Thursday, September 8, 2011

English subtitles for 9-11-11 (10 years after September 11)

11-9-11 from Tarek Chemaly on Vimeo.


By Tarek Joseph Chemaly


Yesterday there was a war in Macedonia,

Maybe tomorrow it will be in California,

There will not be previous warning,

Just the usual air strikes and bombing

Money will be collected in the streets,

To support this just cause,

Touching speeches will earn applause,

Allied armies will mobilize their fleets

Women and children are dying,

Elderly and newborns are crying,

But it makes it look all right,

For grown men to die in the night

"From their side soldiers die,

From our side martyrs fall,”

This general is feeling tall,

Because he rides in a helicopter

Wake up and smell the gunpowder,

Jerk off to your absolute power,

Give your orders from your ivory tower,

And then go and have a shower

Another war will break out soon,

Perhaps tomorrow before noon,

Many people will lose their lives,

By bullets, bombs, or knives

And the winner will write history,

With other people's tears and misery,

His version will remain unquestioned,

And his murder charges unanswered

Everyday, a mother rereads the same letter,

Beginning with "We regret to inform you,”

Hoping that it will make her feel better,

And that the news will not be true

But she forgets about her impossible wishes,

And remembers that her nation won the war,

And her dead son was given a star,

And goes on to do the dishes.


Frogs do not turn into prince charmings,

And evil queens are such media darlings,

Cinderella is out to get a new job,

For she realized she was just a slob

Mickey is just an ugly pet hamster,

And Donald a speech impaired monster,

While Bambi is in the zoo,

And Tarzan's mother too

The little mermaid was dead anyhow,

And so was the little matches girl,

Do you think a snobbish white princess,

Would give seven dwarfs the time of day,

She would tell them to stay away,

And would ask the writer for a recess

Little paradises in Disney movies,

And small children chasing oogies,

Riding their bicycles and cutting school,

Along with stray puppies that drool

Some children play with real guns,

And some never tasted hamburger buns,

Playing with their personal Kalashnikov,

Practicing throwing their cocktail Molotov,

You can be a soldier at the age of seven,

And if you survive, a captain by the age of eleven

Leftover rockets and anti personal mines,

Way beyond what used to be the enemy lines,

Some children grow too old, too soon,

Some children die too young, too soon,

And they rest in little houses on eroded prairies,

Surrounded by fictional fields of roses and daisies.


Can you imagine being a citizen of a third world country,

You still have two more worlds to climb,

Unless you win the immigration lottery,

To upgrade, there’s always someone to bribe

Americans just killed 40 people by mistake,

In Kandahar, Afghanistan, during a wedding,

Had Afghans given 40 Americans such an ending,

Wouldn’t we have had a global earthquake?

Some lives are just plain more important,

They deserve to have their names stated on the news,

While others get filed as “local nurse” or “Native peasant,”

Nameless, faceless people still die to defend their views

But if you press forward into history,

You’ll end up with a different story,

Younger brothers in arms will unite,

In the name of the big fight

No nation stood forever,

The harsh test of time,

From a superpower,

It will relegate to part-time

All men are created unequal,

Haunted by the identity of their land,

Just like a Hollywood movie’s bad sequel,

They either make it, or die thinking grand

So stop saying words like tolerance,

They have a condescending meaning,

As if saying, “I am right, I am the reference,

But will put up with inferior species’ wining”

Try replacing it with a little respect,

Where everyone is on equal stand,

Where you shake people’s hand,

Where no one’s wrong or correct

Didn’t Julius Cesar, while conquering, need any cooks?

Asked Bertold Brecht so very pertinently,

Where would the policeman be without crooks?

Can you give me an answer, immediately?

Someone is now working to put the bread on the table,

Someone has actually baked that bread on the table,

He’s an honest, decent man; they call him the baker,

Human lives should count equally, sooner, rather than later.


