Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
Rebuking a Tyrant
(Persian poet, 11841291)
IN a certain year I was sitting retired in the great mosque at Damascus, at the head of the tomb of Yahiya the prophet (on whom be peace!). One of the kings of Arabia, who was notorious for his injustice, happened to come on a pilgrimage, and having performed his devotions, he uttered the following words: The poor and the rich are servants of this earth, and those who are richest have the greatest wants. He then looked towards me, and said, Because dervishes are strenuous and sincere in their commerce with heaven, unite your prayers with mine, for I am in dread of a powerful enemy.
I replied, Show mercy to the weak peasant, that you may not experience difficulty from a strong enemy. It is criminal to crush the poor and defenceless subjects with the arm of power. He liveth in dread who befriendeth not the poor; for should his foot slip, no one layeth hold of his hand. Whosoever soweth bad seed, and looketh for good fruit, tortureth his imagination in vain, making a false judgment of things. Take the cotton out of thine ear, and distribute justice to mankind; for if thou refusest justice, there will be a day of retribution.
The children of Adam are limbs of one another, and are all produced from the same substance; when the world gives pain to one member, the others also suffer uneasiness. Thou who art indifferent to the sufferings of others deservest not to be called a man.