‘What needs to be said – Was gesagt werden muss’ by Gunter Grass

Uddari protests Israel’s ban on Grass for writing a poem.


Photo from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass has been banned by Israel for his new poem on Israel’s nuclear capability and the threat of a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Grass is facing severe criticism from the Israeli state and its supporters around the World. Following is the original German text of the poem with an instant English conversion by Google translation app, and a second translation by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher.

More about the ban

First version
What needs to be said
Gunter Grass

Why I am silent, silent about too long,
what is obvious and in simulations
was practiced, at the end as survivors,
we are at best footnotes.

It is alleged that on the first strike
of the enslaved from bullies
and to organized guided cheers
could destroy Iranian people,
because in the sphere of building
a nuclear bomb is suspected.

But why do I say to myself,
that other country mentioned by name
in the years since – though secret -
a growing nuclear capabilities available
but out of control, because no test
is available?

The general concealment of this fact,
which my silence subordinate,
I find incriminating lies
and coercion, the penalty is in prospect,
if he is ignored;
the verdict of “antisemitism” is familiar.

But now, because in my country,
that of innate crimes
that are without comparison,
sought time to time and will be taken to task,
in turn, and purely commercial basis, even if
declared with nimble lip as reparation,
another U-boat to Israel
delivered should be, whose specialty
is all-destroying warheads
to be able to steer to where the existence
of a single atomic bomb is unproven,
but wants to be a fear of evidentiary value,
I say what needs to be said.

But why I kept quiet until now?
As I said, my background,
which is never subject to tilgendem blemish,
forbade this fact as a definite truth
to the land of Israel, whom I am connected
and want to stay, be expected.

Why do I say now only:
aged and last ink
the nuclear-armed Israel is endangering
the already fragile world peace?
Because it must be said,
what could already be tomorrow’s too late
- in part because we – as a German burden enough
could be suppliers of a crime are
the predictable, which is why our complicity
by any of the usual excuses
would be to pay off.

And admittedly, I am silent no more,
because I was the hypocrisy of the West
‘m tired, is also hoped
it might be a lot rid of silence,
the cause of the apparent danger
call to renounce violence and
are also sure
that an unfettered and permanent control
of Israel’s nuclear potential
and the Iranian nuclear facilities
by an international authority
of the governments of both countries will be allowed.

Only then is all, the Israelis and Palestinians,
more than that, all the people in this
region occupied by the delusional
enemies living cheek by jowl,
and ultimately to help us.

Translated by Google Translate
..

Original text
Was gesagt werden muss

Warum schweige ich, verschweige zu lange,
was offensichtlich ist und in Planspielen
geübt wurde, an deren Ende als Überlebende
wir allenfalls Fußnoten sind.

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

Doch warum untersage ich mir,
jenes andere land beim Namen zu nennen,
in dem seit Jahren – wenn auch geheimgehalten -
ein wachsend nukleares Potential verfügbar
aber außer Kontrolle, weil keiner Prüfung
zugänglich ist?

Das allgemeine Verschweigen dieses Tatbestandes,
dem sich mein Schweigen untergeordnet hat,
empfinde ich als belastende Lüge
und Zwang, der Strafe in Aussicht stellt,
sobald er mißachtet wird;
das Verdikt “Antisemitismus” ist geläufig.

Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

Warum aber schwieg ich bislang?
Weil ich meinte, meine Herkunft,
die von nie zu tilgendem Makel behaftet ist,
verbiete, diese Tatsache als ausgesprochene Wahrheit
dem Land Israel, dem ich verbunden bin
und bleiben will, zuzumuten.

Warum sage ich jetzt erst,
gealtert und mit letzter Tinte:
Die Atommacht Israel gefährdet
den ohnehin brüchigen Weltfrieden?
Weil gesagt werden muß,
was schon morgen zu spät sein könnte;
auch weil wir – als Deutsche belastet genug -
Zulieferer eines Verbrechens werden könnten,
das voraussehbar ist, weshalb unsere Mitschuld
durch keine der üblichen Ausreden
zu tilgen wäre.

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

Nur so ist allen, den Israelis und Palästinensern,
mehr noch, allen Menschen, die in dieser
vom Wahn okkupierten Region
dicht bei dicht verfeindet leben
und letztlich auch uns zu helfen.

From
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/gedicht-zum-konflikt-zwischen-israel-und-iran-was-gesagt-werden-muss-1.1325809
..

Second Version
What Must be Said
Gunter Grass

Why did I remain silent, silent so long,
about something so clear we used
in war games, where, as survivors,
we are just the footnotes?

That is the claimed right to the formal preventive aggression
which could erase the Iranian people
dominated by a bouncer and moved to an organized jubilation,
because in the area of his competence there is
the construction of the atomic bomb.

And then why do I avoid myself
to call the other country with its name,
where since years — even if secretly covered -
there is an increasing nuclear power,
without control, because unreachable
by every inspection?

I feel the everybody silence on this state of affairs,
which my silence is slave to,
as an oppressive lie and an inhibition that presents punishment
we don’t pay attention to;
the verdict “anti-Semitism” is common.

Now, since my country,
from time to time touched by unique and exclusive crimes,
obliged to justify itself,
again for pure business aims – even if
with fast tongue we call it “reparation” -
should deliver another submarine to Israel,
with the specialty of addressing
annihilating warheads where the
existence of one atomic bomb is not proved
but it wants evidence as a scarecrow,
I say what must be said.

Why did I stay silent until now?
Because the thought about my origin,
burdened by an unclearing stain,
had avoiding to wait this fact
like a truth declared by the State of Israel
that I want to be connected to.

Why did I say it only now,
old and with the last ink:
the nuclear power of Israel
threat the world peace?
Because it must be said
what tomorrow will be too late;
Because – as Germans and with
enough faults on the back -
we might also become deliverers of a predictable
crime, and no excuse would erase our complicity.

And I admit: I won’t be silent
because I had enough of the Western hypocrisy;
Because I wish that many will want
to get rid of the silence,
exhorting the cause of a recognizable
risk to the abdication, asking that a free and permanent control
of the Israel atomic power
and the Iran nuclear bases
will be made by both the governments
with an international supervision.

Only in this way, Israelis, Palestinians, and everybody,
all people living hostile face to face in that
country occupied by the craziness,
will have a way out,
so us too.

Translation by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher
..

View poem on YouTube


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