Israel/America: A Rambling Poem

Every time I think of 9/11
I see burning flesh dripping off the bones of Iraqi children in Fallujah
Now Gaza
I tend to memorialize the forgotten
The collateral damage eclipsing our unpunished crimes

Maybe it’s because I’m a numbers guy
Because if I had a dollar for every time an Iraqi died since 2003
I’d be a millionaire

And don’t get me wrong
Sometimes I don’t know who I hate more
The governments in the West
Or the politicians in the East
Who sell their souls quicker than the oil they export
Straw men who use Palestine as a tool to line their pockets
And don’t give a nickel to their people
Quisling governments
Who stitch mouths shut for a check from Washington and AIPAC
How can you be their prototypical anti-Semite
If you are signing peace accords to oppress your own people?

And then Orientalists and idiots talk about how
We can’t have democracy in the Middle East
Because of what happened in Gaza
A Hamas boogyman wrapped in democratic elections
Rahm Emanuel wants to educate me and my people about democracy gone wrong
Why doesn’t he try implementing one in Israel first?
Instead of bowing down to terrorists like his father and the IDF
Lauding a third rate, racist, European society that’s imploding quicker
Than its moral standing in the world
Enlightened like 1950s Afrikaners and slave traders
Just because the house is beautiful
Doesn’t mean the bones you built it on have fully decomposed

The Israeli left is about as alive as Ariel Sharon
I’m sick and tired of asking for permission to resist
From antiquated leftists and progressives
Who care more about keeping it Kosher than moving things forward
I put down my pen and waving fist to resist with college kids and Palestinians
Boycott and divest!
Because who cares about preserving a living when governments are killing civilians
Complicity by silence and reserve units bombing Gaza
Your academics and scholars, theater groups and practitioners, are part of the problem

And if logic doesn’t fit into your long term plan of rejecting
My right to return, I’m sorry
Maybe one day you’ll return to reality
Where my people have babies quicker
Than Zionists can concoct Jordanian options

I don’t want your sympathy or introspective confessions
Won’t sit on my hands till they lose oxygen
Like the people of Balata and Rafah
Vote for Barack Obama
And pretend that his 22 day silence was golden
While emaciated children starved to death
Surrounded by their parent’s corpses

This can’t be America the Beautiful
A criminal with a few positive attributes
Doesn’t alleviate genocide
Bombing Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq
Into oblivion doesn’t make you historic
It makes you as blind and bloodthirsty
As the white men that came before you
Apathetic hipsters now excited about a president
Who broke history, but not poverty, occupation, or corporate interests

I’d rather proudly walk through the graveyard of peace accords
And failed dialogue sessions
Than see my people just as occupied or third class citizens
We are the gavel that will slam down like a verdict
We are not waiting for Israel or America or the Supreme Court to approve it
We’ll boycott Lev Leviev, Caterpillar and your apartheid companies
We’re taking back the right of return and the keys to a country
Because we never asked you to go back to Europe or sit in open air prisons
I’m not asking for your advice, I’m explaining the decision
You can stay here, with us, but only as equals
It’s not that you’re Israeli, it’s that you’re wrong
That’s why I fight for my people!

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 Read other articles by Remi, or visit Remi's website.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said on September 18th, 2009 at 9:10am #

    that was very beautiful and fantastic. Bravo!!!

  2. Shabnam said on September 18th, 2009 at 1:52pm #


    The Iranian Opposition abroad, Green Wave, is supported by the zionazi fascists like BERNARD HENRI LEVY, a liar and phony philosopher who wants Palestinians to be disappeared from their ancestral land, but, of course, they never will. He supported the neocon’s plan, meaning war on Iraq where left more than 1.3 million dead, war on Lebanon, genocide in Gaza and now is pushing for a war against Iran. Shame on Iranian opposition groups abroad who have shown themselves nothing but slaves of Zionism to promote their career. Satrapy is seen with a rouge individual BERNARD HENRI LEVY. Satrapy’s book, Persepolis – turned into a film by the same name and Spielberg, the notorious Zionist, bought the right to distribute it – is a professional whore and close to fascist Zionist Jews such as Bernard Henri Levy, a Zionist pro Israel viewed as rouge individuals among the majority of intellectuals both in Europe and America.

