"whenever we are told to hate our---" When does this happen? Why? Who 'tells us'?

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ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his poem "No Men Are Foreign"  James Kirkub calls out to his readers to "remember, whenever we are told to hate our brothers, it is ourselves that we shall dispossess, betray, and condemn."  So, when are we "told to hate our bothers" exactly? And who is it that dictates this lack of tolerance? Our community, our family, our own inner voice tells us who and what to tolerate.  This, unfortunately, can lead to prejudice toward those who are different to ourselves: race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation.  James Kirkup " had always been a flamboyant and provocative figure" and perhaps his struggles with identity offer background to when people hate.

 He was also quick to recognise his homosexuality... was also lonely and fearful, and it was through his loneliness, he said, that at 17 he became a poet. Writing poetry, he said later, helped him to cling to “the shreds of my many identities”.

His words within his poem:

Remember, we who take arms against each other.It is human earth that we defile,Our hills of fire and dust outrage the innocence of the air that is everywhere our own.Remember, no men are foreign..

are a reminder of his call and plea to regard all men, all people, as equal to one another. No men are foreign in all connotations of the word: strange, different, alien, or unnatural. And it is "by love, in every land, is common life that all can recognize and understand," as all are capable and able to love and to receive love.

His words, "Let us remember, whenever we are told" are his hortative request for mankind.