​​STAY HUMAN: Ray’s talk in Brussels at EU Parliament, Dec. 1, 2015

Giulietto Chiesa, one of the moderators of the 9th annual EU Parliament Members’ Forum on Russia recorded Ray’s speech there and has posted it on his website:


There is voice-over in Italian, but Ray spoke mostly in English and a lot of that is audible. Thankfully, no one voiced-over the Russian poem by the 19th Century poet Nikolai Nekrasov: “Vnimaya Uzhasam Voiniy” (“Paying Attention to the Horrors of War”). (translation ** below)

Ray’s talk came on the second day of the Forum; until then, almost all of the speeches were pretty much head-speeches. So Ray tried a little heart therapy and called his presentation “Stay Human.”

Ray is now in Moscow, where he will be one of three panelists discussing “Security or Surveillance: Can the right to privacy and effective anti-terror security coexist in the digital age?” The panel is tomorrow at a Moscow conference arranged by RT to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Coincidentally, the UN has designated Dec. 10th (tomorrow) Human Rights Day; Ray’s will suggest the obvious: Since humans do have a right to privacy, it’s high time to reverse recent infringements on that very important freedom.

** Poetry always looses something in translation, and this attempt is no exception. Ray has tried to be literal without undue sacrifice to verse and feeling. A lot is lost, though; so the original is included for those who read Russian.

Внимая ужасам войны,

Heeding the horrors of war,

При каждой новой жертве боя

At every new victim of battle

Мне жаль не друга, не жены

I feel sorry not for his friend, nor for his wife,

Мне жаль не самого героя.

I feel sorry not even for the hero himself.

Увы! утешится жена,

Alas, the wife will be comforted,

И друга лучший друг забудет;

And best friends forget their friend;

Но где-то есть душа одна –

But somewhere there is one soul –

Она до гроба помнить будет!

Who will remember unto the grave!

Средь лицемерных наших дел

Amidst the hypocrisy of our affairs

И всякой пошлости и прозы

And all the banality and triviality

Одни я в мир подсмотрел

Unique among what I have observed in the world

Святые, искренние слезы –

Sacred, sincere tears –

То слезы бедных матерей!

The tears of poor mothers!

Им не забыть своих детей,

They do not forget their own children,

Погибших на кровавой ниве,

Who have perished on the bloody battlefield,

Как не поднять плакучей иве

Just as the weeping willow never lifts

Своих поникнувших ветвей.

Its dangling branches