What if Christmas day,

Fell on Good Friday,

What if resurrection,

Preceded crucifixion

Wars have been committed,

Under his ubiquitous name,

Perpetuating the game,

Without being evicted

Without being convicted,

While vaguely convinced,

Claiming blessings were received,

From the immaculately conceived

Fighters pretext they’re here,

So that the bells would still toll,

But according to the head cashier,

All is done for money to still roll

It’s a lucrative business,

Even in times of recession,

It never takes a recess,

Relying on zealous devotion

Exaggerated, exhibitionist devotion,

Performed without any emotion,

Committing sacrilege without hesitation,

All while waiting for beatification,

Should you die on the front,

Whether attacked from the rear or the front,

You can always claim that argument,

On the day of the final judgment,

Had you previously known,

What, in your name, will be done,

Had you been once been shown,

How wrong things would have gone,

You would never have been born,

You’d have not been crowned in thorn,

You would have been a carpenter,

In Nazareth, like your beloved father.


As a fighter, you need a break, why not go on a trip?

You have endured a lot, you deserve a break,

The chance is open and it is for you to take,

It is a once in a lifetime deal, so don’t let it slip,

Fully paid holiday in a tropical island,

Generously offered by the government,

Miles away from the snows of Finland,

And the CIA will handle the arrangement,

In Guantanamo bay off the Miami shore,

They will reserve you the best confinement,

All with five-stars standards refinement,

And their hospitality will hit you to the core,

As a prisoner from Afghanistan,

Supposedly supporting the Taliban,

You were raised on the word of the Koran,

And you had to go along with the plan,

It was either that, or them killing your family,

For the life of your daughters begging mercifully,

But you are not considered a prisoner of war,

And they can’t apply the law of the opposite shore,

So you are not part of the Geneva Convention,

And therefore do not deserve any affection,

Your children will not miss you back home,

As an insignificant being, you are the epitome,

Amnesty international tried and so did the Red Cross,

But the borders of the concentration camp could not cross,

You’re nothing but a peasant barely able to manipulate a gun,

But they thought you’re a dangerous terrorist, you son of a gun!

Handcuffed for a small taste of S and M,

Along with water boarding to make you confess,

That you were the mastermind of all the mess,

Come on, a small revelation will please them,

It vaguely reminds you of the U.S.S.R.,

All what is missing is the red star,

If you want hope, or just a ray,

Forget it, this is now the U.S.S.A.


What’s the point of having a world,

Full of duplicates of my own character,

It would be a boring brave new world,

Actually, it would be a cowardly disaster,

Still a little disoriented but now a myth,

“What year is it?” Asks Winston Smith,

We all suffer from collective amnesia,

We should perhaps consider euthanasia,

History is forever erased and rewritten,

It has nine different lives, just like a kitten,

The defenses of your memory are smitten,

To the news bulletin, you better not listen,

I am one of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s “We”,

I am one of Huxley’s clones of type C,

My children snitched me to the ministry of thought,

And Big Brother’s principles will have to be bought,

It is “We” v/s “them”,

It is “us” v/s “them”,

It is “U.S.” v/s “us” at the stem,

… It is “U.S” against all of them.


I wish I could be back in New York or San Francisco,

Or even shopping at Costco,

Wouldn’t be nice to be in LA,

Cruising in a convertible in the USA.

But here’s one thing I forgot,

Nowadays, my ethnicity matters a lot,

And shame of all shames in the final tally,

I look different and am called Tarek Chemaly,

It is only when they attack your origin,

That you become proud of whom you are,

It’s like a replication of the original sin,

And you can get expelled very far,

I wore my identity,

Without investigation,

Just like my religion,

Which is Christianity,

Yes, one can be from the Middle East without being Moslem,

So let’s not stereotype under a common emblem,

People can be different, while belonging to the same,

The faithful pray one God, but under a different name,

My identity is now acquired, rather than innate,

I had to pay for it, and there was no rebate,

I wrote this in English, so that you would understand,

I am an Arab, would you shake my hand?

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