In Search of a Metaphor to Combine what We’ve Seen in America, Myanmar, Gaza, and elsewhere This Past Year
By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden, Germany 2009
Today I picked up an antique book at a flee market here in Germany.
The book was a collection of prose and short tales from Bertolt Brecht--arguably the most famous political-social critic and fictional author & dramatist that German-speaking countries in 20th Century Europe ever raised.
I opened this antique book (Band 11 of collected works), and read in German the text of “BALKANKRIEG”.
I translate the text as follows:
The Balkan War
“A sick old man traveled throughout the land. On his way, he was attacked by four youth who took from him all that he had.--With great sadness, the old man proceeded on his journey. But, suddenly around the coming twist in the road, the old man observed with amazement how three of the robbers attacked the fourth one in order to take his share of the plunder.”
“Soon all four young robbers found themselves wrestling one another on the road. With great joy the old man quickly but quietly gathered up his belongings and snuck away.”
“However, in the very next town, the old man would was stopped by the authorities. Soon, he was taken to the town judge. In front of the judge stood his accusers—these were the four young men who had robbed him earlier in his journey. Those youths were united in their claim against the older gentlemen. Soon, the judged produced his decision as follows: ‘The old man should give every last cent and belonging to the adolescents.’”
“’Because’”, as determined the wise and just judge, ‘otherwise these young troublemakers could be compelled to cause very great trouble throughout the land.’”
Remember Myanmar, more often known as Burma.
One year ago, a horrible typhoon spawned a cyclone in South East Asia which arrived last Spring and flooded the whole country—a potentially wealthy land but long run into the ground by dictatorial families.