The Great Awakening of 2018: Change will come when people wake up to this reality

Guest Post By  J. Glenn Evans

 

Author’s Note: this was not written for sound-biters, but for critical thinkers and activists not afraid to get off their rumps and do things. Some parts might seem repetitious but this is intentional to drive home important points that should be remembered. Many of the stated positions are to be taken as objectives that we must accomplish. Let’s quit being sheep and start acting like wolves for justice.

In earlier times the 1% conned us into believing that kings and their nobles had a divine right to rule, and they came to own most of the good land while the rest of us were their serfs. Finally, when some people woke up and chopped off a few heads, the so-called elites would re-emerge with the divine right of the free market and capitalism disguised as democracy. Now we are right back there again with 1% owning the hog share, while the rest of us scramble to feed our families and pay their exorbitant rents and interest rates.

We now have global warming and an exploding human population that is crowding out many other forms of life. We have a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We have super snooping into our personal lives with the excuse they are fighting terrorism, something they created messing around and exploiting the rest of the world. We have no more time to philosophize about our problems.  We must act now; thus the short deadline of 2018 for the great awakening of the peoples of the world.

The great awakening of 2018 will come because many peoples of the world have come to realize the terrible perils we face. We are at this juncture because of the inaction of our governments to correct the abuses that have brought us to this point. Being lapdogs of the wealthy, they dare not disturb profits. With civilization we have given up a portion of our authority to governments in order to maintain peace, order and a workable society. Because of a powerful few our governments have failed to deliver this service. Each person is born with a sovereign soul and life is sacred.  Each of us regardless of how poor we are, we have as much right to be here on earth as anybody else and have a right to sustenance of basic necessities. We will no longer tolerate a few rich grabbers who have more than their share of the earth’s resources. Their greed for more power and wealth has been destroying the earth and its ability to provide for us.

The elites consider property sacred, yet treat it as a commodity. The right to shelter has been lost in the market as part of that commodity.

We the peoples of the world demand a revised UN charter with the power to control rogue nations that torture and abuse human rights. They must hold accountable those individuals responsible for these abuses. Torture, abuse of human rights, war-making against our fellow human beings and the creation of killing machines are hereby outlawed. Disputes must be settled by the UN and world courts.

The hungry look on and are not fed. That is the nature of this capitalistic world in which we live. Competition in sports is fine and healthy exercise, but it does not work so well in the everyday business of providing people’s basic needs. People fall out of work and have little or no way to take care of their family because all of the resources are privately owned by someone else. We are born with the right to life and that means the right to sustenance of food, shelter, medical care, and education. If we are able to work and apply our talents to serve the needs of our family and other members of the community and private industry fails to provide employment, work should be provided by society to serve the needs of the community.

When a small number of people own 50% of the resources and leave others wanting, it is time we take corrective action.

In nature resources are for the taking by those who need them and nature in the past has always been generous before the greedy started grabbing more than they needed for their own sustenance. This great inequality brought by modern civilization is not only immoral but is criminal. Think back to Charles Dickens’ times and recognize that such despair is not far away.  Again, resources of this world are for all life, and not reserved for a few rich grabbers.  Why should certain individuals have enough for a thousand lifetimes and a thousand families go hungry and unsheltered?  Such disparity is unjust and enrages one’s senses at this injustice.  It is time for an equalization tax to break up these huge estates at change of generations.  Anything in excess of $10 million in value left to one individual should be taxed at 95%.  If they don’t want to pay this higher rate they can spread their legacy around and pay the normal rate of taxes for the lower level. Since they have made homes a commodity to speculate on, we need to provide more public housing.

The yield from estate taxes can be used for the common good to create shelters and means of sustenance for those in need and to repair the damages that the age of greed has created.  As a part of this new world, the rising human population must be brought under control and reduced to a level that mother Earth can sustain. Birth control can be facilitated by tax incentives and free access to contraceptives. Otherwise birth control becomes a matter of legal control in which no person can exceed more than one birth per two people during their lifetime.  This method may require two or three generations to reach a sustainable level. Birthrights cannot be sold or traded. Women’s reproductive rights shall be protected. Once a sustainable level has been reached two children or more per couple of people may be permitted. If population growth again exceeds sustainable levels, limitations must be reinstalled. It shall be the responsibility of community or governments to set aside sufficient resources for the aged and incapacitated, thus no longer requiring children to take care of the aged.

