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Palestine -  War and Peace Poetry

(*Palestine - the West Bank and Gaza.
See editor's comment.)

Explosion in gaza
Brinda Runghsawmee The love birds
Marguerite Rami Weeping tears for Gaza
Pande Manoylov Pain  (13 July 2014)
Farrah Sarafa Let the land choose (22 July 2014)
Suheir Hammad What I will - video
1.Gaza - video
Felicity Currie "The voice of weeping shall be heard no more."
Pity like a newborn babe
Once more unto the breach
The quality of mercy
Optical Illusion 
David Roberts Words, Words  
Richard Arnold Sixty
Cheryl L Daytec Several poems on another page (Link)

24th of July 2014 Poetry can hardly cope with the continuing suffering in Palestine

A fortnight of renewed violence in Palestine. Over 700 Palestinians killed and 38 Israelis killed. No Israelis were killed till they sent ground forces into Gaza/Palestine. The Israelis claim they are defending themselves against terrorists, but which side is creating more terror? Palestinians have suffered over 60 years of brutal abuse at the hands of the Israelis who are amongst the most heavily armed people on earth and who are demanding total disarmament of the long-suffering Palestinian people.

Most of the Palestinians killed have been civilians, men, women and children. The Israelis claim they give warnings before they bomb areas so that people can evacuate the target areas. According to the United Nations, in a statement quoted by the BBC 43% of Gaza had been declared a no go area. The question is “where are the people to go to in order to escape Israeli attacks? ["The UN relief agency UNRWA said more than 118,300 Palestinians had now taken refuge in its shelters. It said 43% of Gaza had been affected by evacuation warnings or declared no-go zones.” - BBC website 23 July 2014.]

10 August 2014 Over 1800 Palestinians killed in the recent conflict - mostly civilians including about 400 children. Israelis 57 soldiers killed invading Gaza, 3 civilians.

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A poem from the island of Mauritius

Brinda Runghsawmee introduces her poem.

I am from the island of Mauritius, near the big island Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Just would like peace between Israel and Palestine-Gaza and terrorism will die. What we see on the media is not really the truth. There are hearts that beat behind uniforms. Brainwashed militants or numbed soldiers in solitude do think about buried precious moments from their lives: mums, a dear dog or a fragile bird.

 The love birds

 One bird is on shrapnel

In Israel

The other one is outside

A blasted tunnel

In Gaza


There is fear

In the eyes

She has always

Been at his side

He has always

Been at her side


The soldier about to launch

A rocket towards Gaza

Has a thought

About his mum

A tear trickles down

His grimy face

When he sees the downcast bird

All white with that lost look

His heart melts


He leaves the rocket

Picks her up

She does not struggle

He puts her inside

His bullet-proof clothes

In a large inside pocket


The Hamas militant

Aims his foreign missile

Against Israel’s border town

Full of olive trees

Swinging music in the gun-fire sky

Which cannot hide the blueness of lofty joy

Where arms do not exist


He hears little sad sounds

He turns round

Sees the white bird

With the lost look

His heart melts

He thinks of his mum

Dead-torn by an Israeli missile


He leaves gun and missile

Goes to the struggling bird

Lowers him inside his soldier’s clothes

Not far from his heart


He turns his back to war

He wants to find his love

He runs, hides towards

The southern border

Where Gaza and Israel meet

To kill


He is a wanted man

In Gaza

A target man

for Israel


The Israeli soldier

Is disturbed by the gentle movements

Inside his pocket

He has not yet fired the rocket

He wants to reunite her

With her beloved


He leaves his post

Behind the safety of olive groves

Runs where she leads him

Towards the desert


It is night

The darkness is disturbed

By war

The animals have fled

Trees and flowers

Have failed to blossom


They almost collide in each other

By the light of war

They see each other’s face

A feeling of ancient hatred

Rises within the folds of their souls

But the stirring within blasts it


The hands of war gently set them free

The lovebirds are reunited

On this desert soil


Two enemies understand


As bombs

And shots continue

To mark the sky

With pain

And hearts

With grief

Brinda Runghsawmee

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2 August 2014. Over 1400 Palestinians killed and 60 Israelis

Weeping Tears for Gaza

They are weeping tears that will never cease
Burying children killed in their sleep
They are seeking refuge where none exists 
Blood coursing like rivers on sun baked streets
Faith cannot grow on the graves of the many
Hatred will flourish when none can find peace
An eye for an eye will make the world blind
In the darkness that follows who will be left?

