Review: You and I Can Change the WorldPosted: 2014/03/07
A WOMAN AND A MOTHER CAN BE A GODDESS OF PEACE
Ada Aharoni’s book of Poems
YOU AND I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
BY DR. SHUJAAT HUSSAIN (INDIA)
The imagination of a poet is for a better world, this imagination imparts visions of peace and harmony where the citizens of the world could lead a happy and prosperous life. And such an imagination of a poetess becomes unflinching thought and her thought is as a dream. She dreams in her words, lines, couplets, triplets, stanzas, and throughout her poetry. This is the case with Prof. Ada Aharoni, an Israeli contemporary poetess. She knows what comes from the lips reaches the ear. But her poetry comes from the heart so it reaches the heart of the people. Her poems contain grand and eternal messages that cover the universe.
She dreams her dream of peace and it becomes reality. She shares her dream with the mothers of the world, women of the world who are the unending source of human beings on the earth. I am writing it to tell the readers about how she is making exactly that happen, by cultivating an approach which is different, she utilizes the power of thought of her poems as a force for peace and compassion.
There are many great poets from Israel, among them Zelda, Yehuda Amichai, T. Carmi, Bialik, Rachel and of course my favorite poetess Prof. Ada Aharoni because of her focus on the theme of peace. Her poems contain much loss, suffering, and death. One notable element is that there is in many of the poems sympathy with the innocent victims. Her poems do not exalt the glory of war. She is not at all for Governments whose economy depends on the sales of arms and ammunition to kill innocent people of the world. She is obviously and absolutely humane and caring with a great deal of sympathy for the victims. You and I Can Change the World reflects a certain truth of the way she sees Israel in particular and the world in general. She hates, condemns and curses war. She appears at the present scene as a messiah of peace and convinces soldiers of wars, guns, barrels, grenades, bombs and missiles and war mongers, with bouquets of flowery and fragrant words that join hearts together, diffuse tension, bombs, barrels, criticizes diplomatic webs of war and creates a congenial culture of peace.
In this book she yearns for a world beyond war. Prof. Ada Aharoni asserts in the Preface, “I truly believe that poetry is one of the best vehicles for spreading the message of peace that is deep in the hearts of most people of the world. It is the fittest tool for speaking from the heart to heart. In the following poems I have poured my yearnings, my hopes, confusions, frustrations, but above all, my profound conviction, that You and I Can Change the World.”
Prof. Ada Aharoni is highly qualified and widely acclaimed bilingual poetess and writer. More than 30 books to her credit which have been translated into several languages of the world. She is of the view that literature and culture can help and heal the urgent ailments of the global village, such as war, conflict and poverty.
There are five pillars on which the “forte” of You and I Can Change the World rests – Women and Peace, Peace With Our Neighbors, Peace Poems by Hebrew Poets, You and I Can, and Poems Put to Music.
Cosmic Women describes the creation, importance and responsibility of women. Aharoni tells philosophically that the women are born to foster and save the children on earth:
When you chose earth
As home for your vast roots
At the beginning
Of the great human family,
It was for life –
Not for death.
You, who were born of the nucleus,
From deadly nucleus mushroom
Save your children
SAVE YOUR CHILDREN
One of the poems titled Peace Is A Woman And A Mother wherein the poetess gives message to the women who are under the sun must understand their worth and reverence and it is a woman and mother who suffers the brunt of war and she can play a pivotal role in establishing peace. Aharoni sees peace in a woman. She says, “I know”. She met her and so she describes her condition:
She had such a sorrowful face
Just like a golden flower faded
Before her prime.
Being a woman and a mother she understands the feeling well. She asks her why she is sorrowful and her face is so faded?
She told me her baby
Was killed in Auschwitz,
Her daughter in Hiroshima
And her sons in Vietnam, Ireland
Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine,
Bosnia, Rwanda, Chechnya
India and Pakistan
Iraq and Afghanistan.
Aharoni sees peace as a woman and a mother:
A thousand candles then lit
In her starry eyes, and I saw –
Peace is indeed a pregnant woman,
Peace is a mother.
Aharoni looks at a woman and a mother as a goddess of peace. She wants women to display and utilize their characteristics of goddesses. They must come forward and make the world believe they can change the world, and change it.
Killing Us Softly reminds the parents that they advise their children “not to quarrel” and “stop fighting” because they will hurt each other. But as a grown up, we ourselves are moving ahead to annihilate each other. We are killing us softly with guns and scuds. Does a lioness devour her cubs? Does a gardener destroy his buds? Does a dog destroy kennel of other dogs? Do the birds destroy nests of other birds? Aharoni advises to give up such arsenal and mentalities for becoming superpowers to maul the feeble States and usurp their resources otherwise all of us will fall in the nuclear pit:
We breed black widows with red eyes in our labs.
Let’s remember in the blood of our temples,
In a nuclear war there are no winners.
Throw War quickly into the historic dirt-bin it deserves,
Let’s save our children,
Cubs and buds before the fall,
Or in the nucleus pit we’ll all fall.
You Cannot Bomb Me Anymore is a poem in structure that shows that the poetess directly speaking to the spirit of man with conviction. She starts with “Listen, little big man, you cannot bomb me anymore”. She further tells man, “I don’t allow you to bomb me, nor choke nor rape me anymore”. She possesses strength, guts, wit and wisdom. She has learnt it from her Norwegian sisters:
With this woman’s mind
This woman’s body
This woman’s heart-
We don’t allow you
To bomb us anymore
For our sisters in Norway
Have shown us the way
And now –
You cannot, bomb us
Lines of this poem “You cannot bomb me”, “I don’t allow you to bomb me”, “nor choke nor rape me” and “we don’t allow you to bomb us” challenges man to change his attitude towards woman. Now don’t consider us a weaker section. We are in a position to turn the waves and cease the tides. The repetition of the words “you cannot bomb me/us” several times in this poem gives the inner feeling and reaction that the woman has against man.
Aharoni advocates that woman is superior to man because woman has been created from pure human bone and Adam was created from mere earth. She argues and drives point home with witness and evidence as Adam was created from mere earth. Here the “I” stands for a woman and a mother:
Whereas I was sculpted
From a much finer substance
Finer than gold
Remember Adam dear –
I was created
From pure human bone
Your strong rib-bone
Became me – Eve
Mother of life,
And at the end of the poem she arrives at the conclusion that man and women are in reality equal, for “Eve is You”.
The poetess has a weapon in her armory to kill war forever as the readers find in the poem I Want To Kill You War, not like phoenix that always comes back. The reason to kill war is quite obvious, it is the greatest murderer, plunderer and the greatest killer, as in the ongoing decade millions of people have been killed all over the world. Governors hypocritically state statements that “wars” are waged to establish peace, to destroy weapons of mass destruction and terror, yet inflicted untold miseries are poured on human beings. War is still goes on:
feeding your fat bellies
With fresh soldiers
And nuclear arms,
With blurring eyes
She admires scientists for their inventions and contributions for the convenience and welfare of human beings. At the same time she addresses and admonishes scientists in her poem Myopic Scientist: Give Us Peace and tells them don’t let the war mongers steal your research, your unaware soul, your creation and your bubbling myopic brains, since human beings live in fear of war. She appeals to scientists to give us the gift of peace:
Dear scientists, please,
Research peace horizons,
Say nay to star wars, and earth wars,
And any, any pitiful war.
The way of thinking and utterance of the politicians and diplomats have radically changed. We may call it misleading and poses peril to the world. Aharoni unfolds and unmasks them without fear in her poem Pollution. I say to my sons, “sons”, to bombs “bombs”, to nuclear pollution “poisoned radiation” and “nuclear holocaust”, but they say “soldiers”, “peacemakers” “energy” and “deterrence”. She asks questions to the head of States:
What kind of deterrence
Can be had
When we are all dead?
Mothers You Know is a poem of soul searching, thought provoking, conscience creasing, responsibility infusing, and spirit invigorating of the mothers of children. Undoubtedly, goddesses of peace in the homes, they give life, love and heal through their wombs and life blood. Mothers closely guard children with their wisdom, tender words and watchful eyes. The question arises in her mind, “What about making mothers the guardians of peace on earth?” Aharoni asks mothers to watch scattered limbs, bones, cries, tears, wails, sighs and ruins on the planet and to make efforts to protect “your fearful children”, to protect them from arms manufacturers and war mongers:
Look at the terrible mess they have
Made of our blue planet, mother,
You are the only one, who can save it now,
The only one who really knows
How to protect your fearful children
Weeping over their drugged ailing world,
The only one who can heal it now, mother
Cradling it in your warm, loving arms.
A Bridge of Peace is a poem which is not only to inspire good neighborhood relations, but it also teaches lessons how to maintain relationships with the neighboring countries. A country’s arms cannot establish peace, harmony and integrity. Aharoni’s voice makes us realize that good relationship guarantees peace in the region and in the country, therefore, she says my Palestinian sister, daughter of Abraham who is like me, and she proposes to build strong bridge of understanding and love:
So my Palestinian sister,
Let us build a bridge of
Where each shall sit with her baby
Under her vine and under her fig tree –
And none shall make them afraid
AND NONE SHALL MAKE THEM AFRAID
Now thank God, a Voice of Peace is coming from Israel. This is the voice of Prof. Ada Aharoni from her heart which will certainly touch the heart of Indians and the world as well.
Anguish can open hearts to a deeper stream. For when we are broken, we are open. Resurrection follows demolition. We experience now resurrection. If you have not experienced ache and vulnerability through war you have probably neither searched the heights of humanism nor plumbed the depths of love and compassion through peace.
Prof. Ada Aharoni believes that only “Cruel jungle animals fight against the vision of peace” (Birth Pangs of Peace). In The Second Exodus she rings the bell and warns the Jews of Egypt (where she was born, and ousted with her family and all her community, because of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict), “wandering Jews, open your Jewish eyes, you will soon have to spread your wings again, and look for new nest”.
However, something is lost; we can regain it but necessarily join hands together to kill war and war mongers:
We will all join hands
And put out the fire
And save our roots
And save humanity
And save our blue Planet
And cultivate it all over
And bring flourishing green again.
Israel and its neighbor, Palestine, India and its neighbor Pakistan, and the world urgently need peace for human being. As discussed throughout this review, women and mothers can play a pivotal role in establishing peace. But they must estimate their potential and exhibit it to teach lessons to arms manufacturers, war mongers and to those who are misleading the world in the name of establishing peace, war on terror and regime change. Women and mothers come forward and protect the lives of your children. Indian and global academics, writers, poets, reviewers, critics, scholars and readers will certainly promote the theme of peace of Prof. Ada Aharoni for the sake of human beings to enhance their status of being humane.
(Dr. Shujaat Hussain is an Indian prolific book reviewer, prominent poet and celebrated literary critic.)