We Dance into the New Year Banging Our Hammers and Swinging Our Sickles

by Vijay Prashad, published on Tricontinental, December 30, 2021

Bittersweet is the passage of this year. There have been some immense victories and some catastrophic defeats, the most terrible being the failure of the Global North countries to adopt a democratic attitude towards confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and creating equitable access to key resources, from life-saving medical equipment to vaccines. Tragically, by the end of this pandemic, we will have learnt the Greek alphabet from the variants named after its letters (Delta, Omicron), which continue to emerge….

In 1959, the Iranian communist poet Siavash Kasra’i wrote one of his elegies, Arash-e Kamangir (‘Arash the Archer’). Using the popular mythology of the ancient battle fought by the heroic archer Arash to liberate his country, Kasra’i depicts the anti-imperialist struggles of his time. But the poem is not only about struggles, for we also wonder about possibilities:

I told you life is beautiful.
Told and untold, there is a lot here.
The clear sky;
The golden sun;
The flower gardens;
The boundless plains;

The flowers peeping up through the snow;
The tender swing of fish dancing in crystal of water;
The scent of rain-swept dust on the mountainside;
The sleep of wheat fields in the spring of moonlight;
To come, to go, to run;
To love;
To lament for humankind;
And to revel arm-in-arm with the crowd’s joys.

Warmest of wishes for a revolutionary 2022,

Vijay

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