There should be no unemployment when there are so many unfilled needs.  We have enough work to keep everyone employed to earn their keep. In between job assignments, workers can be pensioned until employment found or established. During this period they can do voluntary work or assignments as needed by the community. When private industry fails, the community should take on this responsibility. Resources are there in the community to take care of the helpless, the disabled and the old. We humans are all family.  No one should go hungry or unsheltered.  It is not a matter of lack of resources, it is a matter of what we spend them on. Too much money is wasted on useless non-productive war and self-aggrandizement of the few.

RESOURCES OF THE WORLD

We the people recognize that resources of the world are here for all life and not reserved for a few rich grabbers. It does not make sense for a few people to control and claim ownership of resources for a thousand lifetimes and thousands of people are in need of food and shelter, let alone healthcare and education.  This leaves the peoples of the world with two choices.  One such choice, as done during the French revolution: chopping off of exploiters heads and their assets confiscated for the common good. Unfortunately, with no change in the system other rulers rise and with their new power replace the lost heads.  After a short time we are right back where we started.  Obviously that choice is not a good idea.  A far more sensible way to bring change to the system is to allow people to control their destiny under a constitution that protects the rights of individuals and minorities regardless of creed or gender.  We must amend the current gross inequities that have developed in the world.  A strong united people’s movement through a People’s Congress will put pressure on the present governments to build alternative sources of self-sufficiency to serve people’s needs. We will break the financial and monopolistic corporate control that have brought about these gross inequities.  Any violence will most likely come from the 1% seeking to keep their power. With their power and wealth they will try to use our own people against us. Without us the 1% have no real power.  We are the ultimate power. Change will come, when people wake up to this reality.

Power never gives up power without a fight. We the people must take our sovereign power back that has been usurped from us.  The only way we can do this is unite. By uniting we can bring change with justice for all without violence on our part. Those in power will probably attempt violence against people.  Nevertheless we will overcome them if we unite.  No government, not even a dictatorship, can survive if the people refuse to cooperate with them.  They will try to divide and make us work against each other as they have always controlled the masses in the past.  This time we will be smart enough to not let that happen.

A CHANCE TO PROSPER

Until the people regain control of their governments there will be no economic, social or political justice.  Our purpose shall be to unite People’s Congresses for each nation and each nation sends delegates to an International People’s Congress.  By organizing we shall have power to create truly democratic and just governments that provide for the general well-being of all people regardless of race, culture or creed.  We will eliminate this gross inequality that unregulated capitalism has brought to the world.  The time for change is now if we are to save our world.

We encourage personal initiative.  We want to see that all people who apply themselves have an opportunity for a good education and a chance to prosper.  Opportunities shall be developed for people to use their energy and talent to serve the needs of people and receive fair compensation for their efforts.  If powerful corporate interests stand in the way they shall be taken into public ownership.  Businesses are established to serve people; not people to serve business.

Generational change seems to be the best time to make adjustments.  As mentioned previously, resources of this earth are here for all life.  As a first step it is suggested that on any legacy that exceeds $10 million that is left to one individual, the excess should be taxed at 95%.  If this does not correct the problem the limit will be reduced to $5 million dollars.  To circumvent this, wealth can no longer be squirreled away in private corporations and foundations that exceed these personal limits.  Why should rich people’s children have such a great advantage of accumulated wealth over all our other kids?  All people are a resource for good when provided with opportunities.  Some of the greatest advances have come from the offspring of poor folks when allowed to apply their talent and energy.  Their great advances have benefited all and future generations.  Monopolistic corporations create gatekeepers and sycophants that freeze out independent talent. If we continue on the present trend with no change in the system, great wealth shall face greater risk of loss than their power and money.  Look at history.

