Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Liverpool Commemorates the Chinese Labour Corps of the Allied World War I front 10th August

An important upcoming event in the history of China's relations with the West. A hundred thousand Chinese volunteers worked alongside the Allied forces in the European theatre of World War 1, doing some of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs on the battlefield. It was understood that an allied victory would mean China being given back its territories that had been taken by Germany.

These men were to be betrayed when the Versailles Treaty gave their land, not back to the Chinese, but to the Japanese, laying the foundations for some of the worst atrocities ever committed by humans on other humans.

Here is announcement from the Meridian Society.

Liverpool Commemorates the Chinese Labour Corps

As the centenary commemorations of World War I draw to a close this year, Liverpool remembers the contribution of the Chinese Labour Corps, almost a hundred thousand men from China who joined the Allied effort by providing logistical help at the Front.

The Meridian Society aims to raise awareness of their story nationwide through its project activities (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund). Local residents and visitors from elsewhere are invited to join us in Liverpool on the occasion of the centenary of the last Chinese labourer buried at Anfield who died on 9th August 1918.

A day of remembrance in honour of the Chinese Labour Corps will take place in collaboration with the Museum of Liverpool and Friends of Anfield Cemetery on Friday 10th August (details below).

A Family Activities Day will be held at the Museum of Liverpool on Saturday 11th August, at which members of the general public will be able to hear a talk on the Chinese Labour Corps and attend film screenings, or learn about the experiences of Chinese labourers by taking part in workshops on story-telling and Chinese arts and crafts. A number of Chinese Labour Corps artefacts will be on display and the museum will provide World War I objects for handling.

A photographic exhibition on the Chinese Labour Corps from the W J Hawkings Collection, courtesy of his grandson John de Lucy, and kindly prepared by The Oriental Museum of Durham University, is currently on display at The Black-E, 1 Great George Street, L1 5EW. Entitled 'A Noble Duty Bravely Done - The Chinese Labour Corps in World War I', the exhibition will run until 18th August 2018.

Remembering the CLC at Liverpool on Friday 10th August

Commemorative service
Time 1.30 - 2.30 pm
Venue: Anfield Cemetery, 238 Priory Road L4 2SL
A commemoration in remembrance of the members of the Chinese Labour Corps who died in Liverpool to be held at their graveside in the Cemetery. Local residents and visitors from elsewhere are most welcome to join us in honouring them.

Film Screening
Time 3.30 - 5 pm
Venue: Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head L3 1DG
A documentary film ‘Forgotten Faces of the Great War’ containing oral histories by descendants both of Chinese labourers and Western Chinese Labour Corps officers to be screened at the Museum. Numbers are limited and places will be allocated on request.

If you would like to attend these events please email us
For more details on the project, please click here

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Jeremy Corbyn condemns cheap labour from abroad on day of Chinatown protest against immigration fishing raids

Labour dogwhistles echo Trump protectionism and the spirit of MAGA

Congratulations and a big thank you to everyone who made it to today's protest against the Home Office's aggressive immigrant fishing raids blighting London's Chinatown, called by the London Chinatown Chinese Association. These raids have intensified under the Tories' hostile environment ever since the Brexit vote to the point where shocking footage shows an elderly woman collapsing and almost being hit by a vehicle in a raid on 5th July.

Tellingly, Jeremy Corbyn not only neglected to tweet support to a community under siege, but he chose today of all days to state his opposition to cheap labour from abroad, reinforcing the bogus immigration debate as if this was the key problem facing British workers.

Instead, he launched "Build It In Britain". Not like MAGA, then.

He could have argued against companies that pay low wages. However, instead, the implication is that its the phenomenon of immigration itself that is the cause of our economic woes and not any one of a myriad of screw-ups such as Cameron and Obama destabilising the world by military action in Libya, the pound tanking after the EU referendum or even just a predatory, greedy ruling class.

I don't know which double-barreled twit in his team claimed his words were being twisted into Fake News, but recent statements by his mates chart the course of this disastrous anti-foreigner frame of mind, especially when it comes to the Chinese.

