A Poem for Gaza

I never knew death until I saw the bombing of a refugee camp
Craters filled with disfigured ankles and splattered torsos
But no sign of a face, the only impression a fading scream
I never understood pain
Until a seven-year-old girl clutched my hand
Stared up at me with soft brown eyes, waiting for answers
But I didn’t have any
I had muted breath and dry pens in my back pocket
That couldn’t fill pages of understanding or resolution

In her other hand she held the key to her grandmother’s house
But I couldn’t unlock the cell that caged her older brothers
They said, we slingshot dreams so the other side will feel our father’s presence
A craftsman
Built homes in areas where no one was building
And when he fell, he was silent
A .50 caliber bullet tore through his neck shredding his vocal cords
Too close to the wall
His hammer must have been a weapon
He must have been a weapon
Encroaching on settlement hills and demographics

So his daughter studies mathematics
Seven explosions times eight bodies
Equals four Congressional resolutions
Seven Apache helicopters times eight Palestinian villages
Equals silence and a second Nakba
Our birthrate minus their birthrate
Equals one sea and 400 villages re-erected
One state plus two peoples…and she can’t stop crying
Never knew revolution or the proper equation
Tears at the paper with her fingertips
Searching for answers
But only has teachers
Looks up to the sky and see stars of David demolishing squalor with hellfire missiles

She thinks back words and memories of his last hug before he turned and fell
Now she pumps dirty water from wells, while settlements divide and conquer
And her father’s killer sits beachfront with European vernacular
She thinks back words, while they think backwards
Of obscene notions and indigenous confusion

This our land!, she said
She’s seven years old
This our land!, she said
And she doesn’t need a history book or a schoolroom teacher
She has these walls, this sky, her refugee camp
She doesn’t know the proper equation
But she sees my dry pens
No longer waiting for my answers
Just holding her grandmother’s key…searching for ink

Remi Kanazi is the editor of Poets For Palestine. He will be touring the US and Canada this fall on the Poets For Palestine tour.He can be contacted at Remroum@gmail.com. Read other articles by Remi, or visit Remi's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Liberty Grant said on December 30th, 2008 at 11:40pm #

    This is a TREMENDOUSLY powerful poem. It touched my heart…

    I think everyone would appreciate the insights of this man, Ted Pike, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at http://www.truthtellers.org. His is an unexpected voice in the evangelical army. A voice of truth. A … well, dissident voice.

    Thank you for spreading different point of views — different from the one-step the media plays.

  2. Bindhu said on January 5th, 2009 at 7:12am #

    Your words exude the pain of millions!

  3. rawan said on January 9th, 2009 at 1:36am #

    realy it was amazing .Gaza needs someone to be on their side ,its realy amazing…….

  4. mebosa ritchie said on January 9th, 2009 at 5:08am #

    “The Bee from The Old Town of Effen”

    He kept bees in the old town of Effen,
    An Effen beekeeper was he,
    And one day this Effen beekeeper,
    Was stung by a big Effen bee.

    Now this big Effen beekeeper’s wee Effen wife,
    For the big Effen polis she ran
    For there’s nobody can sort out a big Effen bee,
    Like a big Effen polisman can.

    This big Effen polisman did his nut,
    And he ran down the main Effen street,
    In his hand was a big Effen baton,
    He had big Effen boots on his feet.

    The polis got hold of this big Effen bee,
    And he twisted the Effen bees wings,
    But the big Effen bee got his own back,
    For the big Effen bee had two stings.

    Now they’re both in the Effen museum,
    Where the Effen folk often come see,
    The remains of the big Effen polis,
    Stung to death by the big Effen bee.

  5. Lalon Amin said on January 15th, 2009 at 9:54am #

    Oh Gaza , Oh Gaza .

    Oh Gaza , Oh Gaza, for you I cry,
    Knowing that as I write another child will die.

    Woman suffer, elders cry as your children shiver in fright,
    Why has the world forgotten this Gazan plight?

    Oh Gaza , oh Gaza , for you I weep.
    Knowing that children lie in shelters not so deep.

    1000 of you have been killed,
    Why has the world allowed your blood to be spilled?

    Oh Gaza , Oh Gaza, for you I pray,
    Knowing that our leaders won’t listen nor care.

    In your schools your blood flows,
    Why has the world ignored your cause?

    Oh Gaza , Oh Gaza, for you I hope,
    Knowing that amongst the death and misery your children can’t cope.

