Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Across the years...

"The Berlin Stories" have illuminated much. How anyone could have claimed "they didn't know", or "they weren't sure" in the late 30's is beyond me; people were telling Isherwood in '30 and '31 "just wait until they get them in the concentration camps".

With his words evoking the people and their times, I dug out a disc I bought a few years ago of Ute Lemper's called "Berlin Cabaret Songs". English translations of the original tunes playing in the clubs there when Marlene Dietrich was headlining...when Louise Brooks was lighting up the screen...

From the first track on the disc, 3rd verse:

"Politicians
are magicians
who make swindles disappear
The bribes they are taking
the deals they are making
never reach the public's ear
The left betrays, the right dismays
the country's broke and guess who pays
But tax each swindle in the making
profits will be record breaking
Everyone swindles some
so vote for who will steal for you
Life's a swindle..."

from "It's All a Swindle" written by Mischa Spoliansky and Marcellus Schiffer.

I'm guessing I shouldn't read anything into the fact that the composers, born in 1898 and 1892, died in 1931 and 1932...

Each day I hear people proclaim they aren't trying to take away my rights, only those of someone else. That I'm entitled, but someone else isn't. They step behind their masks of religion; they hide behind a flag and don't realize; I've seen it all before, if only in the history books, in literature, in poetry.

If the revolution is lost, now (and I fear it is) then it's only a matter of time before the knocks on the door start coming...

May the week be kind to each of you!

alan




7 comments:

robin andrea said...

You and I are on the same page, alan. No surprise. I think we are spiraling down, and there's really no stopping the decline. I think I'm most surprised by the lean toward extremism. I see how it doesn't take much to turn regular neighbors and citizens into fascists. Just make them compete for what little is left after the rich have taken the rest for themselves.

GirlWhoShould said...

All societys are only a few steps from tyranny as history teaches us.
I suspect there was a lot of wishful thinking in the 30's from still war weary nations along with a degree of sympathy among the ruling elites.

Anji said...

Isn't there something somewhere about the Bible being a book on the past AND the future.

I' loved 'the Berlin Stories'. Could it be that when we are in the middle of it all most of us can't see the wood for the trees?

Green tea said...

We can't give up.
In the words of the late great Senator Paul Wellstone we need to

"Stand up,keep fighting"

ryssee said...

Great post.
It's all written in history but when that history isn't fairly recent, most kids will see it as a book to get through to get their grade.
It seems that once most of the people that survive the most recent worst of times are gone, the next worst of times begins.
I'm really afraid that we're heading into those again right now.

Calamity Jen said...

Sadly, your post and everyone's comments ring true. Growing up I never understood how people could have allowed the holocaust to happen. Now I'm hearing some of my formerly dearest friends spouting such xenophobic nonsense that I fear there will be another holocaust in my lifetime, and I don't know what I can do to stop it.

Naukishtae said...

You know people who cannot see.. will never believe, because they keep their head in the ground, and sail through life blind.. letting nothing stick to them.. my friend Martin was a teen in Auschwitz-Birkenau.. with freedom he served in Korea, and then the Six Day War.. now he is one of the most beautiful men I have ever known.. he has seen it all.. and the set of numbers tattooed on his arm tell the whole story...

Great post Alan..

Naukishtae