A perfect storm has been brewing for Britain's Chinese community: a hostile immigration environment sweeping up east Europeans and Windrush workers alike; the Labour Party's betrayal of the principle of freedom of movement for labour; the increasingly bizarre political scapegoating of Chinese by Paul Mason and fellow left populists. Then, of course, there's Trump whose protectionism against the world, and especially China, is plucked straight out of the Steve Bannon playbook (more on Trump's China trade war in another blogpost).

This has been bulding for a while. Bereft of socialist ideas to galvanise the opposition into government despite nearly a decade of Tory austerity that's left most of us desperate for progressive, inclusive politics for a change, Corbyn, Seumas Milne et al have chosen Trumpian populism, focusing on foreign workers as responsible for our ills. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's Jeremy's left stablemate, Paul Mason:

'Cause China's millionaires are so much more venal than ours ... who've been around for a lot longer. So much for class analysis. Mason has been trying to persuade Corbyn to favour "... a strategy designed to allow the populations of the developed world to capture more of the growth projected over the next 5-15 years, if necessary at a cost to India, China and Brazil ... to save democracy, democratic institutions and values in the developed world by reversing the 30-year policy of enriching the bottom 60% and the top 1% of the world's population". So we're fighting for the 39 per cent, then — for the few, not the many. I like the way he's snuck in the 1% to justify his proposed wreckage of foreign economies.

Here is someone who was prominent in various left parties, including being in the Socialist Alliance press team (where he did very little while I did the work for no pay),  dropping his "workers of the world unite" Marxism for a piece of whatever it is that Trump's got. "It is," he continues in an appalling lurch to the right, "a programme to deliver growth in Wigan, Newport and Kirkaldy — if necessary at the price of not delivering them to Shenzhen, Bombay and Dubai."

Evidently, China raising 800 million out of poverty after decades of low paid labour in suicide factories making our stuff, and following almost two centuries of misery inflicted by the world superpowers as well as their own decaying Qing dynasty, is an unacceptable inconvenience to westerners and nothing to do with the dynamics of capitalism. My major objection came when China was persuaded by the US to join the WTO and suddenly state assets ended up in the hands of the children of top cadre. However, they are where they are. All that pain they went through and now western opportunists want to trash it just as they're getting up off their knees.

The China-bashing is getting ridiculous. Domestically, there's much to challenge but in terms of economy and foreign policy, right now, China and Germany under Angela Merkel look like the only grown-ups in the room — if we're stuck with capitalism until that ol' gravedigger gets going, these are the best. Mason's passionate pleading for plucky little Victoria's Secret against big bad China was puzzling on many levels. I remember when Chinese women were often represented by women in white science coats cuz we were encouraged to use our brains, not our T and A. Today, women in China have to struggle against the sort of shite portrayals of women that white left males crave but should have dumped a generation back: the lingerie company does not represent any sort of liberation. Neither is it some sort of workers' paradise for anyone who knows the company's exploitative history of using child and slave labour, and its terrible sweatshop conditions in Jordan for "guest-workers".

Nearly 20 years ago we held our first Chinatown demo when New Labour tried to blame the UK Chinese for the devastating outbreak of foot and mouth disease, an association of a racial group with filth and pestilence that would make Goebbels proud. I'd hoped that things would be better under a purported socialist but I've been told by Corbyn's friends that there are no Chinese workers in Britain (not even the Dover 58 or the 22 cocklepickers who were lost in Morecambe Bay) because we "all work in catering" and are therefore all "petit bourgeois", and that its "British workers who count".

As Catherine Stihler, co-chair of the Scottish Labour for the Single Market group, told the Independent: “While some voters are angry about immigration, it is the job of the Labour Party to challenge anti-immigrant sentiment and promote the benefits to our economy and public services.”

Freedom of movement for labour has long been a crucial left credo, a counterbalance to the freedom of capital to chase cheap labour across the globe. Thus, when James Dyson's cleaning technology proved to be so massively popular, he closed down the Wiltshire factory and moved it to Malaysia for all that loverly cheap labour. We wouldn't blame Malaysian workers for Dyson's decision but it's Dyson who gets the CBE and the knighthood while the foreign workers get the vilification.

Trump's trade war with China could easily slip into a hot war as some of Trump supporters seem to want.  One nuclear superpower in Thucydidean conflict with the upstart power. If that happens, none of us will be  immune from the fallout.

Here at least is one welcome message of support for today's demo.

