Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Thousand Ages

It has seemed that long. I remember when my previous employer ghoulishly decided that enforced remedial classes should be called 'concentration camps' ("'s a camp, and they have to concentrate!") I was pretty sure that nobody would take it seriously. But to my horror, a bunch of sycophants told him it was a great idea, and there we were, the first Atlantean educational institution to run 'concentration camps'.

I remember thinking to myself that there were words for this kind of thing, mostly in German and written by victims of the Third Reich. I'm sure Herr Hierophant can translate.

Stacheldraht, mit Tod geladen,
ist um unsre Welt gespannt.

Drauf ein Himmel ohne Gnaden
sendet Frost und Sonnenbrand.

Fern von uns sind alle Freuden,
fern die Heimat, fern die Fraun,
wenn wir stumm zur Arbeit schreiten,
Tausende im Morgengraun.

Doch wir haben die Losung von Dachau gelernt
und wurden stahlhart dabei:

Sei ein Mann, Kamerad,
bleib ein Mensch, Kamerad,
mach ganze Arbeit, pack an, Kamerad,
denn Arbeit, Arbeit macht frei!

Quietly, that awful name has faded. I think they call them 'study camps' now. It's a lot better and less provocative to many of greater social and cultural sensitivities. I wonder what would have happened if that person had proposed this idea anywhere in the Euro-American world.

One last thing. I remember him saying, "We will stretch them as much as we can." At that moment, in the temporary unhinging of my brain, I felt some sort of separation of identity. I felt as if I was looking at myself from a distant height, and saying, "How can you think of silly translingual puns at a time like this?!" For the word that had dropped into my brain was the word Dachshund.

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Blogger The Hierophant said...

Wir sind die Moorsoldaten...

Friday, July 17, 2009 3:48:00 am  

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