What must be said

Following is a translation by Michael Keefer and Nica Mintz of Günter Grass’s “Was gesagt werden muss”, which we posted earlier. It is the best by far; it manages to preserve the poetic intent without sacrificing precision.

(UPDATE: Financial Times, German edition, is carrying out a poll to assess people’s view of Grass’s poem. We would encourage readers to take the time to vote. )

What Must be Said

By Günter Grass

Why have I kept silent, silent for too long
over what is openly played out
in war games at the end of which we
the survivors are at best footnotes.

It’s that claim of a right to first strike
against those who under a loudmouth’s thumb
are pushed into organized cheering—
a strike to snuff out the Iranian people
on suspicion that under his influence
an atom bomb’s being built.

But why do I forbid myself
to name that other land in which
for years—although kept secret—
a usable nuclear capability has grown
beyond all control, because
no scrutiny is allowed.

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Death Squads versus Democracy

by Prof. Michael Keefer

Right-wing Canadian pundit Tom Flanagan contemplating Julian Assange's assassination.

Tom Flanagan, University of Calgary political science professor, right-wing pundit, and mentor and former senior adviser to Prime Minister Harper, has earned himself more international media attention during the past week than even he may have an appetite for.

On November 30th, Flanagan spoke as one of the regular panelists on CBC Television’s national political analysis program, Power and Politics with Evan Solomon. Staring into the camera, while across the bottom of the television screen there appeared a banner reading “WIKILEAKS LATEST: New document mentions PM Stephen Harper,” Flanagan had this to say about Julian Assange, the founder and editor of Wikileaks:

Well, I think Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.

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