© Marguerite Rami August 1st 2014


 P A I N

 La ilahe,


 O, my brother,


Because you loved your land,

Because you loved Palestine,

Again I see from the skies

From up there,

Stars are falling

And dying with  

Flags raised!


And again blood, innocent blood!

And hard pain, unending pain!

And again bombs of hatred!

The world is silent

And does not look at

The rivers of tears

And suffering

Of the innocent from Palestine!

  La ilahe


The pain

Even in the death 

Will be endless!

Pande Manoylov

Republic of Macedonia, 13 July 2014    

Pande Manoylov – poet, short story writer, novelist, essayst. Born 1948 in the village of  Porodin, Bitola, Republik of Macedonia. Graduataed from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb (Croatia). Member of the Macedonian Writers’ Association since 1989.

            Works: Red restlessness bursts into red flames (poetry, 1971), Constellation of Pain (poetry, 1977), Fiery land (poetry, 1983),Sweetness (poetry, 1988), A flight in the dream over the Eiffel Tower (poetry, 1988), Bitola, my love (poetry, 2008)...

Let the Land Choose

[The comment in this poem about Israeli olive oil is unhelpful, I think, and probably untrue I would guess. I was offered some Israeli olive oil in a Jewish supermarket in New York in 2009 and those who tasted seemed impressed. But was it produced with stolen olive trees on stolen Palestinian land? That was my suspicion. But the poem has something to say that is more important. DR, Editor]

 Let the Land Choose

Who do you think the HolyLand

Would choose: Palestine or Israel?


Do you expect the birthplace of 3

Religions to ever really be peaceful?


I mean—Jesus was a saint,

Tortured and crucified by men with gold.


Do we celebrate Pilot’s cursed victory

Or the sacrifices made by a saint,


A hero, who rises from the dead?

His Resurrection marked by Easter eggs,


Reproduction. Do miracles

Require modernity or tradition


To appear? Chemicals or nature?

Mind or heart? Bulldozing olive trees,


Whose oil sustained families, diet

And economy, Israel is yet to produce


A decent olive oil. Its blood somehow

Curdles with the juice of branches needed


To extract an extra virgin olive.

The HolyLand seemingly chooses bullets,


Nightclubs, Capitalism, Snobbery-

(Ignorance is bliss)—but the roots


The veins reaching into mountains’

Throats seem to not be cooperating.


Why is that? Ask Jesus, the rebel,

Who’d say: First get to love Palestine.

Farrah Sarafa

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Resistance to war - a name="an_assertion">an assertion of independence

Suheir Hammad - What I will

(Beware, Sometimes YouTube seems to give an alternative video.)/p>


Suheir Hammad - 1.Gaza

Expert commentary on the Israeli Invasion of Gaza, December/January 2008/2009.
Former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, writing in The Washington Post.
Israeli historian and author of The Iron Wall, Avi Schlaim, writing in The Guardian.

27th December 2008
saw the Israeli onslaught on the people of Gaza
The links above tell the story of this crime against humanity. The terrible suffering of the Palestinian people under the illegal control of Israel continues still. 
21January 2009
Wednesday. At the weekend Israel declared a ceasefire. The last Israeli troops left Gaza yesterday, timed to be just before the inauguration of America's new president, Barack Obama. They left behind them vast areas of destroyed housing, 50,000 people homeless and living in UN shelters, over 5000 Palestinians wounded, over 1300 Palestinians killed and 13 Israelis dead. 
13 January 2009
Over 60 bombing raids on Gaza last night. Nowhere is safe. Over 900 Palestinians have been killed in this short escalation of conflict. 13 Israelis have been killed (3 by their own soldiers in an accident).
7 January 2009
See Words words poem below. Today the news is that as that poem was being written another UN School was hit. At least 40 people were killed, most of them children. The school was being used as a safe haven. Hundreds were sheltering there. The UN had given the Israeli army the co-ordinates of the school so that it would not be hit accidentally.  The Israeli army spokesman said that they fired on the school in response to being fired on by gunmen in the school. John Ging, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency was outraged at these comments. He said, "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge." (Information from today's Independent.)
Leaders continue to call for a ceasefire (whilst continuing to supply arms to Israel). There was a six months' ceasefire until last November. The Israelis say Hamas broke the ceasefire. The Independent's distinguished Middle East Reporter, Robert Fisk, writing in today's Independent, denies this. He says that Israel broke the ceasefire on 4th November (08) when an Israeli bombardment killed six Palestinians, and again on 17 November when four more Palestinians were killed.
The people of Gaza have been living under the Israeli siege of Gaza for over two years. They have reasons to be angry. So many are traumatised, so many in despair.
We can help
Three of the charities working in Gaza are

