Monday, December 5, 2016

Susan Hawthorne #342 weapon of war

in the strategies of war
stealing children
is a multigenerational

Fethiye Çetin tells
of her grandmother
kidnapped from her
fleeing Armenian family
by a Turkish general
aged twelve too old
to forget old enough
to pretend and pass
for sixty years

Eva Johnson born at
Daly River aged two
stolen by missionaries
raised by those who
occupied her peoples'
land at ten sent to
an Adelaide orphanage
she writes plays about

Estela Barnes de Carlotto
president of the Grand-
mothers de Plaza de Mayo
carries photos of her daughter
and granddaughter in protests
about the theft by military
of her daughter's child

Australia's Stolen Generation
is presented as a
bureaucratic aberration
let's see it for what it is
a weapon of war

You can read more about Fethiye Çetin's book, My Grandmother here:
The anthology, The Exploding Frangipani includes an extract from Eva Johnson's play, What do they call me?  (the anthology is co-edited by Cathie Dunsford and Susan Hawthorne). The whole play can be read in Dale Spender's edited collection Heroines. She also wrote Tjindarella, a play specifically about the Stolen Generation.
In the photo above, the double image near the front of the protest is of Laura Estela Carlotto, disappeared in 1977 and her daughter, Mariana Zaffaroni who has been found. The photo is in the Casa por la Identidad Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo at ESMA in Buenos Aires.
For more on the grandmothers search for their grandchildren, including the story of how Mariana was found, see Rita Arditti's book, Searching for Life.


  1. I can barely speak
    you speak for them
    horror & heartbreak
    terror is a landmine
    planted in a football field
    where is the x-ray helicopter
    if we cannot write

    1. Yesterday at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos now in Santiago ( I thought of Victor Jara) we watched videos of the coup. It was horrible and extraordinary, a real surgical strike, so that 12 hours after the first attack at 6.00 am they had it all in hand. I was exhausted after that museum trip.

  2. Another powerful poem Susan. Thank you for the detailed further reading.

  3. A terrible war of attrition, but a guerilla one still. Bless you what a lovely poem.


  4. tras. isaac dentrambasaguas


    grande espina de un país
    nieve de un extremo al otro
    y habrá sido valentía aquí
    vertebral al fin y al cabo

    tanques y aviones y dinero desgarrando
    y adivinen quién paga todo esto

    este fuera un fin
    destinado a ser un comienzo

    fuera el suelo desplomado, la escalera
    ida, la mano amiga, un muñón amputado

    uno desea atestiguar
    uno atestigua deseos

    de un mundo desaparecido, historia vieja

    uno desea al desaparecido (mundo) de vuelta en casa
              con buenas obras, con grandes pensamientos

    uno desea bombas ascendiendo, el palacio a salvo
    uno desea a los que odian renaciendo para el amor

    uno desea la trama aquí avanzada avanzando
    uno desea que el futuro fuera de vuelta con nos
    con esta visión, con la voz
    de este hombre en nuestro oído

    con la respiración
    con el bombeo sincero del corazón
    con los ojos y los oídos y todos los sentidos

    uno desea para un mundo mejor

    1. Thanks Kit, not sure my Spanish is getting all the menaings of this poem. It's a case of thinking I understand the gist! I will have to work at it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.