    God protect your sons and daughters,
    Why has the world not stopped the guns and mortars?

    Oh Gaza , Oh Gaza, for you I protest,
    Knowing that not as a Muslim nor Jew, but as a human I contest.

    Your children killed as they play, which brings me tears,
    Why has the world leaders only thought of their political careers?

    Oh Gaza , Oh Gaza, for you my heart bled,
    Knowing that your children cried alone next to their dead.

    How did we let this crime take place,
    Why has the world let them slaughter this Gazan race?

    SAVE US

    Help us, help us you plead,
    Save our children at this time of need.

    But the worlds eyes have become blind,
    So don’t think the world is so kind.

    After all you are the people of Palestine ,
    A place where justice don’t shine.

    Save us, save us you scream,
    But freedom to you will always be a dream.

    Hence the war goes on and many more die,
    But don’t think that the leaders will cry,

    They quarrel over words to delay a ceasefire,
    As your situation becomes even dire.

    Don’t bomb us, don’t bomb us you pray,
    But don’t think for a moment they will care,

    They bomb your mosques and schools,
    Breaking at ease the U.N rules,

    And then they say they are friends of you,
    Even though they impose this bloody coup.

    Don’t kill us, don’t kill us you cry in fear,
    But don’t think for a moment they will shed a tear,

    War is business oh my Palestinian friend,
    So don’t think that this is going to end,

    Don’t you know that from your misery money is made,
    So excuse them when they are making a raid

    See our pain, see our pain you cry,
    But don’t think for a moment our leaders will try.

    They gave your oppressors the arms to kill,
    This could have been over if they had the will.

    Yet they say they will come to your rescue,
    And act their dramas and wait for their cue.

    So Oh my Palestinian friend, don’t cry no more,
    They will never be happy till you leave this Gazan shore.

    My Brother and I

    I wake to the songs of my 13th birthday,
    my mother looks happy as Yusuf and I play,

    The bomb drops, and i see my mother in the corner of my eyes,
    My brother screams as my mother dies,

    How could they kill my beloved mother,
    All i have now is my younger brother.

    I wake to the war that is hell,
    are these the stories my father would tell?

    I see my brother still crying in pain,
    as we say our byes to the mother who’s been slain.

    Where do we go, where do i take this sibling of mine
    How do i flee my land of Palestine.

    I wake to see the bombs above my sky,
    I hold my little brother as he begins to cry,

    We begin to run, but where do we hide
    We are so lonely, who is on our side?

    What threat do my brother and I pose,
    we run to the borders, but they say it will close.

    I wake to thunder and rain,
    i look at my brother to see him in pain,

    He cries to me for the gold that is food,
    Fustration and panick fills my mood,

    Over missiles and bombs i rush to scrounge for meat,
    There is no food, not even the smell of wheat.

    I wake to find the army firing over my head,
    the streets are empty, the children have fled,

    So we hide in the classes of a school,
    Nobody could bomb this, not even a fool,

    An explosion lets rip, and hastily take cover,
    and i quickly look over my shoulder to see a dead brother.

    I wake to find myself alone,
    And cry for the brother i buried at dawn,

    I walk the streets to see the devastation,
    And I see the orphans desperation,

    And i know that i will never see,
    The people of Gaza to be truly free.

    Lalon Amin January 2009

  6. Lalon Amin said on January 17th, 2009 at 2:44pm #

    A Day in Gaza

    I walk the streets of the Gaza Strip,
    Knowing that this isn’t going to be a normal trip.
    A wounded child comes and holds my hand,
    He wants me to witness the death of his land.
    He takes me to see the living oppression,
    Death and misery is my initial impression.

    I can almost smell the children’s fear,
    I see the orphans and it becomes more clear,
    Looking at their faces of misery and pain,
    And the clothes that have become bloodstain,
    That I walk the valley of war crimes,
    Memories of death throughout their lifetimes.

    I see the destruction left by the bombs,
    This isn’t taught in the Torah and Psalms?
    Homes are flattened as their mosques burn,
    Once this is over how could they return?
    Then I see the children, who have poison on their skin,
    I begin to cry for the Orphans who have no kin.

    Then the child takes me to a nearby school,
    There I see dead children, why is this war so cruel?
    I can’t find words to comfort or console,
    How could the oppressors answer their own soul?
    I look at the burning compound where they stored food,
    How could they be no justice in this bitter feud.

