Forgetting 2019


Richard Falk | Global Justice in the 21st Century – TRANSCEND Media Service

31 Dec 2019 – At this age, having exhausted prose options, I indulge myself during holidays by sharing poems that seek also your indulgence. I searched 2019 for some glimmers of good news, and felt stymied. Of course here, there, everywhere there were glorious private exceptions, yet hovering over the public marketplaces of the world I cringe beneath menacing storm clouds and below chaos and misery, and catastrophes waiting to happen. It is this spirit that I looked back on 2019, and yet I reject despair and pledge to fight for what I believe in 2020 with the conviction that it can happen–and of course should happen.


asphalt rain
darkens green fields
flares Amazon skies
fake leaders slithering
toward real dangers
hither and yon
seek safe havens
gated nations
hiding from truth
screaming ‘no’
migrants fleeing despair
pleading ‘please’
hiding from evils
Aung San Suu Kyi
defending genocide
this fallen Nobelist
broadcasting abroad
her deadly message
two centuries ago
Walt Whitman
arrived in our midst
singing aloud
of America’s future
later lost to predators
seizing their loot
robbing the land
turning dreams
to wilting flowers
our grief becomes
a betrayed destiny
tainted at birth
natives driven
off their sacred land
of holy innocence
the trusted voice
of Toni Morrison
is gone not lost
if we listen
if we listen
if we listen
all not yet all
lost futureless
nested eggs contain
our only hope
of what may yet come
of what to renounce
let’s start with gold
then learn not to hate
keep love joy truth
if we listen
if we listen
if we listen

Santa Barbara, CA, December 31, 2019


Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, an international relations scholar, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, Distinguished Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies, UCSB, author, co-author or editor of 60 books, and a speaker and activist on world affairs. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to two three-year terms as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and associated with the local campus of the University of California, and for several years chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His most recent book is On Nuclear Weapons, Denuclearization, Demilitarization, and Disarmament (2019).

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