UK's Christian Aid.                http://www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/
War on Want                        www.waronwant.org
Medical Aid for Palestinians  http://www.map-uk.org


bethlemhem modern

"Oh little town of Bethlehem . . ." (A Palestinian Christmas card)

"The voice of weeping"

December 2009
Felicity Currie says of the next poem, " Everything I say in my sonnet is based on incontestable evidence and documentation. I refer you to, for example, Ilan Pappe's brilliant and widely acclaimed book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine". 

"The voice of weeping"*

“The voice of weeping shall be heard no more.”*
The land that cradled mercy, justice, peace
Became for Zionists an “empty land”,
Birthright and home for Israel alone.
Birthright? No. Death-rite. Site of genocide;
Non-people’s slaughter easily denied.
A holocaust designed and coolly planned
Before the Nazi model. Now they own
An Israel whose bounds will never cease.
Bedlam—no lamb-child’s bed in Bethlehem:
A truth that so few care or dare to tell.
What is a Palestinian child to them?
At best the “if” at its frail heart of life.
At worst Christmassacre—ungodly strife
Until we give a home instead of hell.

Felicity Currie

* The title comes from Isaiah, a quotation also embedded in Milton's poem "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity".
And only one year ago

Author's comment, Tuesday 30th December 2008

Strange and terrible that my sonnet has turned out to be prophetic.  Israel is probably using the American political interim to stage its slaughter in Gaza, but it was always on the cards.  Israel is determined to dominate the whole area and wipe out the Palestinians, whom they regard as an inferior race, if human at all. Their rants against Hamas are totally unjustified.  Hamas is democratically elected, and is defending land illegally occupied and starved of all the essentials necessary to life.  Many in Gaza have been for months reduced to eating grass, because Israel has not let any food supplies in.  You can’t imagine how terrible things are. 

Pity like a naked newborn babe . . .

What of that pity born on Christmas day?
Do we still know its meaning? Empathy
With suffering in the unholy land -
Murder, rapine, violence, and crime,
Desecration by the tyrant we
Support: whose guile and lies we understand
Because it costs no courage, effort, time.
As for our Gospel? What the papers say.

Our Envoy and our Foreign Minister
Prefer the tyrant's temple to the manger:
Eyeless in Gaza -nothing sinister
In wilful blindness if at risk of danger.

Open your eyes and see. Restore this birth
To its real truth: justice and peace on earth.

Felicity Currie
Before Christmas, 2008 

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Palestine/Israel (2005)

It is tragically ironic that many of the survivors of widespread persecution in Europe and the Holocaust in particular, and their relations and descendants, the Israelis, have themselves become persecutors in Israel/Palestine.

"It is a strange story: some might say
Beyond belief, that a people who
Suffered persecution
Would so soon become the torturers
Of others."

Not all Israelis support their government's policy, but opposition is difficult. Many Jews outside Israel feel a deep anger and shame about what has been done is being done to this day in Palestine to the Palestinians.
Felicity Currie is herself a Jew and she makes her feelings and views plain in these three powerful poems.

Once more unto the breach…


Once more the con of that debasing call
Thralls us to savagery.  The right to kill
Is ours.  Of course - for west is best of all
And east is east, the least, the beast that will
Devour, devalue what our God made good:
Like us, the way we are, our sovereign greed.
Call it democracy.  That, understood,
Translates bloody rapacity as need.
Once more, again, forever, that word breach
Defines us: breach of promise, breach of trust…
We practise every breach our leaders preach -
Keep captives safe for torture and for lust.
Our noble dead live on enshrined in fame;
Theirs rot without a number or a name.
I'll tell you what I call a breach of faith:
A Jew by birth and nurture, I believed
That Zionism meant the promised land
For Jew and Arab working hand in hand.
Now, as I dare to say I was deceived,
I face each night my father's vengeful wraith.
Well, let me be a traitor to my race.
The truth has to be told by Jews like me:
I see an Israel with a Nazi face,
A Lebensraum as plain as plain can be,
The victims of the Holocaust betrayed,
Invoked to justify that crime remade
You take the name in vain.  Hear, Israel!
It's your barbarity that makes our world a hell.
Felicity Currie