Daniel York at today's lively London Chinatown protest

Today, China is being scapegoated for "impoverishing" the global working-class. Eighteen years ago, New Labour was blaming UK Chinese for the foot and mouth disease outbreak that Blair's government had abysmally failed to deal with. I was twice blasted out of the blue by the Ipswich Labour MP: first time for joining the Labour Party to support Corbyn (I've since departed), the second at a party where he ranted at me at length about "iniquitous Chinese" and their death penalty ... which I oppose, by the way, but that made no odds, my Chinese face being my guilty scarlet sign. The Labour Party has failed to uproot their prejudice against Chinese people and it's getting worse. Anti-Chinese racism — the one you can get away with.

Friday, 4 May 2018

When is a dress just a dress? American teenager's Chinese prom dress and cultural appropriation

Anna Chen writes in the Guardian, An American woman wearing a Chinese dress is not cultural appropriation

(Guardian headline and standfirst written by sub-eds)

When is a dress just a dress? Remember those photos of the little cocktail number that looked blue with black lace to some and white with gold lace to others when they were in fact the same frock? American teenager Keziah Daum now possesses a prom dress with similar magical properties, and it’s landed her in hot water with culture pedants.

The attraction of the qipao (“cheongsam” in Cantonese) is obvious: a sexy, figure-hugging sheath of silk with a high mandarin collar balancing a va-va-voom flash of leg via a thigh-high slash. Its beauty, however, turned into a curse when photos posted on social media of her wearing her beloved vintage find made her a target for tens of thousand of tweets accusing her of cultural appropriation. That’s one heck of a fashion crime.

The original complainant’s instinct – to draw a line at a time when Chinese people are under siege from Trump-inspired China-bashers – is understandable, but in this case, completely mistargeted. If anything, the qipao represents power and class, not race, and certainly not the culture of some exploited underclass.

The qipao’s history is said to have originated with the Manchu Qing dynasty, when members of the Han population they ruled were forced to wear a loose version of the one-piece instead of their own traditional clothing. Created in Shanghai in the 1920s, when warlords ran vast swathes of republican China, the slinkier form of qipao was a fashion favoured by one ruling strand of Chinese society that we associate with Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists, who fled to Taiwan when the communists won their revolution in 1949 and ditched the bourgeois qipao for Mao suits. Some even detect a western influence in its hybridisation, meaning the current outcry could be compared with taking offence because someone in Asia wore a tuxedo.

At its core, the identity debate is about power: who has it, who’s lost it and who’s chucking it around with abandon. This is hardly a case of a white American dressing up in a fringed chamois tunic with a feather headdress, mocking the indigenous people their antecedents almost wiped out.

At least Keziah wasn’t tip-toeing around to mimic bound feet in a play set a millennium before foot-binding became a thing in China, as in perhaps the most absurd example of cultural appropriation I’ve witnessed. In More Light at London’s Arcola Theatre several years ago, seven white actresses played Chinese concubines buried alive (allegedly) with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died in 210BC. Wearing kimonos (Japanese) and sticking chopsticks in their hair (!), this was a prime example of badly executed appropriation. Unlike Keziah’s appreciation.

When cultures meet and mingle, they inform and enrich each other. I can wear tartan, wear pyjamas, knock up a curry, curl my hair, cry along to the blues and dance to funk. I know the difference between a schmuck and a schlemiel. I’ve sat shiva for a friend’s father. I love gefilte fish. Does this make me a cultural appropriator?

The whole cultural appropriation debate is in danger of being turned from a defence of minorities under the colonialist cosh into a lazy substitute for real political power. How has it degenerated to the extent that we’re now on social media mobbing teenagers whose only crime is to consider a Chinese dress beautiful? Qipao-gate this isn’t.

With President Trump and his acolytes pumping up yellow peril fears around China, and his trade wars threatening to slip into hot wars, the last thing we need is this trivialised pastiche of serious debate. Minorities have precious little ammunition with which to challenge tribal juggernauts. Don’t waste what little cultural and political firepower we have.

Keziah was neither stealing power nor claiming ownership. And she looked lovely.

Here's me wearing the cheongsam from my solo show Suzy Wrong Human Cannon (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), at the ICA in London for a performance of Bondage Pic by Grace Lau.

