Auckland vigil remembers the dead, celebrate's Bush's fall

Rose's poem was powerful
[In square brackets, italics: small amendments/updates by Rose Hollins, night of Tues Jan 20, 2009, as read to activists marking the end of George Bush's Reign of Terror, at US Consulate, Auckland.]


Emmanuel Ortiz, 2002

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honour of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
on September 11th, 2001.
I would also like to ask you
To offer up a moment
of silence
For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned,
tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes,
For the victims in both Afghanistan and the US

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
US-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.
[A silence for evermore for Gaza.
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 US
embargo against their country.
[And now for the millions, murdered since US invasion].

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
And the survivors went on as if alive.
A year of silence for the
millions of dead in Vietnam - 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 tongues.

Before I begin this poem.

An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos ...
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 graves far
deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.
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 here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek,
Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears, [Parihaka].
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 9/11 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,
This is a September 12th poem for Steve Biko in South Africa,
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison,
New York, 1971.

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 CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
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 Bell, [Starbucks, Rakon],
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 NOW,
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 [jump the queue].
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing...
For our dead.


- works with the Minnesota Alliance for the Indigenous Zapatistas (MAIZ) and Estación Libre ... a staff member of the Resource Centre of the Americas, the non-profit publisher of

Marx, Merrydyth and Jim rocked the gaff with songs of struggle and celebration
American socialist Robin spoke of the deep hatred for Bush and his policies from ordinary working class Americans, and pledged the fight would continue against war and imperialism in the Obama era.
Liz Williams from Justice for Palestine read a heartbreaking poem written by a young boy in Gaza.

Look into my eyes and tell me what you see?
You're blinded by our differences.My life makes no sense to you.
I'm the persecuted Palestinian.I'm the son of Palestine.
Each day you wake in tranquillity,No fears to cross your eyes.
Each day I wake in gratitude,Thanking God He let me rise.
You worry about your education
And the bills you have to pay.
I worry about my vulnerable life
And if I'll survive another day.
You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of Zionists.
I'm terrorized in my own land
And I'm the terrorist?
You think you know all about terrorism
But you don't know it the way I do,
So let me define the term for you,
And teach you what you thought you knew.
I've known terrorism for quite some time,
Fifty-five years and more.
It's the fruitless garden uprooted in my yard.
It's the bulldozer in front of my door.
Terrorism breathes the air I breathe.
It's the checkpoint on my way to school.
It's the curfew that jails me in my own home,
And the penalties of breaking that curfew rule.
Terrorism is the robbery of my land,
And the torture of my mother,
The imprisonment of my innocent father,
The bullet in my baby brother.
But I will not rest, I shall never settle
For the injustice my people endure.
Palestine is our land and there we'll remain
Until the day our homeland is secure.
And if that time shall never come,
Then we will never see a day of peace.
I will not be thrown from my own home,
Nor will my fight for justice cease.
And if I am killed, it will be in Filasteen in Palestine
It's written on my every breath.
So in your own patriotic words,
Give me liberty or give me death


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