SOVEREIGNTY OF NATION-STATES

Absolute Sovereignty has become outdated. Nation-States have become little more than warring bands creating havoc in the world to satisfy the greed of a few exploiting the many.  It is time we modernize our political systems.  With modern communication and globalization we have become one world.  That is not saying we all have to be alike. Cultural differences make us human.  We will no longer tolerate Nation-States who abuse human rights such as torture, incarceration without a fair trial and war-making.  A true and powerful United Nations must be set up that will provide true justice for all nations of the world. It must no longer be controlled by the victors of World War II, but must become a world democracy of people. It is either this, with a modernized UN with power and authority to hold accountable rogue officials of Nation-States who are responsible for these crimes, or we the peoples of the world must take control. These crimes of torture, abuse of human rights and war-making  will no longer be tolerated, regardless of how powerful the nation they represent. National armies except for National Guard units for internal emergencies shall be abolished and resources used for constructive purposes. The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights shall be paramount. Otherwise, we the people will organize our own united peoples of the world to assure justice among all people and nations. Capitalism and Nation-States face up. We the peoples of the world will no longer tolerate your crimes.

States do not give life, therefore, they may no longer take life. The death penalty shall be abolished worldwide. Incarceration for individuals who are truly a threat to society is permissible. Other incarcerations are for training and rehabilitation, not chambers of torture and abuse. Incarcerations are a state function accountable to elected officials.  Prisons controlled by private enterprise, making money on people’s misery will no longer be tolerated. Those individuals responsible for committing abuses of human rights and war-making  shall be held personably accountable by the UN or a new International People’s Congress, who shall have the constitutional power to arrest them and remove them from power.

INTERNATIONAL REGULATION

International commerce and banking must come under worldwide control and be regulated by the UN. Henceforth UN representatives shall be elected by the peoples of their respective nations and be subject to recall by those who elected them. They must no longer be appointed by government officials, too often shielded from public wishes. Nation-States shall be free to regulate business and commerce within their own borders. Companies and corporations dealing in international trade with more than 10% of their gross income must come under the regulation of the family of nations, UN or its replacement for that international trade. This international body shall have the power to protect earth rights, the world commons, the air and the waters of the oceans.

With weapons of mass destruction the world has become far too dangerous to allow nation states to make war and pollute with nuclear waste. Nation-States must settle their differences by an international world court under the control of the UN or its replacement. Peoples of the world will no longer tolerate a few people leading them into total destruction. If powerful Nation-States persist in trying to rule the world by military might or financial control their leaders by law become international outlaws. Such Nation-States must change or be broken up into smaller states. National borders will be determined by people living within those borders. Without the threat of war, smaller Nation-States, under protection of the UN or its replacement, can function and rule themselves locally, but be monitored to prevent abuse of human rights.

 We, the peoples of the world, must accept responsibility for war refugees and victims of global warming, because we are all humans. They are our responsibility because we the people have tolerated the abuses of the few who have plundered the world and made war on our fellow citizens for selfish interests to feed their greed. These exploiters are criminals and in the future shall be treated as such. Change is coming because the Great Awakening of 2018 is of all the peoples of the world.

INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS

We the people will form an International People’s Congress. Its purpose initially shall not be to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign nations except when certain crimes are committed. If those responsible are not held accountable by established government agencies of sovereign nations or the UN, the International People’s Congress will take steps to assure that the guilty are brought to justice and removed from power. It shall establish a judiciary with courts and staff and the authority to issue indictments and bring to trial individuals or officials of governments who abuse human rights or make war. The International People’s Congress shall accept the UN declaration of human rights as part of its constitution. Torture in any form of our fellow human beings and state murder shall be outlawed. Any nation for whatever reason, that deems itself unjustly treated, shall have the right to appeal to the UN to settle disputes. The taking of human life in execution or mutilation of body parts are hereby outlawed and those perpetuating such crimes shall be held accountable. If individuals are a danger to society they may be incarcerated under humane conditions after an open fair trial.

The People’s Congress shall have a Special Forces unit free to roam anyplace in the world to perform inspector general’s functions. They may take action as ordered by the tribunal court to bring offenders to justice with no statute of limitations.

