Even if homosexuality were
innate, even if it were an acquired trait
or a skill that is learned,
it would be right to advise --
not only the governments
of China, India and Bangladesh –
to teach boys to love boys
and girls to love girls.
Too many are quarreling in any case
and there is little love, so very little,
and even though NASA keeps trying,
as of now there aren’t any other worlds.
From Mavo Lebalshanut Minnit (“Introduction to Sexual Linguistics,” Carmel, 2013. Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden.
Teach young people gay love, the poet argues in the first part of “Demography.” Since closeted teens suffer greatly, this sounds sensible.
The second part suggests that gay love be encouraged as a means to alleviate overcrowding of the earth. Though more gentle, this is reminiscent of Jonathan Swift’s 1729 satire “A Modest Proposal,” which suggests that the Irish alleviate their poverty by eating their own children.
The final comment, on NASA, is an exhortation to protect our planet by any means necessary, since we're not about to get another one, and also perhaps a critique of affluent countries’ choices about how to spend money.
Not for reasons of population control but rather of equality, last month the United States became the 21st country to legalize gay marriage nationwide. (Gay couples in Israel, like straight couples consisting of a Jew and a non-Jew, cannot tie the knot but such marriages performed elsewhere are recognized as legal.) Yet in the poet's family-obsessed native land, Israel, the proposal of homosexuality as a measure to reduce birthrates would be viewed darkly. Though some suspect the somewhat equivocal recognition of same-sex couples to be “pinkwashing”, recently the Nepal earthquake drew attention to gay Israeli couples who hire third-world egg donors and surrogate mothers to provide children for them.
The endorsement of open love is indicative of the move in contemporary gay culture away from furtiveness and towards candidness in politics, as well as in the academic world and in contributions to mass culture. This has contributed to acceptance by larger and larger sections of society in Israel, as in other places, as confirmed by a recent poll although there are still pockets of anti-gay violence, and of ignorance and revulsion, especially in the Orthodox sector, while the issue is still very fraught in the Arab sector http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/1.660700. .
Poet and linguist Rami Saari was born in Petah Tikva in 1963 and lives in several different places. He has published nine volumes of his poetry and translations of poetry and prose from Albanian, Catalan, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Portuguese and Spanish.
*Musing: Can governments teach love?
*Bonus: From the late 1970s, an unofficial anthem of the gay pride movement: The Village People sing YMCA“
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