Guardian piece

EDIT Here's a taste what we're thought of in Britain and pretty much generally in the western Chinese diaspora:

The Opium War by Julia Lovell book review: Smoke and mirrors and barely disguised disgust for the Chinese.

What happened when the Tony Blair government tried to blame the catastrophic outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease on the UK Chinese.

For a minority to be truly part of British society you have to be visible, otherwise you're a blank canvas onto which the dominant group's inner demons can be projected. The Chinese British community finally say no to yellowface when the Royal Shakespeare Company does The Orphan of Zhao.

Similar controversy when London venue The Print Room produces a yellowface In the Depths of Love and then performs like a contortionist to make their risible excuses leaving most of us aghast and laughing in disbelief.

Sherlock and wily orientals: Blind Banker, Episode 2 review. I'm afraid this has completely wrecked my enjoyment of anything featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. Trigger warning: it features a qipao.

Sinophobia and Copenhagen: open letter to the Guardian's Mark Lynas. Right now, Germany and China lead the world in green energy policies while Trump pumps fossil fuels, even contriving to leave the Iran nuclear agreement on dubious grounds which is sending the oil price rocketing — $71 at time of writing, expected to go over $100 for the next three years. Great for Texas ...

... and Canada is currently sitting on the planet’s second largest oil reserves which it plans to release into the markets and the atmosphere, and is the first Kyoto signatory to renege on the deal. China is sticking to the Paris accord despite Trump pulling out the US.

To "trump" it all, we're even excluded from debates about us: Laurie Penny excludes woman of colour from debate about representation of women of colour

Friday, 16 March 2018

Anna Chen's band The Snow Leopards - photos from the mists of time

Found some old pics of me with my band, The Snow Leopards. Even before Apple! Well, it was long, long time ago in a universe far, far away ...

Cruella coat designed by Dave Vanian's girlfriend, Laurie, in the King's Road days.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Credit Crunch Suicide: poem about the bankers' crash by Anna Chen

Ten years of austerity since the credit crunch crisis and we're even worse off while the rich doubled their wealth since 2008

It is ten years since the bankers' crash went full blown and what have we done? Austerity, Macjobs, disabled payments cuts, a spiteful bedroom tax costing more to administer than is collected, tax cuts for the better off, women losing seven years of state pension after a lifetime of inequality, students leaving university with crippling debt the size of a mortgage, social cleansing in London through unaffordable "affordable" property prices and demolition of their communities, life expectancy slammed into reverse in the North, hate crimes on the up, the lowest interest rates for 5,000 years, quantitive easing (QE) diluting the value of our money. And the culmination of all that injustice and greed: the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Tories and their media mouthpieces tried to persuade us that Labour caused the crisis even though UK economic growth stood at two or three per cent at the time of the 2010 general election; oh for that rate today. In 2010 the Tories were elected on a raft of lies and a narrative as dissembling as the £350 billion NHS Brexit pledge emblazoned across the Leave battle-bus. Mind you, Labour allowed the Tory narrative to set like concrete, allowing incoming Chancellor George Osborne to use the crash to impose austerity, which is basically the transfer of wealth from the poorest to the richest.

Once in power, Prime Minister David Cameron came on like a Tony Blair mini-me and had a war with Libya in 2011, further destabilising the world. Cameron promised a bonfire of regulations to "kill off the health and safety culture for good". He also gave us the EU referendum, not because there was any widespread demand for it, but in order to quell right-wing rebellion in his own Tory ranks. Some 52% of the vote — 37% of the total electorate, a quarter of the UK population — voted to "Take back control" and promptly handed us over to global warming oil guzzlers and chlorinated chicken merchants. And his actions may very well end up bankrupting the country should the Brexit trajectory be carried through.

Here's a poem I wrote about the crash in 2008. The shock for me is that we are re-entering the same territory with a mountain of debt and market manipulation.

