summary for the poem NO MEN ARE FOREIGN BY JAMES KIRKUP FROM THE POEM NO MEN ARE FOREIGN BY JAMES KIRKUP
One should keep in mind that no human beings are distant, unfamiliar or far off. Underneath any colour of any soldier’s uniform belonging to any nation, another human being breathes the breath of life just like any other person. The land that even our political enemies walk upon is the same earth like our own native soil that one fine day in different timings we shall all be laid to rest.
In times of war or peace, even our international foes undergo the same trials, the way our native population experience. They too, like us, enjoy the bright sunshine day, breathe the same air from the atmosphere and drink the same water available on earth to survive. All people feed abundantly on the prosperity of agriculture and farming and may even starve to death in times of war and food shortage during long drawn winters if not stored appropriately. They also house more of the hard-working people with busy hands to survive a decent income and living. They toil in the same manner that we do.
Our enemies also have the same kind of eyes the way we do, eyes that see, sleep and wake. We both have physical strength that can be won by brute force and the strength of the heart that can be won by love. Every population of every nation in this world recognizes and understands the true essence of the common life of people. So let us all remember that whenever we are brainwashed and compelled to hate and kill our brothers, we only deceive, disown, betray and condemn ourselves to the curse of plaguing blood-thirsty arms against each other.
When an imminent war between two hostile nations breaks out, it is our mother earth that we pollute to such an extent to create living hells of dust and fire that will violate the purity of our surroundings including our thoughts and actions. Both hostile nations will suffer the same fate of shedding innocent blood. The air gets polluted on both the countries. To prevent such a catastrophe, we should begin with ourselves to accept that ‘no men are foreign and no countries strange’
The poem begins with the speaker asking his audience to remember that no human being should be treated as foreigner or stranger because all human beings are essentially the same. Even those who wear different dresses are in no way different from us because though the clothes are different the bodies are the same. All human beings are “brothers” as they breathe the same air and live on the same land. In life and death people of all countries share the same sun, the same water and the same air. Peace brings prosperity to all men and war brings adversity. The lines on the hands of all people show that they are all destined to work hard and labor for earning the living. In waking and in sleeping all men are same. God has bestowed the same strength to all men and it is only the human quality of love that can subdue the most powerful of all forces. The poet’s message is that we should not hate our fellow human beings. We have no right to look down on anybody or discriminate against anybody on any grounds. The poet makes a strong plea against the evil of war. By taking up arms men desecrate the holy earth, polluting it with not only dust and smoke but also hatred, men must learn to develop the feeling of universal brotherhood. Men must learn that no man is a stranger and no country foreign.