Allen Ginsberg: What’s More Important than Hope

Via email I received an essay by Bay Area activist and founder of Middle East Children’s Alliance, Barbara Lubin. In her conclusion on her 20+years of activism on Israel/Palestine, she writes the following…

And what about hope? I leave you with a final word about hope.

One night poet and MECA advisory board member Allen Ginsberg came to San Francisco for a book signing and later he dined with a small group of friends in North Beach. On this night, the last time Howard and I would see him before he died, we were going around the table talking about all sorts of issues including what was happening in Rwanda, Iraq and Palestine. None of the news was very good.

We were getting more and more depressed. I turned to Allen and asked, “So, Allen, where’s the hope?”

Allen jumped up, taking the table and the food with him. He was furious. “Hope…” he yelled. “It’s not about hope. You don’t do what you do because you hope things will get better. It’s about getting up every morning and asking yourself what’s the right thing to do and doing it.”

Allen Ginsberg taught me a great lesson that night. He was right. It is wonderful if one is hopeful in life, but I will not wait around trying to feel hopeful about what is happening to the children in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, or in poor communities here in America. I will continue to be angry and I will get up every morning and ask myself “What is the right thing to do?” and do it.

And I will never be silent again.

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