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The quality of mercy
Think dark.  Dig deep.  Now throw away the soil
That masks and marks the meanings we have lost:
Mass graves of wormy words.  No flesh and blood -
Worn origins of speech, maimed skeletons
Of a species with a bastard progeny:
What's left of language.  Prodigal, undead,
Not mute but mutant.  How it twists and turns
To uncreate!  We say not what we do.
Take mercy (having lost it).  Take the trail
That leads abusers to a resurrected ghost.
The thing we killed may yet be understood -
Not felt, perhaps, by brute automatons,
But sensed as concept, essence, quality,
Like-whatness.  Ghost with ghastly tale unsaid,
A word unmeant for kindness justly earns
The right to say its truth, if not to make it true.
"I have known what it is to be loved,
I am first-born.  If meaning is lived,
As the scion whose sign spells the blood
            Of the breed,
Those core values ingested as food
            For a Creed,
I am worth your belief.  More than good
            I am goods.
Where's the mercy in merchandise, then?
I call merchants and mercenaries men -
Find a place where no pitiless barter
Or a time when no pitying martyr
Or a word that could turn the world round
            In a flash -
Changing goods into good, telling power
            Of pity,
So that arms become alms and the poor
            Run the City…
Merci!  Give me my money's worth.  My pound
            Of flesh."
How rare to coin a word that finds us out,
That absolutely tells us as we are:
Creators of a language that can lie,
Letters to kill the spirit that gives life,
To spell the grossly human as humane -
Converting goods to good.  Our crudest scam
Is mercy: now, as in its history.
For mercy has no pity; leaves no doubt
Our hearts are tangled in its roots.  As far
As Latin takes us back to base, we try
In vain to conjure harmony from strife.
Somehow the Church chose mercy to explain
Commerce as pity: whether to bless or damn
The good of goods remains a mystery.
            But why?  Why?
How can we live and let the word lie
            Counterfeit, sullied?
It's not as if a hellish void
Had to be harrowed for a reborn
            Sanctified word:
The fifth Beatitude unheard
            Unspoken, torn
From utterance, unmade
Unless mercy vouched it valid.
            Jerome trusted
Misericordia, bonding the human heart
With pity.  Why have we lost it?
The lost is not found if we start
From a coinage like mercy.  They knew -
They must have known, those holy scholars -
The word was murky.  Murky as hell.
False coin, cruel hire, rotten bribe, hard sell;
Pay as punishment, interest now due
In the currency that kills - mercy as dollars.
Shakespeare - you should be living at this hour:
To see a world that vindicates your choice
Of rampant, racist, mercenary power
As local habitation and as voice
For mercy.  And the burning question's this:
"Which is the merchant here and which the Jew?"
This is to be or not to be - what is
And what is not.  It's either me or you.
Which is the Jew and which the terrorist?
Who spits upon the Muslim gaberdine?
Who calls upon the godly to enlist
In dirty wars against those deemed unclean?
The quality of mercy's here to stay
In Gaza, Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay…
And yet
There's something in these words that makes us yearn
To find a time, a culture and a home
That honour them in practice.
                                To forget
That language never works to make us learn
To live by any selfless paradigm.
The poetry holds.
    The centre falls apart
As it is surely meant to, even in speech
That seems so lucid in its certainties.
Why such a melody?  Why so much art
To woo a currish reprobate?  To reach
A beast remote from human sympathies?
This 'mercy' isn't meant to turn a Jew
Into a kosher Christian.
The Jew's a hostage to the Christian need
To bless and sanctify the mercantile -
The good of goods, fair trade;
                                romantic argosies
That fleece uncultured distant shores for gold
"And many a purchas'd slave".
                                This sceptred isle,
This mercenary land, this gentile breed
Engenders profit free from usury.
God bless the myth of capital, the true
Blue blood of murder: mercy bought and sold.
If there is gentle rain, it falls upon
Contaminated ground: deaf ears and hearts
Of stone - yes!
                           Pitiful oxymoron
For humans made inhuman.  And what hurts
Is how we find the words for callousness,
Cast them adrift as clichés with no bite.
Who gives a damn?
                                  What's all the fuss about?
Slaughter of Innocents?  Who could care less?
A plea for mercy hits the target when
That place, the place that hurts, is named and shamed:
Deaf ears and stony hearts of "temporal power".
Shakespeare turns
    unbelievably, amazingly
From demonised murderous Jew