Credit Crunch Suicide

I could have been a banker
Sitting on a ledge
High up on a skyscraper
Coz someone clipped my hedge

I could have been in business
In the city making bids
Take a shotgun to the wife and dogs
And then I’d do the kids

But I’m just a daily worker
About to lose my home
Savings all depleted
Can’t even get a loan

The bankers got their billions
The doggy got a bone
The millions got the wankers
Whose hearts are made of stone

I can cry into me drink
I can curse the gods above
I'd like to give that banker
A bleedin' great big shove

Watch him splat upon the pavement
A human pizza pie
Coz that's where I'll be living
Until the day I die.

by Anna Chen 29 Oct 2008

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Tinderbox plc: a poem for Grenfell Tower

A poem for Grenfell Tower by Anna Chen marking a month since the disaster

Today marks a whole month since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, yet the conflagration that killed at least 80 people seems ever present, still fresh in the mind and the heart. This is more than an accident, a natural tragedy — call it gross negligence, call it murder, someone had to make a buck. Only £2 per panel of cladding separated the chances of survival from inevitable death. Then there were the absent sprinklers, the single stairwell, the lack of adequate firefighting equipment, the destruction of regulations designed to keep us safe, and all the other corrupt, mendacious, money-grabbing decisions taken that led us to this point.

While the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea took £55 million a year in rent from the remnants of its social housing, only £38 million made it back to the property that yielded so much loot that the borough was able to amass £274 million to spend on council tax rebates for the better off and flashy opera events in Holland Park. The poorest paid for the amusement of the wealthy. Funny how there's always money for those who need it least.

Artists are engaging with events. Here is my attempt to make sense, reflect and refract. I hope my readers get something out of it.

Tinderbox plc

At the hot point
Of the turning world
A spark lit the flame
That caught the cladding
That burnt the facade
And threw a light
On the burned-out shell
Of the state of the State,
By Lucifer's light,
A glimpse of hell
Roiled and erupted.
Two pounds of flesh
Per shake of dice
No values known,
Just the cheapest price
In modern Britain plc.

A giant with his fiery sword
Sliced and smote from the flash at four,
He slashed the night to twenty-three,
Dividing the world, rich and poor.
He made his mark, he slashed the dark
On the bias to the roof and higher,
Earth to sky, sheer cliff of fire,
Sliced the tower to light and ash
On one side life, the other a fire of flesh,
A cash-fuelled slomo waiting-room of death,
Each poisoned breath counting down
Lives extinguished but not the flames
Blackening air with soot and cinders.
That is my neighbour, this is a mum,
There is the artist, those are children
Unto the last babe in turbulent dreams
Such horror wreaks and wrecks.
This is the state at the top of the heap,
What power sows, the weakest reap.

Another giant slashed and burned for years
And turned a world upon its head,
A bonfire of red tape set in motion
A cascade of events, invisible, minuscule,
Each piling onto each in spidery increments.
Action group Cassandras screamed murders in waiting,
Grievous bodily profit with intent.
Lift a rock and see what crawls,
So many in the frame, your head spins,
The shitlist lengthens with every trawl,
Cash is cruel, cash is king:
National Grid gas pipes, KCTMO, austerity,
Stay Put, politicians, the construction industry ...
Even Maggie Thatcher takes a bow
Her dishes are all cooked by now,
Her high rise cladding on simmer the year the miners struck,
No law now, just luck and the gift that keeps on giving,
She slashed and burned faster than the FR60
One-hour fire-hold rule she flamed,
Halted building, sold off social housing,
Health and safety not gone mad. Just gone.

Aberfan, Hillsborough, Grenfell Tower,
Who had the cash also had the power
To wrap Babel in plastic, for the view palled,
No thought for the living when the opera calls,
A class event, a bagatelle paid for with Grenfell rents,
Rip off the poorest, the system bent.
Gas pipes up the stairwell, smoke in the vents,
Alarms on the fritz, saved a few pence,
Water pressure failing, too little spent,
Retrofit sprinklers too high an expense
And on ignition, stay put was their best advice.
Two pounds of flesh per shake of dice
No values here, just the cheapest price.

The giant scrawled in smoke and flame
Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here
But the firefighters came in all the same
Through Bosch's vision, the scorching Hotpoint near,
Over bodies they clambered, up clogging stairs
Barely three feet wide, on a wing and a prayer
And an underfunded gulp of air.
The sullied air chokes but the horror is pure,
Breathe deep and inhale fury and fear,
Cyanide, asbestos and your neighbours.
Which is the most toxic?
Down in your lungs even now
The death clock ticks, reset

Time was the enemy.
Fire was the enemy.
Mammon was the enemy.
Kensington and Chelsea council was the enemy.
Kensington and Chelsea TMO was the enemy.
The industry was the enemy.
The government was the enemy.
They sprung a trap, a trap was sprung.

