Echos From Shadows of The Past…

“The Law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it.” – Bertolt Brecht

“A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he’ll give him six-pence. But the second time it’ll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he’ll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police.” – Bertolt Brecht

In 1933 the Nazis seized power, and like many German dissidents, the writer Bertolt Brecht had to leave. After several moves, he ended up in Denmark where he and his family accepted the offer of a house in a remote village. It was there that he penned an essay which quickly began appearing in different European cities. The journal responsible was Unsere Zeit (Our Times). It was even smuggled into Germany and distributed under a plain cover. The title “Statutes of Reich Association of German Writers.”

The actual title of this work was “Funf Schwierigkeiten beim schreiben der Wahrheit,” which translates to “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.

Brecht went on to say that if one chooses to oppose lies and ignorance, and to write the truth, there are five difficulties that you must overcome.

The real title of the essay was “Fünf Schwierigkeiten beim schreiben der Wahrheit,” or “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.” Brecht wrote:

“These days, if you want to struggle against lies and ignorance, and to write the truth, you must overcome at least five difficulties. You must have the courage to write the truth when everywhere truth is repressed. You must have the wit to recognize the truth, though everywhere it is concealed. You must have the skill to make the truth into a weapon. You must have the judgment to choose those in whose hands the truth will be effective. And you must have the cunning to spread the truth among such people.”

While the obstacles he faced were epic under fascism, they are also present in the lives of writers who have suffered exile, had to flee their homes and also for those who live in countries that claim to be democracies when they are not. Today we live in a world where fascism is rearing its ugly head. In some countries more than others, it is quickly become the rule of law in some parts of the world.

I believe that it is time to dust of Brecht and to committ to exactly what type of writer each of us will strive to be. Remembering his circumstances and reading his words, I shall endeavor to follow his ideals.

The Courage to Tell the Truth

It seems obvious that, as a writer, you should write the truth, in the sense that you ought not to suppress or conceal anything or deliberately write things that are untrue. You ought not to bow down before the powerful or betray the weak. It is, of course, very hard not to bow down before the powerful, and it is highly advantageous to betray the weak. To displease the possessors means to become one of the dispossessed. To pass up paid work or to decline fame when it is offered may mean being unpaid or unknown forever. This takes courage.

Any truth worth writing is one that those in power do not want you to tell, and the enemies of truth will try to exact a price. They will leak your personal information to the press or to your enemies. They will dox you. They will try to make it embarrassing or frightening or dangerous to tell the truth. A man who corrupts whole countries gets less prison time than a woman who votes by mistake. This is what power means.

In times of oppression, there is usually much talk about elevated matters. To write that you are “in the resistance” feels dramatic and important. You can get the feeling that you are a truth teller, because truth ought to feel dramatic and important. What is this feeling of drama? Surely, it must be the truth. In such times, it takes courage to write of low and boring matters such as food and shelter, access to healthcare, the rights of refugees.

When every channel is blaring the message that strong feelings trump knowledge, and that a man without compassion is more deserving of attention than one who cares for others, it takes courage to ask: Who profits? When all the talk is of who is a real American, it takes courage to ask: Who is unreal?

It also takes courage to tell the truth about yourself, about your own defeat. You lost. They are drinking your tears. Many of the oppressed lose the capacity to see their own mistakes. It seems to them that the persecution they suffer is itself the greatest injustice. The persecutors are wicked simply because they persecute; the persecuted suffer because of their goodness. But this goodness has been beaten, defeated, suppressed. It was therefore a weak goodness, a bad, unreliable goodness. For we cannot accept that goodness must be weak as rain must be wet. Weakness is not goodness. Goodness is not a weakness. It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak.

Naturally, in the struggle with lies we must write the truth, and this truth must not be a lofty and ambiguous abstraction. When we say of someone, “She spoke the truth,” we imply that some people said something that was not the truth—a lie or a generality—but she said something practical, factual, undeniable.

It takes little courage to mutter a complaint about the triumph of barbarism in a place where complaining is still permitted, even prized. Many writers pretend that the guns are aimed at them when, in reality, they are merely the targets of influencers, trackers, and ads. They shout their generalized demands to a world of friends and followers. They insist on a generalized justice for which they have never done anything. They ask for generalized freedom: Alexa, make the government change.

These writers think that truth is only what sounds good. If the truth turns out to be difficult or dry, they don’t recognize it as such. Because what they crave isn’t the truth but a feeling and a status: the feeling of truth, the status of being a truth teller. The trouble with them is: they do not know the truth.

Upcoming Post: The Wit to recognize the Truth

Bisous,

Léa

I’m proud. @AOC #speech

“EVERY TIME A WOMAN STANDS UP FOR HERSELF, SHE STANDS UP FOR ALL WOMEN.”                                                                                                  – Maya Angelou

“JUST THINK – GUNS HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMMENDMENT PROTECTING THEM AND WOMEN DON’T.”  – Eleanor Smeal

 

Barb Taub

Every woman I know agrees. Every man should.

It hasn’t always been easy lately to be an American. It’s never been easy to be a woman. In 9 minutes and 42 seconds I’ll never forget,  United States House of Representatives Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gives an unforgettable lesson in how to do both. Proudly.

After fellow US Rep Ted Yoho of Florida accosted AOC on the steps of the US Capitol, calling her a “f*****g bitch”, he then failed to apologize, citing his “passion, loving my God, my family, and my country”. Here is her response.

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Lincoln wept… #WordlessWednesday #GeorgeFloydProtests

Lincoln weeps…

Barb Taub

Lincoln Memorial, June 2, 2020. [Image credits: “Your Lincoln Memorial this evening.”—@MarthaRaddatz and “Liberty Crumbling” Sand Sculpture by Damon Langlois]

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Lies, lives lost and more blood… America’s legacy will be?

Children in cages never have a nice day.

“The government is literally taking kids away from their parents and leaving them in inappropriate conditions. If a parent left a child in a cage with no supervision with other 5-year-olds, they’d be held accountable.” – Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission

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Photo by Bess Hamiti from Pexels

“We will take America without firing a shot…….We will BURY YOU! We can’t expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism. We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within.” – Nikita Khrushchev

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually, they will            believe it.” – Adolf Hitler

“The man is the only animal that can remain on good terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.”  – Samuel Butler

History keeps repeating itself.

 

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Photo by it’s me neosiam from Pexels

 

How many more innocents must die at the hands of this fascist regime? The survivors will be forever scarred. America can no longer call itself the home of the brave. Brave people do not behave like this. They look to help and to heal. What do you see as the future for such a country? Kidnapping, bigotry and child abuse on a grand scale, is this to be the nation’s legacy?

Bisous,

Léa

 

 

It Can Happen Here: Revisited — charles french words reading and writing

Given the horrors of the mass shootings over the weekend, clearly inspired by bigotry, white nationalism, and racism, I decided to use this post again. (https://en.wikipedia.org) In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, in It Can’t Happen Here, spoke to the idea that many Americans held that fascism could not occur in the United States of America. His […]

via It Can Happen Here: Revisited — charles french words reading and writing