Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dueling burdens

Picture credit: Wikipedia

In some regards (perhaps not in theory, but somewhat in the application thereof so far...), international developments such as the ICC and R2P seems to have a strong flavor of 'The white man's burden."

Below are 'dueling' poems related to this, the first being (the original) "The White Man's Burden" by Rudyard Kipling, followed by two 'responses', both titled "The Black Man's Burden", by Hubert Harrison and H.T. Johnson respectively...

The White Man's Burden:

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!


The Black Man's Burden:

Take up the Black Man’s burden---
Send forth the worst ye breed,
And bind our sons in shackles
To serve your selfish greed;
To wait in heavy harness
Be-devilled and beguiled
Until the Fates remove you
From a world you have defiled.

Take up the black Man’s burden---
Your lies may still abide
To veil the threat of terror
And check our racial pride;
Your cannon, church and courthouse
May still our sons constrain
To seek the white man’s profit
And work the white man’s gain.

Take up the Black Man’s burden---
Reach out and hog the earth,
And leave your workers hungry
In the country of their birth;
Then, when your goal is nearest,
The end for which you fought
Watch other’s trained efficiency
Bring all your hope to naught.

Take up the Black Man’s burden---
Reduce their chiefs and kings
To toil of serf and sweeper
The lot of common things:
Sodden their soil with slaughter,
Ravish their lands with lead;
Go, sign them with your living
And seal them with your dead.

Take up the Black Man’s burden---
And reap your old reward;
The curse of those ye cozen,
The hate of those ye barred
From your Canadian cities
And your Australian ports;
And when they ask for meat and drink
Go, girdle them with forts.

Take up the Black Man’s burden---
Ye cannot stoop to less.
Will not your fraud of "freedom"
Still cloak your greediness?
But, by the gods ye worship,
And by the deeds ye do,
These silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the Black Man’s burden---
Until the tail is told,
Until the balances of hate
Bear down the beam of gold.
And while ye wait remember
The justice, though delayed
Will hold you as her debtor
Till the Black Man’s debt is paid.


The Black Man's Burden:

Pile on the Black Man’s Burden.
'Tis nearest at your door;
Why heed long bleeding Cuba,
or dark Hawaii’s shore?
Hail ye your fearless armies,
Which menace feeble folks
Who fight with clubs and arrows
and brook your rifle’s smoke.

Pile on the Black Man’s Burden
His wail with laughter drown
You’ve sealed the Red Man’s problem,
And will take up the Brown,
In vain ye seek to end it,
With bullets, blood or death
Better by far defend it
With honor’s holy breath

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