 Initially the International People’s Congress must depend on voluntary support of the peoples of the world. Anyone representing any government who attempts to thwart the sovereignty of the people to organize and develop the People’s Congress by labeling them a terrorist or by any other means shall be held accountable. It is our constitutional right to rule ourselves. There will be no exceptions made for wealth or position in any country regardless of how powerful that country may be. Crimes against the earth shall be covered. The People’s Congresses are established as guardians of human rights and justice when established governments fail in their duties of this sacred trust. No person and no members of any government or corporate entity shall be exempt from their jurisdiction for torture and abuse of human rights.

With global warming, created by our own excessive consumerism, we have a responsibility for the victims who have lost their homes and way of life due to this problem. We are also responsible for immigrants displaced by wars because we have tolerated war-making by our governments and supported them by serving in their armies. We shall no longer serve in predatory armies that kill others. Henceforth, we shall consider ourselves a family of humans regardless of race, religion or gender. We must start looking after each other. Our governments have mainly been taken over by the power-hungry 1% who don’t give a damn about ordinary people.

SECTION I—PURPOSE OF THE PEOPLE’S CONGRESS

This is an actual quote from our Declaration of Independence, “WE hold these truths to be self-evident, That all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness–That to secure these Rights, Governments are Instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

We certainly have no desire to destroy our present government, but to correct its abuses, amend its ways to better serve the best interests all of our citizens and make it a better world citizen. The purpose of the People’s Congress shall not be to replace the established government but to monitor their actions and keep its members informed and create pressure on members of the established government to properly perform their duties for the best interests of the people.  If they do not perform for the people, we may rally support for independents and alternate parties who will. In some situations we will support our own candidates. No party bosses, but the will of the people rule. The main element of our constitution shall be the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

It is generally understood that the present governments of most countries of the world have been usurped by major corporations, banking, other financial interests, and so-called elite groups of rulers who no longer look after the best interests of the ordinary people of their countries. Their laws and the enforcement of their laws abuse and leave our citizens with few resources to provide for their basic needs.  With the laws and enforcement power of the governments under their control, and the 1% owning most of the resources, they exploit the citizens of most countries of the world. They have been doing so throughout most of history. But this will cease, when people wake up.

SECTION II—STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE’S CONGRESSES

(1)—The smallest unit shall be a sub council of the various districts of a city. This can be neighbors or a group of friends who send delegates to the next highest council.

 (2)—The next unit shall be the various districts of the city represented by at least one delegate from each of the registered sub councils.

(3)—The next unit shall be the city represented by one or two delegates from the various districts of the city.

(4)—The next unit shall be the county represented by one or two delegates from each city within the county.

(5)—The next unit shall be the state represented by one or two delegates from each county within the state.

(6)— The next unit shall be the nation represented by one or two delegates from each state.

(7)—The next unit shall be the International People’s Congress represented by one or two delegates from each Nation-State.

Our delegates will have an important responsibility to keep the members of their respective councils fully informed of actions taken and pass on information that comes down from higher councils. Delegates can be recalled and replaced anytime by members of the council that elected them. No more gerrymandering, we shall use established units of government as breakdown of councils.

SECTION III—MEMBERSHIP AND VOTING

We must recognize that voting is a right not a privilege. All races and genders shall have equal rights. All actions shall be democratic. Minimal age of voting members shall be 18 years, but citizens of lesser age are encouraged to have a voice and present their ideas. We shall operate under the will of the majority but always paying respect and attention to the ideas and thoughts of the minority. Voting is a right, not a privilege. Such a right carries with it the responsibility of citizenship. That means we have the obligation to make ourselves aware of civic matters and to vote. If you are of legal age you have the right to vote in or out of jail regardless of what the present laws say. Laws that are made affect us all, therefore it is our right to have a say in the making of such laws through our vote for representatives. Why should we owe allegiance to a government that denies us the right to vote? One day those who deny this right to vote shall be held accountable.

 

SECTION IV—ELECTED OFFICERS OF EACH COUNCIL UNIT SHALL BE

Chairperson

Vice chairperson

Secretary

Treasurer

Delegate or delegates to next highest council

 

SECTION V—MEMBERSHIP FEES

Since there are always costs and this is a citizen’s congress and we do not have taxing authority, minimum membership fees are suggested at $1.00 per month and donations are accepted from members willing and able to contribute more, but no member shall be denied the right to vote for lack of funds.  It shall be the policy of each council to pass one-half of their revenues on to the next highest council.

