Why do I stay silent, stay silent too long
about what is obvious and is practiced
in war games, at the end of which we
as survivors are at best only footnotes
It is the asserted right of the first strike,
which could annihilate the Iranian people
– who are bullied by a loudmouth and
directed to an organized frenzy –
because it is suspected that an atom bomb
is being built in the land where he rules.
But why do I forbid myself
to name that other country
in which, for years – though also in secret –
a growing nuclear power is already present
but out of control, because it goes
The universal suppression of the facts,
to which my silence is enslaved
I feel as damning lies
And force. Punishment is promised
as soon as the silence is broken
with the usual verdict of “anti-semitism”.
But now, because my country –
which time after time has been confronted
with its very own unique and original crime –
once again and for base commercial gain
(if also dishonestly portrayed as reparation)
should deliver to Israel another U-boat
whose special feature is to guide
all-destroying warheads to the place
where there is no evidence of a single atom bomb,
but when there is fear of conclusive proof
I say what must be said.
Why though have I kept silent until now?
Because I believed that my provenance,
cursed with a stain that can never be expunged
forbids me from demanding the spoken truth
from the land of Israel, to which I am devoted
and will remain devoted.
Why do I say only now
aged and with my ink running dry
that the nuclear power of Israel endangers
a world peace that is already fragile?
Because we must say
what could already be too late tomorrow
and because we – as Germans, who are already burdened enough –
could be subcontractors to a crime
that is foreseeable, which means our complicity
could not be erased with the usual excuses.
And granted, I am silent no more
because I am tired of the West’s hypocrisy;
moreover it is to be hoped
that this will free many from silence
that they may call on the agent of a clear danger
to renounce violence and
at the same time insist
that an unrestricted and permanent control
by an international body
of the Israeli atomic arsenal
and the Iranian nuclear facilities
be authorized by both governments.
This is the only way to help everybody:
the Israelis and Palestinians and all
people who live cheek by jowl as enemies
in this region occupied by illusions;
this alone can help us, too.
Translated for deLiberation by Ed Walker