It gives me great pleasure to share the lines I wrote a few minutes ago with you. Though I don’t claim to be the poetic type, I needed to escape for a while from writing long stories and articles and seek refuge in poetry or better in short lines. I am not sure if I am eligible enough to make such an attempt, hoping I haven’t done poetry any injustice.
Born to Fight
30.07.2012. 10:05 PM.
Yes, I am not a common person.
I have been uniquely burdened
with aches, pains and torture.
I was born here to fight
In tears, for a sniff of life.
my name means redemption, sacrifice.
Here is Gaza. Palestine.
Born in pain,
And with pain.
I have a rich vein
Always I say
The best is yet on its way.
Unaccustomed, I fake a smile.
A sign of defiance, or is it only a lifestyle?
Accustomed, for I am in a fight
For survival. For my right.
I am all smiles.
Yes, I don’t complain.
But I am not alright.
Screams, cries and tears
I always try to hide
I am made to fight.
And my home is
Gaza, Get an Airport or Get a Life
And thereby hangs a tale. And therein lies my pain. What worsens the situation and doubles the pain is that all moves around, oblivious to every fact on the ground. I seem destined to suffer each time I have to cross the Rafah border into Egypt. My story is not worth mentioning as compared to other ghastly stories whose ending is shaped by the Palestinian-Egyptian mood by which the conflict is once eased and million times further complicated. Unluckily, the latter has always been my case whenever I need to travel. And this makes the odyssey of crossing the Rafah-border worth telling. “Why don’t Palestinians have an airport?” it’s the joke that kills me the most. The difficulty of going out and in Gaza makes each story has its own special taste of pain. The last I travelled, I wished Gaza were located next to Cairo’s International Airport, so we wouldn’t have to withstand the humiliation of being allowed to cross the desert on a six-hour car ride from Gaza to Cairo. “Why couldn’t we transfer Gaza there, so we wouldn’t bother the Egyptians ever again?” this is the joke I want to hear and weep at.
The Accused Was Found Palestinian
“We reject all those who Palestinianize and Islamize everything in their life. We believe in none.” I woke up feeling breathless with terror, still torn between the two worlds: dream-like reality and reality-like dream. Both seem hideously alike, though. Those words were written exactly the way I quoted them above (and in English) on an envelope of a rejection letter I seemed to receive after I applied for I don’t know what scholarship. That was the nightmare I had the other day, a nightmare that reflects much of reality, a nightmare whose sophistication petrifies me and whose interpretation I need not know. Given that I have always prided myself on being luckily born both a Muslim and a Palestinian, still I haven’t yet reached the point where I consider myself a true follower of Islam or where I am ready to sacrifice my very soul to my Palestine. I must be happy, however, for I, according to my dream, seemed to pose a serious threat to the world owing to the way I Palestinianize and Islamize my life as stated therein. This nightmare left me in wonder at how we, the Palestinians, are denied access also in “our” dreams! Could “our” dreams as well be unknowingly colonized by the occupation which has turned them into nightmares conspiring against us! How could “our” dreams rendered anti-us and pro-them? Am I living a reality or a nightmare, anyhow? Which is which? I wonder!
I have gotten into the habit of letting my students guess the meaning of any new word from its context. On the board I wrote these three sentences: “Appreciate the beauty of nature. Appreciate your mother and be grateful to her. Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.” Then, I asked them to guess the meaning of the word “appreciate”. As they guessed right, I asked them whether they are appreciative of what they have before it is irretrievably gone. Given that my mother means the world to me, I, assuming the role of my grandmother probably, prolonged the talk on this topic, offering some pieces of advice on how we should take good care of our mothers and seek her blessing. “Appreciate the irreplaceable,” I began my lecture on appreciation, but stopped abruptly upon hearing the uncontrollable sobs of a girl, cupping her face in her hands trying to muffle the tears. I panicked. “Habibti, what’s wrong?” I knelt down next to her, begging.
You Call Me a Terrorist?
Look me in the eye. Do I look like a terrorist to you? Scan my features: my teary eyes, my breathless smile, my weary mind, my bleeding heart. What the hell terrorizes you? Which part of me confuses you? Fear not my hijab. I don’t hide bombs behind my ears, and I don’t think that my hair has Samson-like power, either. Fear not my stone. I got no pistol, no machine-gun, no apache, no F-16, no phosphorus bombs. It’s a stone. Only a stone. I don’t think you think I am too naive to think of throwing a stone to kill you. My stone doesn’t kill. We throw it to stop you from killing. Yet, you stop only to kill. When you robbed my land, I remain landless. Now, you want me lifeless? And hopeless? Don’t you think you were wrong when you made me your choice? No matter what, I won’t give up my Palestine. Fear only my Palestinian-identity and Gazan-personality. Fear me. I’m, and will always be, the albatross around your neck. I’m the angry Palestinian. I am the truth. The truth you fear.
On Thanksgiving, Thanks Given to a Gazan Taxi-Driver
I have never celebrated Thanksgiving, nor have I given its concept much thought, for I, being a Muslim, need not a special day to give my thanks to Allah to Whom I am eternally and immensely grateful for His countless blessings and abundant bounties bestowed on me, so it’s always Alhamdulillah, whatever time. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t do us –as Muslims –any harm if we shared this day with our friends, giving thanks to whomever we owe much gratitude. For me, I’d like to give my special thanks to a Gazan taxi-driver for what he did last Thursday, a day that coincides with the one of Thanksgiving. Continue reading
It Was the Tent I Wanted the Most
“Oh-oh! You must be kidding me,” we gasped the moment we set foot in the place where we were supposed to sleep. “Are we going to sleep inside those?” sneered one. “Yes!” I grinned, stating the obvious. I enthusiastically hurried to fetch my tent among the other 500 tents on each written the same number our badges have. Having had such a hectic day of flying from Cairo to Madrid then to Granada, the last thing we all needed to do was to search for our assigned numbers, and all what we needed was to snuggle down into our sleeping-bags. Dragging myself from one tent after another, I finally managed to find my number. Phew, mine was 353! This camping trip was such a blast. Whoopee!