An Anthem Against Silence: Amanda Palmer Reads Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s Piercing and Prescient 1914 Protest Poem – Brain Pickings

An Anthem Against Silence: Amanda Palmer Reads Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s Piercing and Prescient 1914 Protest Poem
“To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”
BY MARIA POPOVA

“Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent,” biologist Rachel Carson wrote to her most beloved friend as she was about to catalyze the modern environmental movement with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring.

My recent immersion in Carson’s world and her breathtaking correspondence with Dorothy Freeman led me down a curious path that circled back to our present moment with astonishing pertinence. In a letter to Freeman penned exactly ninety days before the release of Silent Spring, as Carson was coming to terms with the irreversible bravery of breaking her silence about the destruction of nature and the government’s attendant heedlessness, she shared a quotation that had bolstered her courage to speak out:

“To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”

A mighty and mobilizing anthem against silence, the poem stands as an anthem for our own time. So I asked my friend and fellow poetry-lover Amanda Palmer to record a reading of this timeless, timely masterpiece as an installment in our ongoing collaboration on poetry readings. (Previously: “Humanity i love you” by E.E. Cummings, and “Possibilities” and “Life While-You-Wait” by Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska.)

Amanda herself was so moved by the words that she invited her friend Jherek Bischoff — the brilliant composer and multi-instrumentalist with whom she collaborated on their David Bowie tribute — to set the words to music. The piece that buoys the poem is titled “Closer To Closure,” from Jherek’s entrancing album Cistern.

Please enjoy: PROTEST

PROTEST

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.

Source: An Anthem Against Silence: Amanda Palmer Reads Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s Piercing and Prescient 1914 Protest Poem – Brain Pickings

China does not support rogue African states, it creates them —new study says | Mail & Guardian Africa (Mobile edition)

WITH China’s flagship event showcasing how its influence has grown in Africa set for the continent this year, the focus will inevitably be on the amount of new aid and loans Beijing dangles at the continent.

The last summit of the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) saw president Hu Jintao put on the table $20 billion in loans to African countries, doubling its previous offer.

As bilateral trade volumes have grown, Beijing will be expected to offer billions more at this year’s forum in South Africa, despite its domestic economy having cooled in recent months.

However, Africa can also expect to witness notably more incidences of state-sponsored domestic violence, both against civilians and competitors such as rebel groups, as Chinese aid increases, a new study shows.

Authors Roudabeh Kishi and Clionadh Raleigh, of the University of Sussex’s Department of Geography, say this effect is largely because aid from China is fungible, with its use determined by recipient countries.

Their working paper, titled Chinese Aid and Africa’s Pariah States, finds that political violence by the state increases with receipt of Chinese aid.

The same is not observed with aid from ‘traditional’ or Western donors, which comes tagged with conditions.

via China does not support rogue African states, it creates them —new study says | Mail & Guardian Africa (Mobile edition).

#IdleNoMore’s defiant brand of feminism | System Change Not Climate Change

Posted on March 7, 2014 by Peter Rugh

Sovereignty, ecology, and decolonizing the female body

Ahead of International Women’s Day this Saturday, Ragina Johnson and Brian Ward spoke with Alex Wilson, a leading organizer for Idle No More and a member Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba, Canada. In a wide ranging conversation, Wilson discusses the historical and continuing relationship between the colonization of people and land and the colonization of women’s bodies. She first begins, however, by outlining the impact tar sands oil extraction has on indigenous communities in Canada and the threat tar sands expansion projects like the Keystone XL pipeline pose to all of us.

via #IdleNoMore’s defiant brand of feminism | System Change Not Climate Change.

Bureaucracy | reblogged from Global South

“In talking and thinking about the legacy of colonialism and imperialism in the Global South it is impossible to ignore the legacy of bureaucracy. The process of government by bureaucracy inherently creates tears in the social fabric of a society by uncoupling government from the language of rights and representation, government from governed, individual intentions from individual actions, and actions from outcomes. The ensuing social isolation and unresponsive government must be combated in order to introduce a healthy and representative political reality. Social movements among marginalized and disenfranchised people must struggle against the divisive and impersonal influence of bureaucracy and struggle to re-introduce accountability and plurality into the political sphere. Bureaucracy also necessitates a different type of healing and reconciliation, as it is often the vehicle for senseless violence and cruelty, and certainly creates conditions amenable to racism and other forms of inequality. Post-colonial political arenas must be re-humanized in order to repair the fragmentation resulting from bureaucracy…..”

via Bureaucracy | Global South.

Daily digest for August 2, 2013 – makere@ualberta.ca – University of Alberta Mail

n August 2007, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index was beginning to decline, after being stuck at a plateau for most of the preceding year.  In France, BNP Paribas was about to close two investment vehicles that were heavily exposed to the US housing market.  And Northern Rock Bank was days away from the first British bank run in more than a century.  The world was on the edge of the largest economic crisis in a generation.  From the pages of Governance, here is a reading list on the crisis so far.

via Daily digest for August 2, 2013 – makere@ualberta.ca – University of Alberta Mail.

Chris Hedges: The Empire Is Imploding + Q&A | Dandelion Salad

Chris Hedges spoke at Friday’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy. He was the last to speak on the week’s theme, “Markets and Morals.” His lecture traced the demise of liberal values in America since World War I and emphasized the importance of social movements in maintaining democracy.

via Chris Hedges: The Empire Is Imploding + Q&A | Dandelion Salad.

Chris Hedges: I’m Calling For the Overthrow of the System, Part 7 | Dandelion Salad

On the final episode of Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges answers questions like: “Do you believe the US or Israel will attack Iran?” and “Is there any hope for Bradley Manning?”Pt 7 of

via Chris Hedges: I’m Calling For the Overthrow of the System, Part 7 | Dandelion Salad.

From water wars to water scarcity: Bolivia’s cautionary tale | Climate Connections

When Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived at the new Uyuni airport last August and found no water running from the tap, he publicly reprimanded and promptly dismissed his Minister of Water. As it happened, the pipes were merely frozen. The incident underscores the critical—and highly symbolic—role of water in the politics of this landlocked Andean nation.

via From water wars to water scarcity: Bolivia’s cautionary tale | Climate Connections.