    Then I see my little orphan friend falling,
    He says he can hear his mother calling,
    He whispers and makes his final request
    That I tell the world to make an inquest,
    As to why so many children died,
    And why know one listened as they cried.

    He looks calm as he stares at death
    I cry as he takes his last breath,
    Oh my little Gazan friend,
    Why did we allow you to become part of this trend?
    Where children die in the land of Palestine,
    Because they were not part of the oppressors bloodline.

    Lalon Amin

    WHY?

    Why is it that your pain hurts me so much,
    Yet I have never felt your Gazan touch,
    Why is it, that your sorrow brings me tears,
    Yet I have never heard your worries or fears,
    Why is it, your child’s death makes me cry,
    Yet I have never seen your child die,
    Why is it, your plight makes me wonder,
    Yet I have never spoken to you to ponder
    Why is it, your suffering makes me weep,
    Yet I have never felt emotions so deep.

    Then I realise Oh my Gazan buddy,
    We are the Ummah, you are part of my body.

    Lalon Amin

    How Dare You

    How dare you oppose occupation,
    Why would you fight deportation?
    How dare you want your land,
    Why would reject our offer of mud and sand?
    How dare you want to live a life of joy,
    Why wouldn’t you want to be conquered like Troy?
    How dare you want peace for your child,
    Why would you want them to live, lives so mild?
    How dare you protest the iron walls around you
    Why would you oppose this bloody coup?
    How dare you fight oppression,
    Why wouldn’t you want to live a life of depression?
    How dare you seek equality,
    Why would you want to live a life of tranquillity?
    How dare you want to live a normal life,
    Why would you not want this misery and strife?
    How dare you say you want to be like me,
    Why would you think you could ever be free?
    You are the people of Palestine,
    What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.

    Lalon Amin

    Oh Gaza, Oh Gaza

    Oh Gaza, Oh Gaza, for you I cry,
    Knowing that as I write another child will die.
    Woman suffer, elders cry as your children shiver in fright,
    Why has the world forgotten this Gazan plight?
    Oh Gaza, oh Gaza, for you I weep.
    Knowing that children lie in shelters not so deep.
    750 of you have been killed,
    Why has the world allowed your blood to be spilled?
    Oh Gaza, Oh Gaza, for you I pray,
    Knowing that our leaders won’t listen nor care.
    In your schools your blood flows,
    Why has the world ignored your cause?
    Oh Gaza, Oh Gaza, for you I hope,
    Knowing that amongst the death and misery your children can’t cope.
    God protect your sons and daughters,
    Why has the world not stopped the guns and mortars?
    Oh Gaza, Oh Gaza, for you I protest,
    Knowing that not as a Muslim nor Jew, but as a human I contest.
    Your children killed as they play, which brings me tears,
    Why has the world leaders only thought of their political careers?
    Oh Gaza, Oh Gaza, for you my heart bled,
    Knowing that your children cried alone next to their dead.
    How did we let this crime take place,
    Why has the world let them slaughter this Gazan race?

    Lalon Amin

    Save Us

    Help us, help us you plead,
    Save our children at this time of need.
    But the worlds eyes have become blind,
    So don’t think the world is so kind.
    After all you are the people of Palestine,
    A place where justice don’t shine.

    Save us, save us you scream,
    But freedom to you will always be a dream.
    Hence the war goes on and many more die,
    But don’t think that the leaders will cry,
    They quarrel over words to delay a ceasefire,
    As your situation becomes even dire.

    Don’t bomb us, don’t bomb us you pray,
    But don’t think for a moment they will care,
    They bomb your mosques and schools,
    Breaking at ease the U.N rules,
    And then they say they are friends of you,
    Even though they impose this bloody coup.

    Don’t kill us, don’t kill us you cry in fear,
    But don’t think for a moment they will shed a tear,
    War is business oh my Palestinian friend,
    So don’t think that this is going to end,
    Don’t you know that from your misery money is made,
    So excuse them when they are making a raid

    See our pain, see our pain you cry,
    But don’t think for a moment our leaders will try.
    They gave your oppressors the arms to kill,
    This could have been over if they had the will.
    Yet they say they will come to your rescue,
    And act their dramas and wait for their cue.

