[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]
Partisan media are inciting hatred and violence, polarizing a democratic, peaceful nation, and helping autocratic, fascist leaders rise to power who use their positions to inflame the situation to the point where citizens take up arms against people they no longer consider fully human, people of another race or culture or people who disagree politically. The media and leaders and their backers create a crisis situation that gives them the excuse to unleash a civil war and slaughter millions.
That was Rwanda. If you live in America in 2020 and don’t feel alarmed reading that description, I recommend you watch the film Sometimes in April. It is worth doing anything to prevent it from happening here or anywhere else ever again.
We need not only to change the structures and systems, such as the ability of partisan media to take over a market without regulation providing restrictions and balance, but we also need to be aware of the seeds of fear, hatred and violence in our culture, our government, our homes, and stop them from growing, or from getting sown.
One of the moments in Sometimes in April that made my blood run cold was when the hero finds out that his family is on the list to be killed even though he is in the military and of the approved race. It could happen to anyone. I could imagine it happening to me. It reminded me of a saying attributed on the internet to many different sources:
Solon (the Lawgiver) c640 – c556 BC Statesman of Athens, writer of its compassionate legal code:
“Wrongdoing can only be avoided if those who are not wronged feel the same indignation at it as those who are.” from Greek Wit (F. Paley) found on http://sqapo.com/aphorism.htm
The film helped me feel as if I were among those being wronged. It helped me love my neighbor as my self, in true oneness. I wrote this poem several years ago in response to the film and the genocide and the dangerous situation I saw building in America that today is starting to explode.
All of us who believe in the global ethic shared by all religions need to act now and transform society to live by the laws of compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed, love of neighbor, the Golden Rule in all its formulations. We need to speak out, we need to organize, we need to vote and we need to watch the seeds and…
Stop the Seeds from Getting Sown
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat.” Matthew 13:24-25
There always have been those who stir up hate
and people who feel justified to kill,
and they will try to be the heads of state,
driven by fear or greed to force their will.
Violence starts in childhood taunts and tricks,
abuse or meanness breeding crimes of war,
cold genocide by bullets, blades or sticks,
murderers, racists, knocking down your door.
You need to see this: your name on that list,
your parents, children, spouse, you, siezed or maimed.
All hatred whispered, unforgiveness hissed,
all lies unchallenged that the state proclaimed—
if you want peace, these seeds are what to fight—
the weeds the enemy sows in the night.