 

SECTION VI–CONSTITUTION

A committee to reformulate a constitution shall be set up to incorporate the above ideas, The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights shall be basic. Let us bear in mind the example of the briefness of the Ten Commandments when making laws. A constitution should provide a working procedure, protect the minority and less powerful members from an unjust majority.  We shall follow the Constitution and make decisions on the basis of current problems and no longer be enslaved by decisions of previous generations through lawyer and judicial precedent.

SECTION VII—THE DEADLIEST DISEASE

Humanity is plagued by the deadliest disease that may well bring it to total destruction and possibly take a great deal of the other living creatures with it. Ordinarily, with a diseased part that can cause death the inflicted part is cut away and destroyed. With this disease this is not possible. Unfortunately, this malady is not even legally recognized as a deadly disease. Those so afflicted are often looked up to and even honored because of the positions they have achieved in life, often by unfair tactics. Many people would like to attain their stature.

It is urgent that society defend itself from this deadly disease before it is too late. If it cannot be brought under control then it must be quarantined before the rest of the world is impregnated and much of life as we know it is destroyed. If sick members can be cured and reprogrammed perhaps they can return to society. This deadly disease must be recognized for the damage it is causing and immediately brought under control. The common name for this disease is Greed. Some of the fatal damage Greed has caused is polluting our air, our water including the oceans, destroying our fertile soil, bringing on global warming as well as turning our people into corporate serfs. Therefore, since it is not possible to prune this disease or destroy the carrier, we must remove those afflicted from power.

SECTION VIII–DUTIES OF CITIZENSHIP

The great dream of justice and freedom for all is fading for all the world’s people. We the people have allowed this to happen. We continue to vote for the same old party hacks who have become toadies to big money. Once representatives get into office they love that position and power with its opportunities to receive the grace of the wealthy. They totally forget the purpose for which they were elected: to serve the best interests of the people and to assure that true peace and justice are administered. They become more interested in staying on the right side of big money. Their main motivation becomes reelection in order to further their careers and keep that power. Instead of passing laws that correct problems to serve their constituents, they serve the demands of big money.

With the Great Awakening of 2018 these self-seekers will be out. Peoples of the world, the 99%, have said, “No more. We want democracy and we demand it right now. We recognize our sovereign rights to rule ourselves.”

Experience has proven that running a country from the top down, the people get shafted. Everyone of legal age has the right and duty of a citizen to vote. No one has the right to say you cannot vote if you are of legal age. Voting is not a privilege of the few but the right and duty of all citizens since laws that are passed affect us all. We don’t need professional politicians who think they own elected offices. While in elected positions it is our duty to do what is best for the common good and show respect for the rest of the world. We are all citizens of the world as well as citizens of our own respective countries. We will cooperate and support the UN in its duties to assure peace and justice for all countries and their citizens.

IN CONCLUSION

The self-seeking people who run our country today are an insult to those true patriots who fought the Revolution and the founding fathers who developed a constitution creating a republic that set out to create peace and justice for all and made true history in a world of monarchs.

No more will we the people tolerate the evil spirit that has gained control of America. The greed of the few to be all powerful and control the world has made America the new monster. Instead of using our power to assure peace and justice for all peoples of the world, we have constantly engaged in wars of conquest, even killed leaders of other countries when we feel they are a threat to our interests to control resources and markets of other countries.

Conflicts in the future must be settled by courts of law with no more wars permitted. Resources are too limited to permit such waste. Leaders who perpetuate war and commit war crimes shall be held accountable. You cannot prosecute a whole country for the crimes of a few, but you can hold leaders and executives of companies that commit crimes accountable. That includes those who build and supply killing machines.

We must not hate the 1%. They are fellow human beings just like us. But for the grace of God we might be just like them. They are afflicted by greed for the power and wealth over others. They see life on earth in a different way. They are ruled by the theory of compete and beat rather than cooperate and share. They are not hopeless. Some of them do change and bring about good works that help others. Let us help them to grow wiser and assist us to bring change to build a better world and repair the damage that greed has caused.