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 18th, 2009 at 4:48pm #

    Shabnam, what’s this about Bernard-Henry Levy, the well-known Zionist narcissist (such a burden it is, to have a whole universe created to your tribe’s glory, alone)being a ‘rouge’ individual? Still,I can just imagine him preening before the mirror applying rouge, mascara and powder, the better to disguise his true features. By the by, I’ve just had a thought. As the type of Zionazi golem exemplified by mebosa always maintain that Jordan is the ‘Palestinian’ state (they never mention that most of Jordan is pencilled in to be ‘redeemed’ as part of Eretz Yisrael, in the fullness of time) I suggest we return the favour. Let’s declare Long Island the ‘Jewish state’ with Brooklyn its capital. What could be fairer?

  4. Deadbeat said on September 18th, 2009 at 5:33pm #

    The Israeli left is about as alive as Ariel Sharon
    I’m sick and tired of asking for permission to resist
    From antiquated leftists and progressives
    Who care more about keeping it Kosher than moving things forward

    And I would add the American Left as well. How very true. PEACE!

  5. Shabnam said on September 18th, 2009 at 9:14pm #


    I am very sorry to confuse you. The word should have been ROGUE, not rouge, I apologize. Anyway, I think people should know this zionazi (I borrowed your great word if you don’t mind where I think fits him best). Apparently the Iranian opposition groups, green wave, either do not this fascist or they don’t mind being associated with a Zionist apologist who goes around the world to paint Israelis as VICTIMS and Palestinian and those who resist the Zionist murderers as ‘terrorists.’ He is the one who is trying to show the US imperialism as trying to bring ‘democracy’ to uncivilized world, Muslims. Apparently, Makhmalbaf, a filmmaker turned politician over night representing Mousavi are desperate enough to
    Work with Bernard Levy who is against both Muslims and the ‘left’ because he thinks the ‘left’ is supporter of ‘islamofascism’ meaning the ‘left’ supports the enemy of Israel, where of course he is wrong. Makhmalbaf and Satrapi have signed a petition ‘in support of the Iranian people’ which surprises those Iranians who know how fascist is Bernard Henri Levy. The following complaint is written by an Iranian who is worried that this cooperation might damage the image of the Iranian opposition abroad.
    Bernard-Henri Levy “Defends” the Iranian People
    The Iranian Uprising’s False Friends
    I am alarmed and depressed that Mir Hosein Musavi’s official representative outside Iran, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, along with people whom I admire, such as Marjane Satrapi, have cosigned a letter with a dangerous charlatan like Bernard-Henri Levi (commonly known as BHL).
    In solitarity with the Iranian people
    Here is an open letter I have co-signed with the following people: Marjane Satrapi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Reza, Samira Makhmalbaf, Javad Djavahery, Atiq Rahimi, Thomas Johnson, Jean-Claude Carrière, Manon Loizeau, and Ariane Mnouchkine.

