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Ode to a Whistleblower (Video Tribute to Daniel Ellsberg)


After Daniel Ellsberg passed away, I republished my poem Ode to a Whistleblower to honor his memory and further Dan’s dying wish to #FreeAssange.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Diane Perlman asked if I would be willing to provide a video of myself reading this poem for the tribute she and her co-director Todd Pierce are organizing at the Whistleblower Summit on July 30, National Whistleblower Day.

Whistleblower Summit Tribute to Dan Ellsberg
Dear Friends, When I heard the sad news of the passing of Dan Ellsberg, a friend, I asked the organizers of the annual Whistleblower (WB) Summit whether we could have a tribute for Dan, on short notice. They thankfully booked a room at the National Press Club in DC on National Whistleblower Day…
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Ellsberg Tribute National Whistleblower Day
Dear Friends, The Tribute to Daniel Ellsberg tomorrow evening will not be live-streamed. The program was also shortened to show Dan’s Keynote Speech to the National Whistleblower Summit in 2021. I will try to post some of the videos, if I get help and Dan’s keynote if I get permission. Meanwhile, here are a few sneak previews…
Read more

I gratefully accepted this historic opportunity to celebrate the life of a man who exemplifies the rarest kind of bravery, which Diane Perlman captures in her “theory of ‘the Courageous Personality’”:

“Veridos™ may represent less than 5% of the population. They see through deception, investigate truth and have the strength to challenge official narratives. They are truly courageous and refuse to remain silent.”

Above is the resulting video, majestically scored by my husband in response to my request for a composition that captures the nobility, heroism, sacrifice, and triumph represented by Daniel Ellsberg’s life and the many other whistleblowers who have overcome their self-preservation instincts to defend humanity from our parasitic oppressors.

Other contributors to the tribute include Patricia Ellsberg, Caitlin Johnstone, Richard Falk, Peter Kuznick, John Henry, Gar Alperovitz, Coleen Rowley, John Kiriakou, Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, and Helen Caldicott.

I encourage you to help fund this event as the Whistleblower Summit has a shoestring budget for this last-minute addition commemorating Dan’s legacy.

If you happen to be in the Washington, D.C., area, you can attend the tribute at the National Press Club on July 30 from 6 to 8 pm. See the Whistleblower Summit schedule for more details.

Whistleblowers have perhaps more power than anyone else to yank back the curtain on corruption; crime; and the lethal practices of governments, corporations, NGOs, philanthropaths, tyrants, and colluders. Please share this video and poem to help prospective whistleblowers summon the courage necessary to speak out and follow in Daniel Ellsberg’s heroic footsteps.


Ode to a Whistleblower: Hummingbird Escaping Open Birdcage on Man's Head

Ode to a Whistleblower

by Margaret Anna Alice

It starts as a whisper.
A tickle in your throat.
A glissando down your spine.
A quiver in your stomach.

The hairs on your arms rise up.
A tremor pulses through your nervous system.
Nausea washes over, engulfing you,
Until you can no longer contain it.

What you’ve seen cannot be un-seen.
What you’ve heard cannot be un-heard.
What you’ve felt cannot be un-felt.
What you know cannot be un-known.

To speak that knowledge,
to sing that secret,
to roar that truth
is to risk all—
career, reputation, security, relationships,

And yet to stifle it,
to tamp it down,
to suffocate it
is to sap your integrity,
to stoke your guilt,
to stab your soul.

So you release it,
let it fly,
and it wings its way
round the globe,
waking, shaking,
taking flight.

You know your peace
will be shattered.
You know your days
may be fewer.
You know this could be
your last song.

But you belt it out
You bellow it out
You whistle it to the stars,
and the stars echo it back.

You’ve rippled the ocean.
You’ve whipped the wind.
You’ve sparked the volcano.

And even if the Goliaths target you,
even if their thugs assault you,
even if their scientists spike you,
your truth will swell to a seismic wave,
traveling upon the sea of the awakened,
swallowing up our tyrannizers.

We will trill your truth.
We will warble your song.
We will whistle your secret
to the world, until there are
too many of us to silence.

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