To "the mighty", the few
Who rage against the many -
Posits a superpower that can be tamed,
Might surrendered for 'mercy'.  Every hour
Of time's potential butchery redeemed.
                                        What then?
A tale, a different tale, told by a poet
Singing of mercy, pity, clemency
(Music of an eleison)
Where there is only sound and fury, still
And always signifying nothing.
"It is enthroned in the hearts of…"?
Let's start with Nero.
Seneca found him the model of clementia,
                                        aged eighteen.
So merciful he wept to put his name
To the death warrant of two thieves.
"Would I had never learnt to write",
        he sobbed
And wrote it.
(Jesus saved one thief upon the cross.)
You could say Seneca was not to know
His protégé might not turn out to be
The prototype of mercy.  Even so
It would be comforting to think that he
Felt just a little queasy when he wrote
To justify (before a fussy senate)
The gory end of Nero's mother.  Note:
Nothing survives to say he wept to pen it.
Not so for Shakespeare's merciful Queen Bess:
Left Mary Queen of Scots for twenty years
Plotting in prison.
   Then, under duress
(No doubt), and mindful of the fears
Of her dear subjects,
         finally got rid of her -
Sanctioned the murder
                        but withheld her signature.
Now we are graced by democratic tyrants,
Elected Neroes ratified by God
Corpsed by us in the flesh: Sharon and Bush.
The thing itself, immaculate, unst(r)ained -
The quality of mercy-killing.
And Christian in imperial harmony,
Showering their brand of gentle rain:
A global warring on the place beneath.
Iraq, twice blessed; lucky Afghanistan,
And biblically Judaic Palestine.
Poetry makes nothing happen.  True.
A Jew like me still needs to have a bash.
I'll tell it straight.  I'll lay it on the line.
It's time to ban
Commerce with Israel.
                        What god
Would ever have the chutzpah to bequeath
Another's land for pillage?
     Hell's hegemony
Is rampant there, and we nod in compliance.
What role is there for clemency?  What hope?
Shakespeare led me to Seneca.  They share
This (crazed?) belief that mercy is conjoined
With power.  That it has to be.
                                Let's see.
Give peace a chance.  We've tried atrocity.
Vengeance, atrocity, savagery, madness.
Seneca's words
For a world where rulers do not
Show mercy.
Mercy is our word, our moneyed heir
To Seneca's clementia.
                        We've con-signed
Clemency (heartless conspiracy?)
To legalese or vagaries of weather,
If not to ignorant oblivion.
Now we need to remember our need
(In our want, our poverty, our meanness of spirit)
Of mercy as a word rich enough to express
The value of a good above all other.
Yes.  Our mercy, Seneca's clementia,
Defines, as only language can,
The quality of humanity.  The word
Is flesh, has substance.  We are
But walking shadows.
In the dim light where shadows rule,
Through a glass darkly
We scan an argument for the sovereignty
Of mercy.
Mercy chooses life: freedom of choice
The letter of the law can never have,
Judging not by the letter (sub formula),
But what is fair and good.
Justice can never be threatened
By mercy.
How can one virtue undermine another?
The opposite of mercy is not law
But lawlessness.  Barbarity, the power
That wields the sword because it fears it:
Pre-emptive violence, privilege
Of the axis of -
     superior weaponry.
A merciful ruler is unafraid
To let his 'enemies' go unharmed -
Recognising that they have the right
To claim an honest cause: a fight
For just beliefs and equal liberty.
Imagine all the people living free
If our Nerotic Bush had given pause
Before decreeing 'terror' Uncaused Cause,
And claiming mandate from his friend in heaven
For boundless vengeance after 9/11.
A merciful ruler doesn't even need
To feel pity.
Seneca discards misericordia
As a weakness that clouds reason:
Pity sees the plight, but not the cause.
Mercy and reason, like mercy and justice,
Are cognate virtues.
What about this, Necrose Sharon?
The wise and merciful ruler
(with tranquil mind and face under control)
Will inter the carcase of an enemy
Considered to be a criminal.
Who, then, was the criminal
That found no burial place for Yasser Arafat
In raped Jewrusalem?
Seneca posits a world
Where true happiness is the saving of life.
Not trophies wrenched from the vanquished
Nor chariots stained with barbarian blood.
This is mercy: the 'godlike' use of power
(We might prefer to call it 'human').
But he also foresees our world:
Not the quality of mercy, but its opposite.
Indiscriminate killing,
Conflagration and ruin
Starting small (maybe), but spreading
To the wiping out of nations.  
Weapons of fire, flames hurled
Upon the roofs of houses,
Ploughs driven over ancient cities.
A show of power,
    a ruthless shower,
A hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Felicity Currie

