quinta-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2006

I. Far away from home…

As we approach Christmas Day I cannot help thinking about those who – either willingly or unwillingly – are about to spend the Magic Night and the Joyful Day far away from their homes and from their beloved ones.

There are Portuguese in several parts of the world – Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Afghanistan, East-Timor, as there are also British, Americans, Canadians, French, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, other nationalities, for sure, in other parts as well.

Although I've always been a genuine pacifist, Christmas is the right moment for me to think of those who mainly are most of the time pawns in others' games and schemes. Yes, cannon meat! Some hours ago I heard in the news G. W. Bush is sending more young Americans to Iraq…

It's a shame, and yet true – oh so true – that so many people still don't want to know the meaning of "Give Peace a Chance".

By Michael Marks
December 7.th, 2000

«The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight;
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight;
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
In perfect contentment or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear;
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near;
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold;
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line
That separates you from the darkest of times;
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

"My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram' always remembers;
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it's my turn and so, here I am.

"I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile;"
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone
Away from my family, my house and my home;
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

"I can carry the weight of killing another
Or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To insure for all time that this flag will not fall.

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

"For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."»


Thank you very much, Gray, for the inspiration! I certainly wouldn't have thought of it any other way.


6 comentários:

Joel disse...

That's very thoughtful but people don't seem to do much.

How is it that in our day and age we still resume to such a barbaric act?

I think we'll need another peace demonstration in front of the white house.

Can't somebody stop this?

Anónimo disse...

Bela homenagem, sem dúvida.
Mas eu acrescentaria tantos outros: sem abrigo,doentes,prisioneiros, prostitutas...
Por tudo isso, o Natal me faz pensar, cada vez mais, na inversa proporção da forma como o vivo.
Um bom Natal para ti, meu recente mas já bom Amigo.

RIC disse...

Hello Joel! Well, I try to do my part; others will do what they feel they have to do. I cannot do much more...
People aren't that much interested or even concerned. As I have been noticing in the bloggosphere, people just go on counting the months left for Bush to leave the WH... If you ask me, I'll tell you that's definitely not enough.
And it won't stop, because billions and billions of dollars are at stake as far as weapons are concerned.
Thank you, dear friend!

RIC disse...

Obrigado, João! O soldado é aqui elemento simbólico da ausência/inexistência do lar.
Feliz Natal para ti também, meu caro João!

Gray disse...

Ric, in your comment to Joel you mentioned about the billions of dollars in weapons. Please don't forget about the billions of dollars in oil!

In our modern world, the oil barons from all nations are responsible for more of the carnage than most people and/or politicians are likely to ever admit!

Also: This was very thoughtful of you. No matter what country a young service man or woman is from, they are at the mercy of their leaders AND circumstances.

We can only blame Bush for the Iraq situation. Other leaders, as well as the United Nations, deserve their share of blame for their own lunacy!


RIC disse...

Hello Gray! I'm delighted with your comment! Thank you!
Weapons barons and oil barons, they all work for the same department...
As to the UN, I believe there are quite obvious reasons why it doesn't work as it should: the very same barons just don't want it to work. So it doesn't work. Power is with the money, not with the ideas...
Best wishes! Hope you're okay now!