This past week my World History students studied modern day Haiti. The students made timelines, analyzed political cartoons, read an article by Jean Paul Aristide, read an excerpt from Paul Farmer about charity, development, and social justice, and watched the wonderful film The Agronomist made by Jonathan Demme about Haitian Jean Dominique. (A couple of these resources can be found in the book Rethinking Globalization.)
Today, for our final activity, we read the poem “The Nobodies” by Eduardo Galeano and then students all wrote poems titled “The Somebodies.” Below is Galeano’s poem followed by excerpts from multiple student poems.
by Eduardo Galeano
Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream
of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will
suddenly rain down on them- will rain down in buckets. But
good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter
how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is
tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or
start the new year with a change of brooms.
The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The
nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits,
dying through life, screwed every which way.
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the
police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them
SLA Student Excerpts
The Somebodies: The people that will matter, the people that want more, and know how to use what they have to get it.
Those you think are “poor,” are rich in culture, so who really wins?
The somebodies: somebody who had a child, somebody who will become something, somebody who stands tall and never folds.
To watch but not to be seen
By the one you want in the dawning hour
Your words speak no louder than a whisper
but your heart raises the volume to a nation
Somebodies are everybody.