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Optical Illusion

It was just the kind of day for feeling
Myself.  In myself, by myself, only
Me.  Looking outside
Introspection: gunmetal sky
Waiting to download.  Already printed,
The pavement displayed its coat
Of many colours: radiant spew,
Takeaways almost as good as new
And dog shit…
                NO FOULING
Snarls the lamppost, with a punier note
Threatening fines for dog-owners.  Why
Pick on me?  I bag it up, fresh minted,
Every time (honest).
                        Just because I'm lonely
Doesn't make me guilty.  Anyway
What makes a dog's arse so much less appealing
Than a human mouth?  
 We pick our way,
My dog and me, and it isn't him that's growling.
Now we've turned the corner.  That's when stuff
Gets better isn't it?  Look up, take heart
(If not give it):
                A change is gonna come.
I know too well the way before me.  Grim,
Grimy (decent) suburban road to a field
Desecrated most by those who'd never mark
Their sacred lawns.
       Even as the wind whips
Rain in my eyes, I look for hope ahead.
Sure enough,
Distant, but so distinctly marked apart
From the normal blur in the bleary air,
I conjure up a Chapman work of art
Before I see the man in his wheel chair.
That's it.  I never thought my day would yield
A misery worse than mine.
                                What shits would park
A cripple on the pavement?  Get rid of him
By exposure - his, not theirs?
                                Is he dumb?
No strength to heave his protest to his lips?
No sign from houses close about him…
Is he dead?
Why can't I run to him?  Maybe disbelief
Or fear
Keeps me at normal pace.  Only my heart
Races.  Slowly new details surprise.
The mop of white hair so perfectly in place,
Groomed, even.  Untouched by wind or rain.
Is this man or woman?  Clothes not clear
Yet, but I sense the unnaturally smart,
New and clean.  Bright.  As if dressed
For an occasion in abandonment.
No harm done.  
    If anyone has messed
With this old stick they've left no damning trace.
No foul play, as the gruesome saying goes.
Nothing that shows.
Dis-played here, a respectable demise
For all to see.  For me to see.  I'm here.
You want a laugh?  Some light relief?
This figure has no face.
No name, no sex, no martyrdom, no pain.
Only reality's dismemberment.
Stacked on the pavement, left against a wall
Right against a tree
Those barriers workmen erect
Around their caverns in the ground,
Festooned with painted stripes
Signalling danger.  But now
I walk straight through the space
And safely gaze
At where my cripple never was.
So my eyes deceived me.
Yet I suspect
A deeper, darker truth behind it all.
Horror and guilt that follow me around,
Wells of inner tears no pleasure ever wipes
Away.  I'm living in another place -
Because, because, because
My Jewish race
Fouls the earth of Palestine.  No matter how
I hide my eyes, that filthy image stays.
It is a strange story: some might say
Beyond belief, that a people who
Suffered persecution
Would so soon become the torturers
Of others.
Seeing is believing.  There is a child,
Iman al-Hams is her name.
Once her family lived secure,
Prospered, like others, in their homeland.
Now they are penned in ghettoes, branded
An inferior race.
Iman is thirteen, but undersized
She looks ten, at most.
Does she know, today,
Dreaming, perhaps, of a place to play,
That she has wandered too
Close to nightmare?  See how unsure
She looks.  Here are no nurturers,
Teachers, playmates, sisters, brothers.
In a savage desert wild
With 'human' beasts of prey
Who see the terror on her face,
She is the thing despised
Yet most prized -
Target practice, game for execution.
Soldiers of the Chosen People, (or
Is it the Master Race?)
Know an enemy when they see one:
Believing is seeing
And their Belief is always right.
They see a child, a girl they think is ten -
Small, anyway,
"Scared to death",
"Running defensively eastward".
But she's one of them, isn't she?
Once she would have been wearing
The yellow star.  Not a human being.
Someone shoots.  He has to.  Then
Herr Kommandant strides forward with his gun
Loaded.  That shot has made his day.
Now he's where he wants to be
Now he gets her face to face.
Now he can blast the breath
Out of her.  Watch every bullet tearing
Her apart.  Not just her.  Fight
The good fight.  In shooting her
He kills every 'terrorist' bastard.
He'd shoot her even if she was three -
Again, again, again, again…
How can a family mourn
Over a child's body torn
By seventeen bullets, with no hope
Of justice?  How do they cope
With a killer who will never bear the blame?
The murderer who dares not speak his name.
Just Captain R,
As in Rabbi.  Well, Captain R,
A braver world will find out who you are.
Some day, some time, someone will not stay dumb:
Some day, some time, A change is gonna come.
All that we see or seem
Is not a dream within a dream.
The thousands who have lost
Freedom of passage in their native land
Are Palestinians.  At roadblocks Jews,
Fascist dictators,
Marshall the daylong miserable queues
Of those they've beggared.  Subjected
Objects.  Does this strike a chord?
Ah yes!  'Oy! Oy! What music to the ears!
Look at this gonif with a violin!
Who does he think he is - a mensch like us?
What do you say?
Make him play
For laughs?  Something real nice and sad.'
(Like the Hatikvah?  I wish he had.)
Of course we do our best to understand
How lads under this daily stress get bored
With tame humiliation.
If power turned their heads, even affected
Their wits and made them imitators
Of those music maestros of the Holocaust,
They don't bring shame upon the Jewish nation.
There are no limits to the degradation
Inflicted upon the stigmatised race.
Alive, it is a man playing a violin
Defiled in Nazi style.
(But still a pleasure to deface)
A man's head
Is mounted on a pole;
A cigarette alight and fresh
Invades the mouth's corroded flesh.
Thus the sons of Belial
In Israel
Can mock and thrust.
How satisfying to have found your role:
To smile and smile
(And be a villain)
And know your cause is just.
The dead head on the pole
(How many, Lord, how many?)
Has no voice, no identity.
The man who played
To jeers
Sad music on his violin,
Wissam Tayem,
Meant to be lost in non-entity,
Is known because a group of women
(Not just pacifists
But peace activists)
Have not forgotten how to be human
Among their brute bothers.
They shoot with cameras.  For them
The truth confronts the hideous doctrine
By which these Zion-Nazis stand betrayed -
"The Purity of Arms".  An ideology
A codicil to Mosaic theology,
Eleventh Commandment: There is no toll
To pay; nor is there any
Law above the Jew's right to kill others.
Eyes for an eye.
You'd think the Holocaust would bring
An empathy with suffering,
Instead the Jewish State
Impelled by racist hate
Propagates the lie
Of Arab evil and aggression.
And so they take possession
Of land and more land
Knowing that the world will understand.
What nation can afford the error
Of unbelief in Muslim Terror?
Who has the Nuclear Power?
Who has the might of arms,
The tyranny of money?
Let's change places
Between the warring races.
Make America Iraq
And Israel Palestine.
Under attack,
Living on the breadline,
What defines a terrorist
And who denies the right to resist?
How the feeblest strike alarms
The occupying force, when hour
By hour they bomb and devastate
The lives of thousands.  
                        Let them wait
And tremble.  Every time a David meets
Goliath there's a twist of fate,
Form in chaos that defeats
The primacy of force.
Of course
It may still be a dim and distant day
Beyond our vision.  But I hear the hum
Of mighty workings, and I say
A change is gonna come.