    Help us, help us you plead,
    Save our children at this time of need.
    But the worlds eyes have become blind,
    So don’t think the world is so kind.
    After all you are the people of Palestine,
    A place where justice don’t shine.

    Save us, save us you scream,
    But freedom to you will always be a dream.
    Hence the war goes on and many more die,
    But don’t think that the leaders will cry,
    They quarrel over words to delay a ceasefire,
    As your situation becomes even dire.

    Don’t bomb us, don’t bomb us you pray,
    But don’t think for a moment they will care,
    They bomb your mosques and schools,
    Breaking at ease the U.N rules,
    And then they say they are friends of you,
    Even though they impose this bloody coup.

    Don’t kill us, don’t kill us you cry in fear,
    But don’t think for a moment they will shed a tear,
    War is business oh my Palestinian friend,
    So don’t think that this is going to end,
    Don’t you know that from your misery money is made,
    So excuse them when they are making a raid

    See our pain, see our pain you cry,
    But don’t think for a moment our leaders will try.
    They gave your oppressors the arms to kill,
    This could have been over if they had the will.
    Yet they say they will come to your rescue,
    And act their dramas and wait for their cue.

    So Oh my Palestinian friend, don’t cry no more,
    They will never be happy till you leave this Gazan shore.

    Lalon Amin

    My brother and I

    I wake to the songs of my 13th birthday,
    my mother looks happy as Yusuf and I play,
    The bomb drops, and i see my mother in the corner of my eyes,
    My brother screams as my mother dies,
    How could they kill my beloved mother,
    All i have now is my younger brother.

    I wake to the war that is hell,
    are these the stories my father would tell?
    I see my brother still crying in pain,
    as we say our byes to the mother who’s been slain.
    Where do we go, where do i take this sibling of mine
    How do i flee my land of Palestine.

    I wake to see the bombs above my sky,
    I hold my little brother as he begins to cry,
    We begin to run, but where do we hide
    We are so lonely, who is on our side?
    What threat do my brother and I pose,
    we run to the borders, but they say it will close.

    I wake to thunder and rain,
    i look at my brother to see him in pain,
    He cries to me for the gold that is food,
    Frustration and panic fills my mood,
    Over missiles and bombs I rush to scrounge for meat,
    There is no food, not even the smell of wheat.

    I wake to find the army firing over my head,
    the streets are empty, the children have fled,
    So we hide in the classes of a school,
    Nobody could bomb this, not even a fool,
    An explosion lets rip, and hastily take cover,
    and i quickly look over my shoulder to see a dead brother.

    I wake to find myself alone,
    And cry for the brother I buried at dawn,
    I walk the streets to see the devastation,
    And I see the orphans desperation,
    And I know that I will never see,
    The people of Gaza to be truly free.

    Lalon Amin

  7. Fatima said on June 15th, 2009 at 6:50pm #

    Lalon your poems are so deep, its as if you really have bore witness to the atrocities, as i felt every word you wrote.

  8. Lalon Amin said on December 10th, 2009 at 7:29am #

    My Palestinian dream

    I dream of a beautiful day,
    When I can proudly say
    That the people of Palestine are truly free,
    My Allah, that day will I ever live to see?

    I dream of glorious moments,
    When the Palestinian orphans can forget their torments,
    And play and run through long green grasses
    My Allah, will this be ever accepted by the Israeli masses?

    I dream for their children a wonderful life,
    When gone are the memories of suffering and strife
    And only joy and laughter fills their faces,
    My Allah, when will they end this separation of race’s?

    I dream for them a liberated motherland,
    Where they can travel freely without the thought of being banned,
    And they can breathe freely in the land that they were born
    My Allah, will my dream be met with hostility and scorn?

    I dream of momentous times,
    When the Palestinians are no longer caged between walls and blue striped lines,
    And my Palestinian brothers and sisters can proclaim “my Palestine you are at last free|!”
    My Allah, that day I yearn to see.

    Lalon Amin 10th December 09

  9. deceschi said on December 10th, 2009 at 9:06am #

    Amin Lalon -
    As long as Hamas & Co. continues to smuggle and ammas weapons as well as Iran-made missiles to be used against Israel, instead of taking care of the Gazan children and finally renounces violence, your dreams of freedom and peace will regrettably remain empty and unrealized. It’s indeed frustrating that Palestinians must and will suffer more blows because of their warmongering inept rulers imbued with sick ideology and hatred that the people themselves have chosen.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1260181035814&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull