Say NO - By Wolfgang Borchert

The poem below by Wolfgang Borchert posted at the homepage of World Council of Churches: A worldwide fellowship of 349 churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service.

Say NO – by Wolfgang Borchert – Dokument-Datum:  5.08.1983

This poem was written in 1947 a few days before Borchert died at the age of 26. The following is an adaptation of the German version, first prepared by youth participants at the vigil for peace and justice at the WCC Assembly in Vancouver in 1983.

Wolfgang Borchert (20 May 1921 – 20 November 1947) was a German author and playwright (Trümmerliteratur) whose work was affected by his experience of dictatorship and his service in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. His work is among the best examples of the Trümmerliteratur movement in post-World War II Germany. (Click hier to Read More).

You. Man at the machine and man in the workshop. If tomorrow they tell you you are to make no more water-pipes and saucepans but are to make steel helmets and machine-guns, then there’s only one thing to do:

Say NO!

You. Woman at the counter and woman in the office. If tomorrow they tell you you are to fill shells and assemble telescopic sights for snipers’ rifles, then there’s only one thing to do:

Say NO!

You. Research worker in the laboratory. If tomorrow they tell you you are to invent a new death for the old life, then there’s only one thing to do:

Say NO!

You. Priest in the pulpit. If tomorrow they tell you you are to bless murder and declare war holy, then there’s only one thing to do:

Say NO!

You. Pilot in your aeroplane. If tomorrow they tell you you are to
carry bombs over the cities, then there’s only one thing to do: Say NO!

You. Man of the village and man of the town. If tomorrow they come and give you your call-up papers, then there’s only one thing to do:

Say NO!

You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, mother in Vancouver and in London, you on the Hwangho and on the Mississippi, you in Naples and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo – mothers in all parts of the earth, mothers of the world, if tomorrow they tell you you are to bear new soldiers for new battles, then there’s only one thing to do:

Say NO!

For if you do not say NO – if YOU do not say no – mothers, then: then!

In the bustling hazy harbour towns the big ships will fall silent as corpses against the dead deserted quay walls, their once shimmering bodies overgrown with seaweed and barnacles, smelling of graveyards and rotten fish.

The trams will lie like senseless glass-eyed cages beside the twisted steel skeleton of wires and track.

The sunny juicy vine will rot on decaying hillsides, rice will dry in the withered earth, potatoes will freeze in the unploughed land and cows will stick their death-still legs into the air like overturned chairs.

In the fields beside rusted ploughs the corn will be flattened like a beaten army.

Then the last human creature, with mangled entrails and infected lungs, will wander around, unanswered and lonely, under the poisonous glowing sun, among the immense mass graves and devastated cities.

The last human creature, withered, mad, cursing, accusing – and the terrible accusation: WHY?

will die unheard on the plains, drift through the ruins, seep into the rubble of churches, fall into pools of blood, unheard, unanswered,

the last animal scream of the last human animal –

All this will happen tomorrow, tomorrow, perhaps, perhaps even tonight, perhaps tonight, if – if –

You do not say NO.

3 comments to Say NO – By Wolfgang Borchert

  • Guten Abend, Frau Salam,

    The Cry of God is the cry He made to Adam in the garden “Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). And it is still the cry He makes to His sheep who hear His voice. (John 10:27) ‘Isa al Maseeh, Jesus the Messiah said of God’s sheep who believe in the Messiah: “My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me.” All of His sheep hear and follow Him. We hear Him and no other. The false prophets and tyrants come and go just as Our Lord Jesus Christ said they would, but they matter not at all. Salvation is in God, Allah (swt) and His Messiah Jesus Christ, alone and no other. Part of hearing Our Lord’s voice is to do the works He said: Mt. 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. 5 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    3 “The poor in spirit”… That is, the humble; and they whose spirit is not set upon riches.

    6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: 12 Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. 13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.

    16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    It does not matter who or what opposes us, if they continue in persecuting us, they only invite absolute destruction on themselves. Jesus solemnly said, Mt. 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. 24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.
    26 And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof. 28 And it came to pass when Jesus had fully ended these words, the people were in admiration at his doctrine. 29 For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees.

    Especially, let us relieve those of His who are oppressed and persecuted for the sake of His Most Holy name.

    Viva Palestina!

    Palestine Cry: The Cry of God

    Gott segne Sie,


  • Munah Malani

    Strict Avoidance is the answer. So also say no to industrially processed foods, additives, prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals and vaccines, Facebook, google, cell phones, mammograms, water fluoridation, mental health screening, X-ray and Terahertz security scanners, wifi, television and movies as well as contemporary radio music laced with subliminally, alcohol, cigarettes, sweets even those made with cane sugar, overly phytoestrogenic meal choices such as sweet potatoes, radiation and chemotherapy as well as hormone therapy, genetically modified foods (corn and soybean are almost 100pc gmo in the us), toxic food oils such as canola, safflower or corn oil and beware! of cottonseed oil, aluminium in your bread and pastries and pasta thanks to sodium aluminum sulfate in the baking powder, food sterilized with gamma radiation…. You are meant to die early, stupid and in ignorance of your executioners and I for one am having difficulties justifying humanity when you so willingly lap up their poisonous deceit.

    • Alex

      You said it all. It wears on me every day… I know all about what they are doing, and I know who “they are”. They are every one of the people I see around me. I wish I could count myself in among with them, but no doubt like you I’ve educated myself about these things, tuning in to the hideous truth since childhood when all have their first chance to see through lies and to feel proper indignation at being abused… Most give up. I have often wanted to blame the masses of peasant fools, but I realize that they are fodder in a giant grinder of souls held by a demiurgical monster, a metamonster, meta-abuser, the true controllers of this planet conceived as a unity. People rarely wake up… There is a point in trying to help, but just make sure you don’t give in to hatred either for them or the monsters most culpible… take care of your own soul first or you’ll regret it. Don’t lose compassion, especially for children, but if you can’t save yourself you can’t save anyone. Reach Gnosis while you still have time, for in your next incarnation in this earthly hell you’ll forget all but one most precious gem of insight and have to start all over again, and who knows in what condition? Good blessings on our sincerest efforts.

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