On the List by Christine Vial

 

ON THE LIST

Christine Vial   January 2018

 

“First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out ……

 And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”  Niemoller

 

They would have come for my dad,

a Communist who fought the Blackshirts

at Cable Street in 1936.

 

They would have come for my mum,

who was a member of the Peace Movement

and a Greenham Common protestor.

 

They would have come for Sue,

my old school friend,

who’s Jewish.

 

They would have come for my colleague Sally

who, like me, is a teacher and trade union activist.

 

They would have come for gentle ex-hippy D

as he volunteers at the Food Bank,

helping the untermenschen

to survive and breed.

 

They would have come for Don

(if cancer hadn’t come for him first)

and for Anna and for Dave and Ron,

forcing them to wear the inverted pink triangle.

 

They would have come for my husband Neil,

bohemian American artist,

with his ponytail and Castro beard

and love of denigrate art.

 

And me? They would certainly have come for me:

a loud-mouthed and stroppy anarchist, atheist and feminist,

with my tainted bloodline and highly dubious friends.

 

So that is why I speak out.

 

And if they plan to come for me and mine,

if they plan to come for you and yours,

if they plan to come for any of us, for all of us,

this time none of us must stand by in silence.

 

Because no matter whose name is on the list,

and whatever the reasons given,

they’ll always be one of us.