Why Should I Care Who the Government Harasses?

Hiding Your Head In the Sand Doesn’t Work …

Preface: After learning that the NSA and FBI have targeted him for exhaustive surveillance, prominent Muslim-American attorney told Glenn Greenwald:

All Americans should be outraged and concerned by the surveillance. “Because if it is Muslim Americans today, it is going to be them next” ….

He’s right …

German pastor Martin Niemöller initially supported Hitler. But he later opposed him, and was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp for years.

Niemöller learned the hard way that keep your head down doesn’t keep one out of trouble … in the long run, it increases the danger toall of us.

Niemöller wrote a brilliant poem – First They Came – about the manner in which Germans allowed Nazi abuses by failing to protest the abuse of “others” … first gypsies, gays, communists, and Jews, then Catholics … and eventually everyone.

This is my modern interpretation of Niemöller’s poem …

 

First they tortured a U.S. citizen and gang member
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a criminal

Then they tortured a U.S. citizen, whistleblower and navy veteran
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a whistleblower

Then they locked up an attorney for representing accused criminals …
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a defense attorney

Then they arrested a young father walking with his son simply because he told Dick Cheney that he disagreed with his policies

I remained silent;
I’ve never talked to an important politician

Then they said an entertainer should be killed because she questioned the government’s version of an important historical event
I remained silent;
I wasn’t an entertainer

Then they arrested people for demanding that Congress hold the President to the Constitution
I did not speak out;
I’ve never protested in Washington

Then they arrested a man for holding a sign
I held my tongue;
I’ve never held that kind of sign

Then they broke a minister’s leg because he wanted to speak at a public event …
I said nothing;
I wasn’t a religious leader

Then they shot a student with a taser gun and arrested him for asking a question of a politician at a public event …
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a student

Then they started labeling virtually every innocent and normal behavior as marking Americans as “potential terrorists”
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be called a terrorist

Then they threw political dissenters in psychiatric wards
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be seen as crazy

Then they declared that they could label U.S. citizens living on U.S. soil as “unlawful enemy combatants” and imprison them indefinitely without access to any attorney …
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be labeled an enemy

Then they assassinated an American citizen without any court trial
And they killed his son because he should have had a “far more responsible father”
I remained silent;
I live on American soil

Then they declared that they could assassinate U.S. citizens living on U.S. soil without any due process of law (update) …
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be on the list

Then they forced down the airplane carrying the president of a sovereign nation, because they were looking for a whistleblower
I remained silent;
I’m not a foreign leader

Then they called for the founder of an independent publisher to be killed by drone
I remained silent;
I don’t want to worry about drone strikes against me

Then they started spying on all Americans, even though top experts say that doesn’t protect us from terrorism
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to call even more attention to myself from the spies

Then they charged the partner of an investigative journalist with terrorism for transporting whistleblowing documents to the journalist regarding illegal NSA spying
I remained silent;
My wife isn’t a journalist

Then they targeted prominent, peaceful American Muslim lawyers for total  surveillance by the NSA and FBI
I remained silent;
I’m not a Muslim

When they came for me,
Everyone was silent;
there was no one left to speak out.

Postscript: I originally wrote this poem in 2007. I have updated it with additional verses as current events have unfolded.

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  • mistah charley, ph.d.

    perhaps the best way to understand this is to recognize that ‘there is no law – there is only power’ – or to be perhaps slightly more correct – ‘there is always law in the books, but there is law in the world only when there are people who behave in accordance with it’

  • BuelahMan

    Even the imaginary tales about the NSDAP and Hitler (the Jews’ whipping boy) pale in comparison to the Bolsheviks/Communists, not to mention that the Jewish neocon cabal that has thoroughly hijacked America in the same way that maniacal tribe did to the Soviet Union. Any open, truthful evaluation shows where the real threat towards the world really, truly comes from.

    Too bad this author is oblivious or intentionally hiding the truth.

  • BuelahMan

    Even the imaginary tales about the NSDAP and Hitler (the Jews’ whipping boy) pale in comparison to the Bolsheviks/Communists, not to mention that the Jewish neocon cabal that has thoroughly hijacked America in the same way that maniacal tribe did to the Soviet Union. Any open, truthful evaluation shows where the real threat towards the world really, truly comes from.

    Too bad this author is oblivious or intentionally hiding the truth.