“Children play war”, the poem about peace

“Children play war” is a poem that absolutely condemns all war conflicts. It is difficult today to talk about peace. These are dark days, hours when the Russian attack on Ukraine continues unabated, and the capital Kiev is preparing to experience a new night of fear and tension. Therefore, we want to share with you this touching poem by Bertolt Brecht about war and children and harmless victims of violent glimpses of history.

Bertolt Brecht’s revolution

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was born in Bavaria and made his debut as a writer-actor in Munich, where he revealed a creative stroke influenced by Expressionism. In 1928 he had great success with the representation ofThreepenny opera, remake of the British popular drama “Beggar’s Opera” by John Gay. Critical of the society of his time, when Nazism came to power, he was forced to flee Germany. He traveled through many countries for years and then settled in the United States. At the end of World War II, he returned to Berlin, where he founded the “Berliner Ensemble”, which was destined to become one of the most successful theater companies of the time.

Brecht’s revolution in theater was to try to change the behavior of the public, to make it critical, not to get the audience to create emotions similar to those of the main character on stage. Brecht wanted at all costs to remove the public identification with the theatrical protagonist, as it was in the Aristotelian Cathartic tradition. Brecht wanted the theater audience to be free and rational, creative and critical, not to identify with the main characters. passion and criticism were the basis of Bertolt Brecht’s theatrical ideas.

In the same way, Brecht’s poetry, as it can also be understood in “children play war”, wants readers to reflect on the social and political reality. Brecht’s great revolution was to produce a revolutionary Marxist poem. Poetry was to represent at all costs the critique of bourgeois, capitalist society. Through poetry, the public should be able to become aware of the great contradictions of society. Social conflicts, poverty, class conflicts, war and so on. Poetry is the moment when the public at all costs tries to free itself from the shackles of society. Right or wrong to interpret Brecht’s thoughts, he contributed to another idea of ​​theater and poetry. As such, it deserves the greatest attention and above all to be read carefully.

Children play war

How should one react when the world is talking about war? How do you deal with pain, hatred, violence?
Often the world confronts us with these disturbing scenarios, such as those we see in Israel and Palestine.
In “Children Play in War”, Bertolt Brecht tells of all the children who, immersed in places of war, get used to perceiving life as a “struggle for survival”. And so even a toy can become a scapegoat to fight.

To this he writes “it is rare that they play peace, because adults have always waged war ”. Brecht tries to get us to reflect on what we sometimes mistake as normal, even the simple “pum” during a game. The shot that kills someone from another part of the world.
Educating a child for peace is not a simple thing. Because it means upbringing for sharing, respect, openness. It means knowing how to share love, knowing how to learn the concept of friendship and family. And unfortunately, these values ​​are not a priority in many places around the world. Because violence, hunger and suffering are paramount.

When we talk about peace, we want to imagine ourselves in a world where certain “inhuman” elements no longer exist. When we think of peace, we imagine a world where:

peace is still

do not be hungry

do not be cold

Do not be afraid.

To read in the morning and in the evening, a short poem to remember how important our lives, our days, our time are. Bertolt Brecht gives us a deep reflection.

Children play war – Bertolt Brecht

Children play war.

They rarely play peace

why adults

they have always waged war,

you go “pum” and laugh;

the soldier shoots

and another man

no longer laughing.

It’s war.

There’s another game

to invent:

make the world smile,

do not let him cry.

Peace means

which not everyone likes

the same game,

than your toys

also like

to the other children

who often have no one,

because you have too many;

than the other children’s drawings

they are not cluttered;

than your mother

it’s not just yours;

that all children

they are your friends.

And peace is still there

do not be hungry

do not be cold

Do not be afraid.

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