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Just Give Me the Shovel

Written by an anonymous prisoner in the South.


Riddle me this: What is oppression?


Oppression is taking.

Oppression is standing nearby, ready to take more.

Oppression is frightening people so that they will watch you and try to guess what you will do next.

Oppression is negative expectations.

Oppression occurs in the imagination.

Oppression takes away choices.


Once the choices are gone, humans think constantly about what they don’t have. The lack of choice defines everything. This is the first step in achieving control. This is the process of terrorization.


A joke that is more true than it is funny:

Two Germans took a Pole, two Jews, and a shovel into the forest. As darkness crowded around them, the Germans handed the shovel to the Pole.

“Bury the Jews,” they said.


The Pole was a good Catholic; he refused. One German shrugged, and the other took the shovel back from the Pole.


The German handed the shovel to one of the Jews. “Bury the Pole,” he said.


One Jew sobbed while he dug with the shovel; the other used his hands. Once they had buried the Pole up to his neck, the Germans stopped them.


“Dig him up,” they said.


The Jews dug up the Pole with relieved cries.


Then the Germans handed the shovel back to the Pole.


The darkness was so complete that not even God could see in the forest.


“Bury the Jews,” they said.


The Pole buried the Jews, and the Germans never told him to stop.


A prisoner in a cage looks out of the cage. Like the Pole, the prisoner learns quickly that morals have no place in decision-making. Yesterday and tomorrow will be sacrificed for today. The prisoner is a ready tool in the hand of an oppressor; oppression makes the unthinkable suddenly thinkable.


This is the greatest oppression:

Harness the victims as the tools of oppression. Use the victims to oppress each other.


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