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A Europe by the people for the people
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“Freedom and Democracy”

Bertolt Brecht, 1946

It became spring in Germany.
Above the ashes and debris
A first green birch sways
Tentatively, delicate and bold.

When a ragged procession
Carrying two old wooden boards,
Pompously moved
Out of the valleys in the South.

The wooden boards were rotten
And the inscription faded
And they read something like
“Freedom and Democracy”.

Church bells rang
War widows, brides of fallen pilots
The Orphans, the tremoring, the cripples –
Open mouthed they stand along the road.

And the blind asked the deaf
What is it that moves in the dust
Beneath a slogan like
Freedom and Democracy?

There are the financiers of war,
The fast gentlemen in grey from the cartels
Of the arms industry.
Freedom and Democracy!

Following is the caste of doctors,
Contemptuous of human life, servants of the Nazis
Placing their orders to obtain dissenters
For their inhumane tests.

Three scientists, grave and gaunt
Designers of the gas chambers
Also demand for the chemical industry
Freedom and Democracy.

Following are the Nazis surviving “Denazification”
Sitting like lice in the cracks
In all high offices
Because the new State relies on them.

There are the writers of Nazi propaganda
Worried that they may not be heard
And perhaps forgotten.
Here’s to the “Freedom of our Press!”

And when the mephitic procession
Carried the boards through the debris
Six figures silently
Step out of the Nazi’s “brown house.”

And the procession stops.
The SIX FIGURES bow
And join the procession
That carries the old boards.

OPPRESSION stands up,
Its bony hand on the whip.
It drives in a tank,
A present of the industry.

PUTRID DECAY drives, enthusiastically saluted,
In a rusty tank. Ashamed and despite its sickness
It pulls the brown bandage
Up to its haughty chin.

Behind it drives FRAUD,
Swinging a large jug of free beer.
Inviting you to drink from its jug
And sell your kids to it.

Old as the mountains but
Still entrepreneurial in sprit
Walks STUPIDITY in the procession
Making eyes at FRAUD.

MURDER drives up.
One arm hanging casually outside the window,
The brute lolls comfortably
Singing: Sweet dreams of liberty.

And in the last carriage drove THEFT,
Wearing the uniform
Of a wealthy field marshal
With a globe on its lap.

All six figures,
Egocentric, parasitic, merciless,
Now jointly demand:
Freedom and Democracy.

A giant hearse drives bouncing
Behind the six plagues
You cannot see well what lies inside:
It is the next generation.