Friday, 29 January 2010

The Cripple Brigade bear witness

Most politicians are crooks but every now and then one’s so delusional as to lurch beyond criminality into utter unreality. A few years ago an interviewer asked Tony Blair if he’d thought through the implications of invading Iraq. He replied: “I asked God, and he agreed I must be right.” Perhaps that pact with God (or some other supernatural power) will shield bLiar from retribution. But there are many who'll stand witness.

Hanns Eisler set this text by David Weber. Weber was born Robert Winterfeld but used "David Weber" for left wing cabaret, poetry and music. He used the name "Robert Gilbert" when working in operetta and musicals. Besides writing texts like this, he wrote the lyrics of O mein Papa and collaborated on the notorious Im weissen Rössl (White Horse Inn) with Robert Stolz (whose equally amazing life story is HERE) Later in life he translated hits like Hello Dolly and Oklahoma! while simultaneously apprearing in cabaret in Munich. As a young man, Weber/Winterfeld/Gilbert was very left wing and linked to the Spartakists. He was a close friend of Hannah Arendt. And in addition to radical agit prop he wrote music more likely to appeal to the Right. So much for easy generalizations. Read more HERE

Ballade von der Krüppelgarde

Wir sind die Krüppelgarde,
die schönste Garde der Welt;
wir zählen fast eine Milliarde,
wenn man die Toten mitzählt.
Die Toten können nicht mitgehn,
die müssen im Grabe sein
und wir können nicht im Schritt gehn,
die Mehrzahl hat nur ein Bein.

Unser Leutnant kommt von den Toten
unser Hauptmann hat einen Stumpf
Unser Feldmarschall knecht am Boden,
und ist nur noch ein Rumpf

Wir sind die Garde der Krüppel und jedem zweiten Mann
schnallt man solide Knüppel direct an die Knochen an.
Sie sagten: Es sind die Prothesen
viel schöner als Arm und Bein.
Sie sagten: die Blinden lesen mit den Fingem,
noch mal so fein.

Wartet ab, wenn wir auch hinken,
gegen euch werd’n wir stramm marschier’n.
Was tut’s, wenn wir zum linken das rechte Bein verlier’n.
Wir sind die Krüppelgarde, das stärkste Bataillon,
die allererste Reihe in der Front der Revolution

We are the Cripple Brigade, the most beautiful Brigade in the world. We number close to a billion, if you include the dead in the count. The dead can’t march with us, though. They’ve got to stay in their graves. And we can’t march in step because most of us have only one leg.

Our Lieutenant comes from the ranks of the Dead, our Captain has a stump for a leg, Our Field Marshal crawls on the ground. He’s a torso.

We are the Brigade of Cripples and every second man gets a wooden leg strapped onto his knees. They said to us: Prosthetics are better than arms or legs. They said: Blind people can read better with their fingers ….

Just watch out! Though we are limping now, we’ll march again strong against you even if we lose to the left our right legs. We are the Cripple Brigade, the strongest battalion, the front of the revolution.

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