January CommQuote

Let’s ring (hint hint) in the new year with a poem called Cell Phone by Ernesto Cardenal (transl. by John Lyons). It’s from his 2011 collection titled The Origin of the Species and Other Poems (Texas Tech University Press).

Cell Phone
You talk on your cell phone
and talk and talk
and laugh into your cell phone
never knowing how it was made
and much less how it works
but what does that matter
trouble is you don’t know
just as I didn’t
that many people die in the Congo
thousands upon thousands
for that cellphone
they die in the Congo
in its mountains there is coltan
(besides gold and diamonds)
used for cell phone
condensers
for the control of the minerals
multinational corporations
wage this unending war
5 million dead in 15 years
and they don’t want it to be known
country of immense wealth
with poverty-stricken population
80% of the world’s coltan
reserves are in the Congo
the coltan has lain there for
three thousand million years
Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Sony
buy the coltan
the Pentagon too, the New York
Times corporation too
and they don’t want it to be known
nor do they want the war to stop
so as to carry on grabbing the coltan
children of 7 to 10 years extract the coltan
because their tiny bodies
fit into the tiny holes
for 25 cents a day
and loads of children die
due to the coltan powder
or hammering the rock
that collapses on top of them
The New York Times too
that doesn’t want it to be known
and that’s how it remains unknown
this organized crime
of the multinationals
the Bible identifies
truth and justice
and love and the truth
the importance of the truth then
that will set us free
also the truth about coltan
coltan inside your cell phone
on which you talk and talk
and laugh into your cell phone

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