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Someone once said something like 10 deaths are a tragedy, 10,000 deaths
a problem in public sanitation. The first part of this anyhow is
illustrated every time some public figure dies. The second part is
illustrated daily. The nameless remain nameless in death. But the
20th/early 21st century catastrophe which will be remembered, at least
in a footnote, when even the existence of the space program is long
forgotten, is a catastrophe which entered history precisely because its
victims were nameless. I posted the poem which recorded it, the greatest
single poem of the 20th century in English, some time ago, but perhaps
it is appropriate to repost it now.

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting,
The oranges are piled in their creosote dumps.
You are flying them back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again.

      Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita,
      Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria.
      You won't have a name when you fly the big airplane
      And all they will call you will be deportee.

My father's own father he waded that river,
They stole all the money he made in his life.
My sisters and brothers come working the fruit trees
And rode the truck til they took down and died.

      Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita,
      Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria.
      You won't have a name when you fly the big airplane
      And all they will call you will be deportee.

Some of us are illegal and some are not wanted.
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
Six hundred miles to the Mexican border.
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

      Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita,
      Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria.
      You won't have a name when you fly the big airplane
      And all they will call you will be deportee.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains,
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river -- we died just the same.

      Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita,
      Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria.
      You won't have a name when you fly the big airplane
      And all they will call you will be deportee.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon --
A fireball of lightning which shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just . . . deportees.

      Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita,
      Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria.
      You won't have a name when you fly the big airplane
      And all they will call you will be deportee.

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit --
To fall like dry leaves, to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?

      Goodbye my to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita,
      Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria.
      You won't have a name when you fly the big airplane
      And all they will call you will be deportee.