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Culture, Europe, Spreading information
Sarajevo – poem by Czesław Miłosz
The Polish writer Czesław Miłosz, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote the poem “Sarajevo” in August 1993 at his home in Berkeley, California. In it, he articulated deep disappointment with Europe’s abandonment of Sarajevo. The poem was first published in “Tygodnik Powszechny”, a Polish weekly, and then was translated and published in various other countries.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the cover of the “New Spektar” magazine, published in September 1995 by the International Peace Centre, featured a French version of the poem and the title “Sarajevo” graphically designed to match the Polish “Solidarność” slogan’s imagery.
The English version of the poem, translated by the author and Robert Hass, published in Klaonica, Poems for Bosnia, 1993
Now that a revolution really is needed, those who were fervent, are quite cool.
While a country, murdered and raped, calls for help from the Europe which it had trusted, they yawn.
While statesmen choose villainy and no voice is raised to call it by name.
The rebellion of the young who called for a new earth was a sham, and that generation has written the verdict on itself.
Listening with indifference to the cries of those who perish because they are after all just barbarians killing each other.
And the lives of the well-fed are worth more than the lives of the starving.
It is revealed now that their Europe since the beginning has been a deception, for its foundation is nothingness.
Nothingness, as the prophets keep saying, brings forth only nothingness and they will be led once again like cattle to slaughter.
Let them tremble and at the last moment comprehend that the word Sarajevo will from now on mean the destruction of their sons and the debasement of their daughters.
They prepare it by repeating: “We at least are safe,” unaware that what will strike them ripens in themselves.