Yet still we lived. Watching from an outer circle,
We were resourceful in those hours.
In our heads, at least, perhaps a car could provide a landing.
Could a mountain of mattresses soften the fall?
For these were no princesses on the pea
But cheeky, boisterous boys and girls.
We wished a man could fly.
We wished for Superman, iced chunk of Thames in tow.
We wished a child could bounce,
That they weighed a quarter of an ounce.
We wished we could put gravity on hold
Stretch this moment til an escape was found,
Slow down damn time til they reached the ground.
A thousand people prayed a million wishes:
For a Star Trek transporter to beam them away,
A fakir's rope dropping as the gentle rain from heaven,
For wings to sprout, something miraculous to get them out.
A ladder! A tall ladder, a platform with a high pressure hose,
No, too fanciful when the giant slashes and fire stations close.

Did those knotted blankets lead someone to safety
Or a dead end?
"I had my whole life ahead of me," Gloria Trevisan told her mum.
And it was.
Six and a half minutes with Rania Ibrahim
Is to take a trip to a dark side,
Her voice rings out truth everlasting.
Walk with her, it's the least she deserves.
Walk with the Grenfell dead and soar with angels.
A bonfire of people followed the bonfire of regulations
As surely as night followed night followed darkest night of the soul
Cry cruellest murder, the tower can never be put right.

Over the main route into London from Heathrow,
Looms a burnt-out colossus:
A coked-up Tory wideboy in a cheap suit with a pocketful of loot;
We all learnt the meaning of metaphor that night
In Tinderbox plc.

by Anna Chen
12th July 2017

The author was born and raised in Hackney in east London and lived at Hackney Downs and the Gascoyne Estate.

Apologies for not being able to find the photographers who took the photographs on this page. Please let me know if you took the photographs and if I have your permission to use them with a credit (or if you'd like them taken down). By the same token, please feel free to publish my poem with a credit and link to this page. Thank you.

The Tower: Rewriting Grenfell. Measured, factual, humane response from Architects for Social Housing (ASH) to Andrew O’Hagan'S 60,000 word clickbait article in the London Review of Books defending the RBKC council.

EDIT: More poems are turning up. I'll link to some of them here.

Grenfell Tower, June, 2017: a poem by Ben Okri. ‘If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.’ Video here

This video of "No Alarms" by Sana Uqba made me cry with its haunting rhythms and powerful imagery

The Merited Moral Remembrance Of The Wilfully Massacred Residents Of Grenfell Tower - Poem by Stanley Collymore

"Grenfell" by Olga Dermott-Bond

"Nowhere": a response to the housing crisis by poet Tony Walsh – audio

"A Hope for the Future" by Angi Holden

On the Liturgical Poetry website, "Grenfell"

"Grenfell Tower" by Lisa Rey

"Towering Shame" by Sarah McGurk

Video of "Grenfell Fell" by Rakin Cisse Niass

"Grenfell Tower" by Maxine Black

"Kensington and Chelsea" by David R Mellor

Video of "Grenfell Tower Fire" by The Truth Poet

"Family Trees (Grenfell Tower)" by Steve Rowland

"Of Grenfell Tower and other scandals": Why we must Whistleblow a wind of change, by John Pearce.

I think this one is from a firefighter or police at the scene: "The Grenfell Tower" by Thin Blue Line UK

"For Grenfell Tower" by Dave Rendle

Two poems at the Culture Matters page, one by Alan Morrison and one by Paul Dovey

Stunning video, "Ghosts of Grenfell", from Lowkey. Live dates

"14th June 2017", a beautiful poem from someone who was instrumental in filling the void left by local and national government, badly marred by territorial pissing in the final stanza. A conclusion about universal love and empathy rather than a demand for "I am not my brother's keeper" indifference might have been more apt because a denial of others' empathy in a cruel world is surely not the path to follow. We are all pieces of the continent of humankind — Picasso didn't have to be at Guernica in order to paint the horror. Would be vastly improved by losing the last six lines.