    Among these “friends” of the Iranian people we see Bernard-Henri Levy, founder of the French New Intellectual movement. Levy tried to fill the rather large void left by Sartre. But if Sartre courageously protested the victims of imperialism–particularly French imperialism–in Algeria, Indochina, and so on, Levy has waged war on something he apparently sees as a more urgent threat–European anti-Americanism. Let’s admit that Sartre had his problems–his sick apologetics for Stalin’s and Mao’s crimes comes to mind–but he stood up to the French state’s crimes. Levy has made a project of attacking the West’s enemies’ crimes. Levy has embraced the West’s rich and powerful the way Sartre embraced the workers at a Renault factory. As Doug Ireland observed on his blog,
    As someone who lived in France for a decade–where I even once had the unpleasant experience of passing three hours interviewing the arrogant and indigestible egomaniac BHL–I can tell you what most serious intellectuals in France know: that BHL is a fraud and an impostor, just as Cohen’s book charges. As an assiduous flatterer and intimate friend of business barons, showbiz stars, and political leaders, his conduct is a thousand miles from the “intellectual liberty” of which BHL likes to pose as the lyric defender. His only real talent is his manipulation of a media microcosm without intellectual standards and his endless and skillful self-promotion–the lengths to which BHL and his trophy wife (the actress Arielle Dombasle … ) will go to promote themselves and their obscenely luxurious lifestyle as the incarnation of the “glitterati” is a matter of great hilarity in France.
    If Sartre was a tragic figure, Levy is a farce.
    Nor is this necessarily a terrible thing to provide ballast to keep anti-imperalists from getting carried away in their enthusiasms for their heroes and heroines. But Levy’s methods in this are, as his critics show, dishonest.
    An example Americans can appreciate is his tour of the United States at the invitation of the center-right Atlantic Monthly, which gave him a car and a chauffeur. The idea was to follow “In the Footsteps of Tocqueville.” But unlike Tocqueville, his book is filled with meandering musings such as, Leafed through the first few pages of One Nation, After All, which the author, the sociologist Alan Wolfe, gave me last night. Maybe the secret lies in this “after all.” Maybe American patriotism is more complex, more painful, than it seems at first glance, and perhaps its apparent excessiveness comes from that. Or perhaps it has to do, as Tocqueville saw it, with a kind of “reflective patriotism” that, unlike the “instinctive love” that reigned during the regimes of times past, is forced to exaggerate when it comes to emblems and symbols.
    The problem with this kind of journalism is that it is entirely superficial. He starts his tour with a visit to an American prison. It is, he points out, a grim place, but then, the inmates are depicted as savages, and they excite no curiosity in him (unlike politicians, famous authors, or political activists, who positively fascinate him). Just as he has little interest in ordinary people, he has little interest in humdrum facts and figures. As an American observer wrote of this piece, Bernard-Henri Lévy is a much too refined a visitor to show the United States’ most terrifying illnesses. He visits our prisons, one of the most sensitive issues in our society, but kindly avoids embarrassing us by giving the figure for the country’s prison population. (For the curious, it reached 2,267,787 in 2004 and increases ceaselessly.) …
    This curiosity served him well in his career as a journalist. (Also see this review from the American Social-Democratic paper In These Times.)
    He petitioned the American Congress on behalf of the Nicaraguan contras in the name of the Free World when it appeared that Congress was going to cut aid to these terrorists.
    BHL was a great admirer of Ahmad Shah Masoud, the leader of the northern forces and America’s last best hope in Afghanistan, calling him a “democrat” and “that Muslim of light”. “I campaigned for France to support the great Ahmed Shah Massoud … I went to see him many times. He was my friend. Massoud, to me, was the embodiment of moderate Islam,” he said in an interview. Sent to Afghanistan in February 2002 by the French government, according to one journalist, he returned with a report of no particular use. Embarrassing questions about the ethnic composition of his forces (lots of Tajiks, but no Pashtuns) and his record of brutality when he had the reigns of power (amputations, summary executions, rape, the shelling of civilian neighborhoods) and a strict (and misogynistic) enforcement of sharia law went unasked.
    In the wake of the barbaric murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, BHL rushed to get his two cents in on the crime. Writing in Le Monde Diplomatique, William Dalrymple, a journalist who had covered Pakistan for seventeen years, compares it with the quiet dignity of Daniel’s widow’s Mariane’s memoir:
    Its generosity and its quiet force–she tells how she planned to commit suicide and decided against it–puts it on quite a different level from that of the simple testament of a widow. It is not only a personal victory over an enormous personal tragedy, but a lesson for each and every one of us: one must never abandon the idea of understanding.
    The second book on the assassination, Bernard-Henri Lévy’s Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, is more ambitious: he affects to combine investigative journalism and novel writing. But it suffers from prohibitive weaknesses and teems with factual errors of the greatest importance…. Although he calls for the creation of a new literary type, “Romanquête”, mixing reportage and fiction, a la … Truman Capote, it becomes clear from the first pages that when it comes to Pakistan, BHL aimed much too high, considering his abilities. His work, however, raises questions of great importance, even if, for the most part, his is purely fictitious and his political analyses are simplistic and badly researched.
