(Translated from Urdu in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” a film by Mira Nair)

When your dreams all turn
heavy as stone,
Say what you have to say.
Your history holds you
tight as bone,
Say what you have to say.

In a silence so strong
that it makes you its own,
Stand up!, Speak out!
Let the crows call,
Let the stones fall,
Say what you have to say.

And when those rocks crack
when the chains snap,
let the words come,
from within,
from within.

If they come to restrain you,
come to ball-and-chains you,
let the words flow
from your lips;
speak your truth now,
it’s the only way out.
You can be,
what you can be.
Say what you have to say.

Worn ragged,
and you’re rattling inside,
Say what you have to say.
And so alive,
you can no longer hide,
Say what you have to say.

Abandon the fear,
and you bring back
your pride.
Stand Up! Speak out!
Let the crows call,
let the stones fall,
Say what you have to say.

You speak the your truth now,
it’s the only way out.
To let the words flow
out of you.
Stand up! Speak out!
Speak out!
Speak out!




Otto Rene Castillo

Apolitical Intellectuals

One day
the apolitical
of my country
will be interrogated
by the simplest
of our people.

They will be asked
what they did
when their nation died out
like a sweet fire
small and alone.

No one will ask them
about their dress,
their long siestas
after lunch,
no one will want to know
about their sterile combats
with “the idea
of the nothing”
no one will care about
their higher financial learning.

They won’t be questioned
on Greek mythology,
or regarding their self-disgust
when someone within them
begins to die
the coward’s death.

They’ll be asked nothing
about their absurd
born in the shadow
of the total lie.

On that day
the simple men will come.
Those who had no place
in the books and poems
of the apolitical intellectuals,
but daily delivered
their bread and milk,
their tortillas and eggs,
those who drove their cars,
who cared for their dogs and gardens
and worked for them,
and they’ll ask:

“What did you do when the poor
suffered, when tenderness
and life
burned out of them?”

Apolitical intellectuals
of my sweet country,
you will not be able to answer.

A vulture of silence
will eat your gut.

Your own misery
will pick at your soul.

And you will be mute in your shame.


Professor James M. Craven/Omahkohkiaaiipooyii, a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen, is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of the Blackfoot Nation. For more than 30 years, he has taught economics, geography and ethnology from undergraduate to post-doctoral levels. He is a Tenured Professor of Economics and Geography, Public Employee of the People and Government of the State of Washington at Clark College, Vancouver, WA and Member of the Blackfoot Nation. Prof. Craven/Omahkohkiaaiipooyii has been a Visiting and Consulting Professor of Economics and Political Economy at Tsinghua University as well as Visiting and Consulting Professor of Economics, Political Economy and Ethnology at CASS and is presently a member of the Editorial Board of International Critical Thought. He sits also at International Advisory Board of The 4th Media.

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