For a peaceable world each of our nations should strive to be self-sufficient in the basic needs of their citizens. They should trade only excess production not needed for their own citizens. If every country were self-sufficient in their basic needs they would not need to concern themselves with trade balances. We must change the world to help all people to prosper and take care of their own citizens and eliminate all wars. Debt is another form of slavery. We must work to eliminate it between nations as well as among people. Elimination of wars and self-sufficiency of individual nations will bring this success. We must quit honoring the predators and war-makers who are criminals. Let’s pay our respect to the peacemakers and those who serve humanity with their talents and creative ability. Let each of us start acting like sovereign souls, join up with our fellow citizens of the world, organize in Peoples Congresses and create the necessary changes that will help our world to survive. Talk to people, your friends and neighbors, discuss, circulate this document. Organize sub councils in your city district and send a delegate to the next highest council. That’s a start so let’s get organized NOW.

Copyleft 2016 J. Glenn Evans

(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

J. Glenn Evans

Founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of three novels, Broker Jim, Zeke’s Revenge, Wayfarers with a fourth novel, The Last Lumber Baron and a poetry book, The Feast—Reflections on War as works in process.  Evans is a former stockbroker-investment banker.  Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma.  Lived in Seattle 54 years and since December of 2014 has resided in Olympia, Washington.  Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, The Story of a Cowboy Angel with Mark Miller and co-starring Slim Pickens.  Evans, an award-wining poet and in addition to poetry books and novels, has written numerous political essays and is the author of several local community histories including a history of Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  Has been published in many literary journals.  Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

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Impossible to laugh

Hey, Look, the Abyss!

Years ago, in Germany, my wife and I waited
For a train to visit Dachau. So morbid, so strange
To be a tourist of genocide, especially as descendants
Of the Native American genocide. So morbid,

So strange to take a fucking train to Dachau, as if
It were part of the show. And, damn, how I laughed
And laughed when the train, due to arrive at 11:25 a.m.,
Arrived at exactly 11:25 a.m. “In Germany,” I said

To my wife, “the trains should never arrive on time.”
I have previously written a poem about being a tourist
Of genocide—about visiting Dachau—but I wonder
How the experience has changed. I imagine the tourists

Now take solemn selfies in Dachau. Though a few idiots
Must take smiling snapshots, too, as in, “Look at me!
I think genocide is an amusement park!” Hell, maybe
Genocide, dripping with objectification and commerce, is

An amusement park. And now I have to again laugh
At the oxymoronic concept of “German amusement.”
Talk about a tough crowd. I spent a week in Munich
And Berlin failing to make Germans laugh. I know

There are funny people in Germany but I never met
Any of them. In a theatre with 300 Germans, I joked
About my fear of prompt trains to Dachau and nobody
Laughed, though one man stood and said, “Geronimo

And his Apache people were put on terrible trains
In Arizona and many died on the long journey
To Florida.” And I said, “Yes, but it’s the United States,
So I know those genocide trains were running late.”

Nobody laughed! And, okay, maybe the joke isn’t funny.
Maybe it’s too morbid and strange. Maybe Germany takes
Genocide, and the fear of genocide happening again,
So seriously that it is impossible to laugh. Okay, okay,

I understand that, but didn’t the Germans genocide
The funniest people on the planet? And now, maybe,
Some of you are thinking, “Sherman, you are trading
In racial stereotypes. Not all Jewish people are funny.”

And to that, I say, “Milton Fucking Berle.” I say, “Joan
Fucking Rivers.” I say, “I think it might be permissible
To accuse Jewish people of inventing funny.” And now
I remember Billy Crystal emceeing a fundraiser

For the Museum of Tolerance, and advising the crowd
To “never ask a Jew to be part of a pyramid scheme.”
We all laughed. Billy Crystal laughed at his own joke.
“Sorry,” he said. “That was new. I mean, the pyramids

Are old. But the joke is new.” Funny, funny. I know
There are scientific reasons why humans laugh in the face
Of tragedy. But science isn’t funny! Funny isn’t reasonable!
Funny takes a shit on your welcome mat! So now I think

Of the German comedian, Jan Bohmermann, who mocked
The President of Turkey
on German television with a funny poem
About “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds, and slapping
Christians.” First of all, you’re thinking, “German comedian?