    Thus, BHL claims that Omar Sheikh lived on a street … which does not exist. He places Mozaffarabad, Kashmir’s center for jihadi agitation, in India. In exchange, India’s Koranic school, Akora Khattack, is placed in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Saharanpur is moved a four hour distance to the suburbs of Delhi. The Pakistani moderate Abdul Ghani Lone, who advocated making peace with India, and his political party are described as a Islamic extremist. He asserts he knows Ossam ben Laden’s itinerary through Pakistan after his escape from Tora Bora, a not inconsequential feat, considering that the world’s intelligence services have been racking their brains over this for years. He alleged that Pearl was hot on the trail of proof that Pakistani intelligence was complicit in financing the World Trade Center attack, and this led to his murder; yet there is not a scintilla of evidence to back up this speculation. Pakistanis are referred to as murderous fanatics, the living dead, and so forth. The reviewer concludes by calling BHL’s book an insult to Daniel Pearl’s memory.
    BHL visited Algeria and was given the red carpet treatment by the generals there, and lavished, in return, the most treacly praise on the generals’ men he spoke with, according to a review of his writing on the subject. The reviewer, Nicolas Beau, provides a long list of errors and omissions in BHL’s article too tedious to give here. He notes that he was accorded a private interview Algerian military strongman Liamine Zéroual, a rare privilege, rarely if ever accorded European journalists.
    BHL’s voyage to Columbia fares little better at the hands of his critics. One writes that the reader
    will discover … that San Vicente del Caguan, a demilitarized zone controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is “right in the middle of the Amazonian rain forests” (sure fooling those who, leaving this small town, would cross dozens kilometres of a savannah…).
    More sinisterly, he writes of the FARC guerillas,
    “These people who are responsible for dozens of thousand deaths, these master blackmailers, this kidnappers, these specialists in ‘dirty war’.” The conflict, according to the most common estimates, left in the order of 40,000 dead these past ten years. During this period, all reports–from that of Justicia y Paz (Bogotá, 1992) to the recent report of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights–blame about 80% of the victims on police forces and especially the paramilitaries, and 20% on the guerrillas. That is, the guerrillas are to blame for more or less 8000 deaths. This is a lot, but it in no way corresponds to “dozens of thousands”. BHL also repeats the canard about FARC being nothing more than a communist mafia, supporting itself on drugs and kidnapping, a charge the reviewer demolishes. On the other hand, BHL reports without comment a statement by “Carlos Castaño, leader of the paramilitaries and well-known drug trafficker”, that “We are not traffickers.”
    The Huffington Post, which has, unfortunately, decided to serve as an outlet for BHL’s writings, carried a report by him on Russia’s invasion of Georgia. He claimed that he was in Gori, a major city in northern Georgia, and that it was burned to ruins. In fact, he was, as members of his entourage admitted, nowhere near Gori and the city, thought deserted (the Russians were surrounding it), was “pretty much intact.” (For more on this see Art Goldhammer’s wonderful blog on French politics and culture.)
    Levy was a supporter of the Lebanon war of 2006, and could be counted on to raise no uncomfortable questions about its prosecution by the Israelis.
    Finally, we come to Israel’s war on Gaza. BHL sees Israel as the victim, blaming the Palestinian casualties on a deliberate policy of using civilians as human shields. Or this story, in which he writes of Israeli Arabs who are for some odd reason infuriated over the murder and mayhem going on across the border,
    I ask one of them. “Isn’t it the State you are citizens of, with the same name and the same rights as its other citizens?” The boy looks at me as if I were crazy. [Why would that be?] He tells me that Israel is a racist State that treats him as sub-human, forbids him from going to university and to nightclubs, and, as a consequence, that Israel can expect no loyalty from him. On that note he catches up with his friends, leaving me to my perplexity…
    Or this quote:
    “Nothing justifies the death of a kid,” Asaf, 33 years old, tells me. He is the owner of a restaurant in New York, and in his “reserve” periods, pilot of a Cobra helicopter. “Nothing. And that’s why, when the risks exists, when I realize in my cockpit that I can harm civilians in aiming at a military target, I pull back and return to base.”
    BHL politely refrains from asking Asaf about how Israel’s policy of targeted assassinations which result in dozens of deaths of bystanders, many of them children.
    Having Mir Hosein Musavi’s representative abroad keeping company with such a character has absolutely nothing to recommend it and will make the mass movement supporting democracy in Iran a potentially serious blow.

  6. liz burbank said on September 19th, 2009 at 10:22am #

    thanks Remi! Now, would you please shine your poetic light to illuminate the anti-Palestine/proUSRAELI nature of the made-in-amerika “Iranian opposition” exposed by its attempt to silence the annual Palestine support demonstration trying to drown out chants of ‘death to u.s./israel’ with ‘death to russia’, etc?! Special mention too please of the so-called left ‘anti-imperialist’ apologists trying to sell this ‘human rights’ shit as a genuine, spontaneous ‘anti-theocracratic ‘peoples’ revolution!