by Mary La Rosa
February 27, 2003
Dear Dissident Voice,
Annie Higgins and I have a correspondence. Recently, we have been writing about her letters concerning the targeting and deaths of civilian Peace workers and the lack of credibility shereceives from mainstream media about life and death conditions in Jenin, Occupied Palestine. To add further insult to her integrity, her words and phrases are sometimes removed in order to slant and portray a different perspective other than the reality in which she and many innocent people live and die.
At this distance, it is no heroic effort on my part to lend encouragement.
Yet, Annie Higgins is grateful for my petite friendship and support. She claims that such notes are "little reminders that someone listens and cares".
When I answered her last letter with part of what I wrote below, she wrote back telling me to send my "poem" to you. It was not such a poem then. But, even at this distance, her wisdom and directive about responsibilities took hold and have a grip on my heart.
My poesie is so small compared to the importance of it, not as a poem, but ...as a reminder to the world that in these treacherous times, there are those whose ONLY protection is ......in words. And words are now at risk!
Annie's weapons are her words and sometimes her words have been manipulated to suit the needs of those who wish to deny the truth about civilian targeting in Occupied Palestine.
We must all fight like partisans with our words and shame the "slant" out
of mainstream media.
Here is my poem for Annie: Tell Them Never Be Silent
came this letter
from a friend of mine:
People here often say:
Who will listen?
Nobody listens...to us.
Each of us still has
responsibility to speak
in spite of deaf ears.
Dear friend in Palestine
When no one listens to you speak
do NOT resign
yourself in silence.
We must learn to speak better and together.
We must learn to whisper as well as shout.
We must learn the subtle timing of both.
We must learn to speak in a universal:
To speak individually but in one clear voice.
when one voice falls weak
other voices carry the tune
and the harmony.
we must find the way
to sing with joy again.
for the children.
if we do not sing for them
in joy together
they will not know how
by our example.
What will our silence teach them?
will it teach truth? when there are
will it teach beauty? when there is
will it teach hope? when there is
will it teach courage? when there is
will it teach peace? when there is
will it teach love ? when there is
If we are silent
is always ready to speak for us
to tell us
what we mean
to tell us
how we feel
If we are silent
the Monsters may learn
to use another voice
and the children will think
that is our voice.
And if the Monsters
raise the children
the children will become like them.
We must try
Never be Silent.
2/23/03 Mary La Rosa
[Annie Higgins specializes in Arabic and Islamic studies, and is currently
doing research in Jenin, Occupied Palestine.]
Mary La Rosa is a librarian and an artist living 20 miles from NYC. She
longs for the day when the most important thing she writes to Annie about
is songbirds and Meerkats.