Really?” Secondly, you’re thinking, “Funny poem?
Really?” And, really, I cannot tell you if Bohmermann
Or his poem is funny. But I can tell you that he is now
Being prosecuted in Germany for mocking “a representative

Of a foreign state.” The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel,
Had to give permission for Bohmermann to be prosecuted,
In a German fucking court, for mocking the President
Of Turkey, who was deeply offended by the funny poem.

Can you imagine Obama giving permission for me
To be prosecuted inside the United States for mocking
Angela Merkel and the President of Turkey
Inside this poem? Well, I can imagine Cruz or Trump

Prosecuting me for mocking Cruz or Trump
But I am talking about Germany and Turkey.
I am talking about Angela Merkel,
Who is kissing the ass of the Turkish President

So he might close his borders and stem the flow
Of Syrian refugees into the European Union.
What the fuck can I say about any of this horrific shit?
I’m powerless, as are all of you. But it does remind me

Of my time in Germany, as I kept thinking, “Germany
Is so paranoid about the Holocaust because they know,
Consciously and/or subconsciously, that they would do it
Again. And again. And again. And again. Depending

On the random spin of world events. Depending
On expediency.” And now, here, I must point out
That genocide is always happening somewhere
In this amusement park called Earth. I think

Of Primo Levi. I think of Geronimo. I think
Of Syrians, Tutsi, Bosnians, Croatians, Maori—
Of the indigenous people from everywhere.
Too many victims to fully name and count.

So many, so many. I think of the Armenians
Genocided by the Turks. I think of how Turkey
Officially denies that they genocided Armenians.
Hell, you can be imprisoned in Turkey

For believing that Turkey genocided Armenians,
For stating that belief out loud.
And now I recall my evening
with a white American liberal woman—

The dinner with me was a fundraiser prize
For a local Gay Film Festival. That liberal American
Brought three friends to the dinner. And I also
Brought a friend as potential armor

Against strangers. But it was a lovely evening,
With great food and great company and great politics.
We talked about the continual oppression
Of gay people. And the white liberal woman, a straight ally

Like me, lamented the genocidal history
Of the United States. And I said, “Well, the USA denies
It genocided us Native Americans. In the same way
Turkey denies it genocided the Armenians.”

And the white liberal American woman, suddenly
Enraged, cursed at me for vilifying Turkish people
And canonizing Armenians. She screamed
About the beauty and grace of Turkish people

And Turkish culture. And I said, “I have no doubts
About the beauty and grace of Turkish people.
I’m absolutely positive that Turkish people are
Beautiful and graceful. But I’m also absolutely positive

That, throughout human history, all manner
Of beautiful and graceful people have actively
Or passively participated in the genocide
Of other beautiful and graceful people.”

Of course, that dinner ended soon after
Our argument. But I remained disturbed
For weeks. I couldn’t understand why
A liberal American would defend Turkey

And its human rights history. And then I learned
That white American woman had married
And divorced a Turkish man. It was a good
Divorce. She and her ex-husband happily

Co-parented their half-Turkish children.
And then I understood. She defended Turkey
Because of love. And isn’t that how it goes?
We think genocide happens because of hate.

And I suppose that’s how genocide begins.
But genocide persists because of love.
Because genocidal people are so convinced
Of their own beauty and grace.

Because genocidal people are so tender
To one another that they couldn’t possibly
Be wrong about their cruelty to others.
Because genocidal people have mothers

And fathers who love them. Because
Genocidal people look in the mirror
And see their ordinary faces. Because
The ordinary don’t commit genocide.

Because it’s only the epic monsters
Who commit genocide. But that’s not true.
Who are the monsters? Well, shit, it’s me
And you. And you. And you. And you. And you.

Sacrifice Everything: Storyteller

To be a Storyteller, then, is to assume that awesome burden of remembrance for a people, and to perform this paramount role with laughter and tears, joys and sadness, melancholy and passion, as the occasion demands. The Storyteller never wholly belongs to himself or herself. The Storyteller is the one who sacrifices everything in the tellings and retellings belonging to the tribe… (Williams, 1995, page XI) Racial Battle Fatigue in Higher Education, Indigenous Peoples in Racial Battle-lands.)

We Are All Visitors

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