/ M A R K T W A I N S I N G S A N D P R A Y S ______________________________________________ / "Loyalty to my country: always. Loyalty to my government: when it deserves it."
"I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."
(Satan:) "Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race -- the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities.
There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions."
A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen,
and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them,
and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform,
and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers -- as earlier -- but do not dare to say so And now the whole nation -- pulpit and all -- will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.
for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord,
blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, / / water their way with tears, /
ABOUT "THE WAR PRAYER"
"Only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead." .
"The War Prayer," a short story or prose poem by Mark Twain, is a scathing indictment of war, and particularly of blind patriotic and religious fervor as motivations for war.
The structure of the work is simple, but effective: an unnamed country goes to war, and patriotic citizens attend a church service for soldiers who have been called up. The people call upon their God to grant them victory and protect their troops. Suddenly, an "aged stranger" appears and announces that he is God's messenger. He explains to them that he is there to speak aloud the second part of their prayer for victory, the part which they have implicitly wished for but have not spoken aloud themselves: the prayer for the suffering and destruction of their enemies. What follows is a grisly depiction of hardships inflicted on wartorn nations by their conquerors. The story ends on a pessimistic note: the messenger is ignored.
The piece was left unpublished by Mark Twain at his death, largely due to pressure from his family, who feared that the story would be considered sacrilegious. Twain's publisher and other friends also discouraged him from publishing it. According to one account, his illustrator Dan Beard asked him if he would publish it regardless, and Twain replied that "Only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead." Mindful of public reaction, he considered that he had a family to support, and did not want to be seen as a lunatic or fanatic. In a letter to his confidant Joseph Twichell, he wrote that he had "suppressed" the book for seven years, even though his conscience told him to publish it, because he was not "equal" to the task.
In 2007, journalist Markos Kounalakis, the publisher of The Washington Monthly, produced an animated film with voices by Peter Coyote, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Erik Bauersfeld, and illustrations by Akis Dimitrakopoulos. It was released on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007 on YouTube and its own website.
The excellent 2007 short animated film version of the complete short story, available to view online.
"Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War.
He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him
and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind.
He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out and help slaughter strangers of his own species
who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.
And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands
and works for "the universal brotherhood of man"
- Mark Twain, "What Is Man"?
"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." /
- Mark Twain
"The citizen who sees his society's democratic clothes being worn out and does not cry it out, is not a patriot, but a traitor."
/ - Mark Twain /