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Yevgeny Yevtushenko
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, 23 2011

 PHLOur nation, and our destiny, are all blown to bits, as is the Russian secret. Perhaps all of us are but shreds of ourselves, blasted to pieces?

Ialso believe that we don’t harshly condemn these all too frequent cases of xenophobia which Igroup under to common term: “anti-internationalism”.

By the way, even though it is right there on the surface, until Istarted using this word, oddly enough, no one else would. Theconcept of anti-internationalism includes both antisemitism as well as racism

This is going on, of course, not just over here, but still we cannot keep on completely forgetting that the ideals of socialism included a lot of good that was borrowed from Christianity, including the brotherhood of nations. Ifwe give up on these ideals, if we let them get trampled before our very eyes, if we are passive about it all, well then we will have major problems. Wecannot allow what is going on to get hushed up, because no matter how unpleasant it may be to acknowledge, over here, in the very same country that defeated Hitler, we are dealing with fascism.

Also, you cannot hide the fact that the Soviet Union was not alone in the war. Weget upset and hurt and rightly so when they forget over there in the West how many lives we lost, but then again they also get bitter if somebody over here forgets how much they helped the Soviet Union during a difficulttime.

We fought shoulder-to-shoulder as military allies, but over here we have this tendency to pay back ingratitude in kind: “There you go! Ifthat’s how you’re going to be, then so will we!” How is it the fault of these veterans, the French who joined anti-fascist air squadrons, the British who escorted convoys of war materials to Murmansk and all too often died atsea?

One example: Iwas completely shocked the results of a survey radio station Echo of Moscow did right after the recent bombings in the London Underground. Noteverybody, of course, but some of our fellow citizens instead of expressing words of elementary human solidarity said some terrible things

From time immemorial, the appearance of such evil words bursting forth from the throats of the Russian people is almost inherent: “Serves them right, serves them right!” For me, however, these xenophobic sentiments just almost like a knife in myheart

The rails, once again, are wet withblood.
The world is like an openwound.
The stations of the London Underground
are the relatives of Beslan.

The rails in childhood’s winter station
are patterned with butterflies,
but it’s strange, that in a world going crazy,
someone hasn’t blown them upyet.

Tomorrow, perhaps, every bus, car, andshop
will be a graveyard,
where as owners of theruins
mobile phones whimper like puppies.

Our planet is a global train platform
together with nursing infants.
Lord, if only cursed terrorism
could make us all one family!

After the London tragedy,
how could you, our angry fellow citizens,
phone in to radio station Echo of Moscow
so shamelessly.

The triumphant cannonade of calls:
“Serves them right, serves them right!”

Envy does not hide around the corner
pleased at the plight of a stranger:
“Let them have it bad for once -
it’s always worse forus.
Serves them right, serves them right!”

Our homegrown StalinistRome
deleted the word “mercy”
and jabs a crooked finger into the arena:
“Serves them right, serves them right!”

The nature of this vilejoy
reminds me of 1937.

In our hearts we drank up the Gulag inmates,
and irradiated everyone withfear.
We learned how to hate “the foreigners”
by maliciously practicing on ourown.

The spirit of compassionate Russia did not disappear
like a concealed oillamp.
But Iworry that a forest of indictingarms
will rise up: “Serves them right, serves them right!”

Our nation, and our destiny,
are all blown to bits, as is the Russian secret.
Perhaps all of us are but shreds of ourselves,
blasted to pieces?
Of what are the British here guilty
that our wooly grumblers and kids snarl:
“Serves them right, serves them right!”?

Homelands may be different,
but really, why cannot
war and terrorism uniteus
into a single homeland calledgrief?

In grief let us open doors to one another.
Didn’t we once sing “Tipperary” together?

(Sings):
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way togo.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl Iknow!

Did not our illiterate old womenonce
cry their eyes out watching a film about Lady Hamilton?

On learning of Stalingrad, the British
once doffed their caps in silence.
Did not their convoys break through to Murmansk
under the music of the Messerschmidt?
Those fallen in battle and frozen in icebergs there,
are relatives of the future Beatles

And will we not be punished with the torments ofhell
for our shameful: “Serves them right”?

August 2, 2007

In ‘Visiting Gordon’, excerpt from an interview
http://www.gordon.com.ua/tv/e-evtushenko/


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