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War with Iran (11): Protest at Hinds Plaza, Princeton

A couple of shots from an anti-war protest I attended this past Saturday in Hinds Plaza, Princeton, New Jersey, sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action and Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. An earnest, upbeat, sedately (almost stereotypically) suburban college-town crowd of about 300. Outstanding speeches by Zia Mian and Lukata Mjumbe. Irene Etkin Goldman read a poem of Yehuda Amichai’s, and Sadaf Jaffer (a distant acquaintance of mine) read one by Aga Shahid Ali. Both poems are now reproduced in the comments below.  (I missed two speakers’ names in the original post: Nassau County Democratic Vice Chairman Ali Mirza and Sadim Lone, a former UN official). Personally, I did nothing but attend, clap, and pretend to sing Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” but I was proud to be there.

7 thoughts on “War with Iran (11): Protest at Hinds Plaza, Princeton

  1. This is the text of the Aga Shahid Ali poem read by Sadaf Jaffer. Thanks to Sadaf for sending it along.

    Farewell (Agha Shahid Ali, 1949-2001)

    At a certain point I lost track of you.
    They make a desolation and call it peace.
    When you left even the stones were buried:
    The defenceless would have no weapons.

    When the ibex rubs itself against the rocks, who collects
    its fallen fleece from the slopes?
    O Weaver whose seams perfectly vanished, who weighs the
    hairs on the jeweler’s balance?
    They make a desolation and call it peace.
    Who is the guardian tonight of the Gates of Paradise?

    My memory is again in the way of your history.
    Army convoys all night like desert caravans:
    In the smoking oil of dimmed headlights, time dissolved—all
    winter—its crushed fennel.
    We can’t ask them: Are you done with the world?

    In the lake the arms of temples and mosques are locked
    in each other’s reflections.

    Have you soaked saffron to pour on them when they are
    found like this centuries later in this country
    I have stitched to your shadow?

    In this country we step out with doors in our arms
    Children run out with windows in their arms.
    You drag it behind you in lit corridors.
    if the switch is pulled you will be torn from everything.

    At a certain point I lost track of you.
    You needed me. You needed to perfect me.
    In your absence you polished me into the Enemy.
    Your history gets in the way of my memory.
    I am everything you lost. You can’t forgive me.
    I am everything you lost. Your perfect Enemy.
    Your memory gets in the way of my memory:

    I am being rowed through Paradise in a river of Hell:
    Exquisite ghost, it is night.

    The paddle is a heart; it breaks the porcelain waves:
    It is still night. The paddle is a lotus:
    I am rowed—as it withers—toward the breeze which is soft as
    if it had pity on me.

    If only somehow you could have been mine, what wouldn’t
    have happened in the world?

    I’m everything you lost. You won’t forgive me.
    My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
    There is nothing to forgive. You can’t forgive me.
    I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to
    myself.

    There is everything to forgive. You can’t forgive me.
    If only somehow you could have been mine,
    what would not have been possible in the world?

    Like

  2. Pingback: “Issues in Local Government” | Policy of Truth

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