ARGENTINA-III CONGRESO DE LA LENGUA ESPAÑOLAAv Ernesto Cardenal, om “Human Ecology”

Fra Origin of the Species,

Oversatt av Daniela Gioseffi

 

You talk into your cell phone

             and talk and talk

laughing into your cell phone–

           never knowing how it was made,

much less how it works,

but what does that matter?

          The trouble is you don’t know

just as I didn’t

         that many people die in the Congo—

         thousands upon thousands!

                       for your cellphone.

They die in the Congo

         in the Congolese mountains is coltan

                       (not just gold and diamonds)

but coltan used in cell phone condensers.

To control the mineral, multinational corporations

wage an unending war

           5 million dead in 15 years.

Corporations don’t want it to be known

           that the Congo is a country of immense wealth

           with poverty-stricken people

80% of the world’s coltan reserves are in the Congo.

The coltan has been there

for three thousand million years.

Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Sony

           buy the coltan, the Pentagon too,

The New York Times corporation, too,

          They don’t want it to be known

and they don’t want the war to stop

          in order to continue 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 from hammering the rock

           that collapses on top of them

The New York Times, too,

doesn’t want it to be known

and that’s why this organized crime

remains unknown,

this organized crime of the multinationals.

          The spirit of the soul identifies

truth and justice and love

and the truth

          the importance of the truth

          that will set us free

and there is this truth about coltan,

          coltan inside your cell phone

          on which we talk and talk

                       and laugh into our cell phones.*

* «Coltan (short for columbite–tantalite and known industrially as tantalite) is a dull black metallic ore from which the elements niobium (formerly «columbium») and tantalum are extracted. The niobium-dominant mineral in coltan is columbite, and the tantalum-dominant mineral is tantalite. Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture tantalum capacitors, used in consumer electronic products such as mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Coltan mining has been cited as helping to finance serious conflict, for example in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.» See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan

 

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Ernesto Cardenal was bon in 1925 in Granada, Nicaragua. Revolutionary activist, disciple of Thomas Merton, Roman Catholic priest, founder of the contemplative commune of Our Lade of Solentiname, ambassador for the Sandinistas, Minister od Culture in post-Somoza Nicaragua, and co-founderr of the international cultural center House of Three Worlds, Cardenal, on his eightieth birthday in 2005, was given the nation’s highest cultural honor, the Order of Ruben Dario, by President Enrique Bolanos. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Pluriverse is a masterpiece (New Directions <www.ndpublishing.com/>) of new and selected poems with an introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A profoundly worldly poet of humane purpose Cardenal is among the greats of 20th Century Latin American poetry. His early poems denounce the senseless violence of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua. The poems in Salmos (The Psalms of Struggle and Liberation) represent Cardenal’s rewriting of the biblical psalms of David and condemn modern-day evils. In Oración por Marilyn Monroe y otros poemas (Marilyn Monroe, and Other Poems), his earlier prophetic tone is linked to contemporary events. A recent collection, 2011, is titled TheOrigin of Species Texas Tech University Press, <www,ttupress.org/> and “Cell Phone” can be found therein with other stunny poems of superb craft and vital conscience. Ernesto Cardenal is a highly respected poet like Neruda of world class status, as much for his poetry as for his humanitarain stance and deeds. Cardenal is the sort of poet needed in these threatening times of dominance of Earth’s bounty by multinational corporations whose driving force is mere profit, not the good of Earth, her peoples, her animals or her sustaning and necessary resources for life.

Translation: Copyright © 2013 by Daniela Gioseffi. All rights, including electronic, reserved by the translator.» Cell Phone» in the original Spanish (C) 2011 Ernesto Cardenal, from Origian of Species (Texas Tech University, 2011). All rights reserved. All rights, including electronic, are reserved by the author.