alternate link. She alights from one gem to another. “No, there is something wrong with our optimism. There are those odd optimists among us who, having made a lot of optimistic speeches, go home and turn on the gas or make use of a skyscraper in quite an unexpected way.” Then, at another point, “One may be surprised that the apparent uselessness of all our odd disguises has not yet been able to discourage us.”
It is surprising to me that her essay does not have a more substantial audience. It’s never been more relevant. It seems exactly like the type of document a professor, perhaps exploring marginal viewpoints in history (migrant farmworkers, anyone?), would use in his or her lecture. Maybe her whiteness precludes her from serious consideration. Oh well. Here is Giorgio Agamben.
The reasons for this impotence lie not only in the selfishness and blindness of bureaucratic machines, but in the basic notions themselves that regulate the inscription of the native (that is, of life) in the legal order of the nation-state.
That there is no autonomous space within the political order of the nation-state for something like the pure man in himself is evident at least in the fact that, even in the best of cases, the status of the refugee is always considered a temporary condition that should lead either to naturalization or to repatriation. A permanent status of man in himself is inconceivable for the law of the nation-state.
Anyhow, happy reading.