Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why We Are Here

[image from louisbeam.com]

In 1999, some of my friends were at the Battle in Seattle, protesting the World Trade Organization gathering of leaders set in the old ways of doing business at the expense of the planet and its poor. I was glued to the tv watching with horror as peaceful protestors came up against Swat teams in full riot gear. I did not approve the small number of protestors whose frustration turned to breaking windows and open defiance. I believe in peaceful protest. However, I could feel their frustration and fear and anger at being treated so harshly,  like criminals, when they were making a statement on behalf of the earth and its impoverished.

The other day I found this statement among my papers and it took me back to those days, when the world turned down a path of globalization in the interests of profit, at the expense of all of the rest of us.

Why We Are Here
written for the WTO Ministerial Summit in Seattle in 1999
by David Brower
It can be found, with other writings, at http://www.ecologyofthespirit.com/

Why We Are Here:
Because the world
we had imagined,
the one
we had always
counted on,
is disappearing.
Because the sun
has become cancerous
and the planet
is getting hotter.
Because children
are starving
in the shadows
of yachts and economic summits.
Because there are already
too many planes in the sky.

This is a manufactured world
you have come here
to codify and expedite.
We have come to tell you
there is something else
we want to buy.

What we want
money no longer
like the vitality of nature,
the integrity of work.
We don't want
cheaper wood,
we want living trees.
We don't want
engineered fruit,
we want to see and smell
the food growing
in our neighbourhoods.

We are here because
a voice inside us,
a memory in our blood,
tells us
you are not just
a trade body,
you are the blind tip
of a dark wave
which has forgotten
its source.
We are here
to defend and honour
what is real, natural, human
and basic
against this rising tide
of greed.

We are here
by the insistence
of spirit
and by the authority
of nature.
If you doubt for one minute
the power of truth
or the primacy of nature
try not breathing
for that length of time.

Now you know the pressure
of our desire.
We are not here to tinker
with your laws.
We are here to change you
from the inside out.
This is not
a political protest.
It is an uprising
of the soul.

[Sadly, it is still business as usual at the ministerial summits
and we have made zero progress. SBS]


  1. I am so glad you shared your reflection of what was and still is~
    It is sad, but the truth!
    I think we all need to remind each other, of what is unfolding, before it is to late...

  2. powerful...
    love the message you sent with your work.

  3. http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/2010/12/meet-poet-wednesday.html

    if you have a moment, support Robert by visiting Jingle Poetry via the link, leave a comment to show how you like poets untied..
    Happy Wednesday!
    U Rock!


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