Friday, 15 January 2010

Why Don’t He Lend a Hand?

By Samuel P. Putnam (1838-1896)

You say there is a God
Above the boundless sky,
A wise and wondrous deity
Whose strength none can defy.
You say that he is seated
Upon a throne most grand,
Millions of angels at his beck
Why don’t he lend a hand?

See how the earth is groaning,
What countless tears are shed,
See how the plague stalks forward
And brave and sweet lie dead.
Homes burn and hearts are breaking,
Grim murder stains the land;
You say he is omnipotent
Why don’t he lend a hand?

Behold, injustice conquers;
Pain curses every hour;
The good and true and beautiful
Are trampled like the flower.
You say he is our father,
That what he wills doth stand;
If he is thus almighty
Why don’t he lend a hand?

What is this monarch doing
Upon his golden throne,
To right the wrong stupendous,
Give joy instead of moan?
With his resistless majesty,
Each force at his command,
Each law his own creation
Why don’t he lend a hand?

Alas! I fear he’s sleeping,
Or is himself a dream,
A bubble on thought’s ocean,
Our fancy’s fading gleam.
We look in vain to find him
Upon his throne so grand,
Then turn your vision earthward,
‘Tis we must lend a hand.

‘Tis we must grasp the lightning,
And plow the rugged soil;
‘Tis we must beat back suffering,
And plague and murder foil;
‘Tis we must build the paradise
And bravely right the wrong;
The god above us faileth,
The god within is strong.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Bertrand Russell on the Palestinian Tragedy

"The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was "given" by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East. We are frequently told that we must sympathise with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. [...] What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy."Bertrand Russell , 31 January 1970