Felicity Currie

Copyright © 2005 Felicity Currie
Free use on the internet/web and small-scale not for profit publications. Please acknowledge author, Felicity Currie, and this web site, and notify the editor.
copyright in the poemson this pge and throughout this website is held by the authors.
Web site page. Copyright © 2005, 2008, 2010 David Roberts

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6 January 2009

Words, words

Gaza, 6 January, 2009
The Prime Minister said today
"This is a very dangerous moment.
I think everybody around the world 
is expressing grave concern,"
but what use are words?
On Saturday
after days of bombing and shelling
Israeli ground troops moved into Gaza.
Tanks, grenades, machine guns,
helicopter gunships,
bombs from the air
shelling from the sea.
More than 500 Palestinians killed
men, women and children.
Hospitals overwhelmed.
Five Israelis killed.
More than 700 Palestinians killed.
Hospitals are out of supplies.
People are out of food and water.
Nine Israelis have been killed.
The killing goes on.
For six decades
the killing has gone on.
The Israelis want peace.
The Palestinians want peace.
The Israelis are seeking an end
to violence.
Words, words.
What use are words?
The Israelis are only attacking
Have they ever considered
what creates a militant?
What is a “militant” ?
Maybe people who are fighting back?
To stop them fighting back
maybe you shouldn't attack.
The Israelis say
we are only attacking “militants”.
We are not attacking “civilians”.
Bombs are falling.
Tanks are shelling.
Helicopter gunships are strafing.
But they are not attacking “civilians”.
They are “discriminating”.
Oh yes they are.
Words, words.
They are “discriminating”.
Only attacking human beings,
a university,
a police station,
people leaving prayers outside a mosque,
a United Nations school.
Completely “accidentally”
bombs fall on houses.

