Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Zinn on Writers and Resistance

Since I am currently writing a personal essay on my self-identity as Anabaptist and Poet, I would like to post more (see previous post) from Howard Zinn's recent article "Rise Like Lions, Writers and Resistance," at Poets Against the War.

Speaking to the heart of what is surely on many minds today as they go out to vote, Zinn says:
The barrage of film and books glorifying World War II (The Greatest Generation, Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, Flags of Our Fathers, and more) comes at a time when it is necessary for the Establishment to do what it must periodically do, try to wipe out of the public mind the ugly stain of the war in Vietnam, and now that the aura around the Gulf War has turned sour, to forget that too. A justification is needed for the enormous military budget, and so the good war, the best war, is trundled out to give war a good name.

Saying "At such a time, our polemical prose is not enough. We need the power of song, of poetry to remind us of truths deeper than the political slogans of the day," Zinn then quotes Bob Dylan's "Masters of War":

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul...

More quotes worth repetition here:
The great writers could see through the fog of what was called "“patriotism", what was considered "loyalty."

"I am an enemy of the existing order."” (George Bernard Shaw)

Zinn does not mention William Stafford, but he could. Stafford said:
I belong to a small fanatical sect...We believe that current ways of carrying on world affairs are malignant. We believe that armies, and the kind of international dealings based on armed might, will be self­perpetuating to a certain point—and that point may bring annihilation. Armies are a result of obsolete ways—just as gibbets are, and as thumbscrews are, and leper windows. (from Every War Has Two Losers)

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