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[casi] "The last chapter" (poem)

Dear List,

I thought you might find this interesting, so I
translated it from German. - I found it chilling.

On July 12, 2003 the world government (the US)
sent a message around the world that the human
race was going to be wiped out so that lasting
peace could be achieved. - That's the gist of
the poem.

It was written by Erich Kaestner in 1930, 73 years
ago! Kaestner didn't of course imagine that he
was clairvoyant; he merely wanted to point out the
dangers of war. - But considering the fundamentalist,
neocon maniacs in Washington, this doesn't seem all
that far-fetched, in some form at some time.

The last chapter
by Erich Kaestner (1899-1974)

On July 12 in the year 2003
the following radio message went around the world:
that a bomber squadron of the air police
was going to wipe out the whole human race.

The world government, it said, had realized
that the plan to bring about lasting peace on earth
could not possibly be achieved
without destroying all its inhabitants.

Trying to flee was useless, the message concluded.
Not a soul would be allowed to remain alive.
The new poison gas could creep into every hiding place.
One needn't even bother to self-destruct.

One July 13 one thousand aircraft left Boston
laden with poison gas and germ microbes
and flying all around the globe, they carried out
the murder that the world government had ordered.

People crawled whimpering under beds.
They rushed into their cellars and into the forests.
The poison gas hung in yellow clouds over the cities.
Million of corpses were strewn about on the pavements.

Everyone thought they could escape death.
No-one escaped death, and the world became empty.
The poison gas was everywhere, creeping about on tiptoes.
It moved along the deserts. And it swam across the oceans.

People lay in bundles like rotting sheaves.
Others hung out of windows like dolls.
The animals in the zoos screamed horribly before dying.
And the huge blast furnaces were slowly extinguished.

Ships pitched and tossed in the seas, laden with bodies.
And no more weeping or laughter was heard in the world.
Aircrafts with thousands of dead pilots flew astray
in the skies and dropped burning down into the fields.

Now at long last mankind had accomplished its goal
although the method was not exactly humane.
But finally planet earth was peaceful and content,
and settled down to its rotation in orbit.

Kaestner is perhaps best known for his children's
books. (He wrote for children and those who remained
children at heart.)

In 1928 he wrote a satirical poem in which he predicted
he rise of fascism: "Kennst du das Land, wo die Kanonen
bluehen?" (Do you know the land where the cannons grow?)
In 1933 he was one of the few writers present when the
Nazis burnt books, his own included. He was prevented
from publishing from 1933-45.


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