Words, words.
What do words mean?
Who needs words?
Forget words.
We are not fooled by words.
There are too many words.
(what is a statesman?)
urge peace talks.
More words.
There have been peace talks for decades.
What use have they been?
Don't answer.
We don't need more words.
The Palestinians don't need words.
They need justice.
Words are camouflage.
If politicians
cannot say something meaningful
let them be quiet.
We would welcome the news:
Today no politician spoke.
Let's get to the nitty-gritty.

Who pays the Israelis?
Who supplies weapons to the Israelis?
Who trades with the Israelis?
Who could influence the Israelis?
Do we have moral leaders?
Do we have civilised leaders?
Do we have leaders
who understand the meaning
of their own words?
Do we have leaders who really
give a damn?
Could they stop the torture
of the Palestinian people?
Could they stop the persecution
of the Palestinian people?
Could they stop the robbery,
the imprisonment and murder
of the Palestinian people?
We are facing
avoidable human suffering.
The whole world knows
what is going on.
Should we speak out?
Bleat like lambs?
More words?
What can be done?
We can be sure
that leaders will speak out.
More words.
Words are falling on Gaza.
Words words.

David Roberts

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Mr Brown's comments and "over 700 killed" are from today's ITN website. Other estimates are lower at the moment. Over two and a half thousand have been injured.

Saturday 3rd January 2009

Over 430 killed by Israeli bombing and attacks on the defenceless, besieiged civilian population of Gaza. Over 2000 injured. Medical services overwhelmed. Civilian ministries and police targeted with the apparent purpose of destroying the capacity of the democratically elected Gaza administration to govern Gaza and cause the breakdown of society. Four Israelis killed.
Condemnation from around the world. Protest demonstrations around the world. National demonstration in London today. For information and suggested letters you might write see

Saturday 27th December 2008

Israel mounts an horrific atack on the mini state of Gaza which they have been beseiging and starving of resources since the spring of 2006. By today (Tuesday 30th December 2008) 350 Palestinians have been killed including many civilians. Over 1000 have been injured, many seriously. Tthe medical resources in this beseiged area have been overwhelmed. There are no more hospital beds and many essential medical supplies have run out. A mosque and a university have been attacked. Four Israelis have been killed.
For sixty years the Israelis have been determined to take Palestinian land by force and to crush all Palestinian opposition by violence. A spokesman on BBC yesterday spoke of  stopping Palestinian violence once and for all, the same message they started with. (Palestinian violence being sporadic and ineffective attempts to hit back at the agressors, their persecutors, the Israeli state.)

The following poem was received this morning, Tuesday 30 December 2008):


Sixty years now of a theft and terror plan,
Ordered by ministers sounding American.
Has it worked ? Does the violence cease ?
In Persia does a Jew enjoy more peace.

Babies born at checkpoint; rifles pointing.
Judicial murder God's new martyrs anointing,
A people starved of education and respect,
Does peaceful co-existence never beget.

The Janus face of diplomatic high sham ,
Says 'boo' again to the friend of Uncle Sam.
Who but Allah and Hamas will they thank,
As they stare into the barrel of a Zionist tank?

Richard Arnold

Monday, December 29, 2008  
Richard Arnold, copyright, 2008.

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War Crimes and other information from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Day 18 – Gaza Update from PSC
917 dead – 3056 injured

News from the Front Line

PSC has obtained detailed evidence of the war crimes being committed by the Israeli Defence force. The graphic details of the death and destruction of the lives of almost a thousand people in Gaza is utterly chilling and every supporter of the PSC should take the time to read the document that has been supplied to us by Al Mezan in Gaza.
To read the full report click on this link
The momentum for an official investigation into Israel’s war crimes is building. Senior UN officials have described the shelling of Palestinian homes in the Gaza as ‘Reckless and indiscriminate.’ They have also attacked the grotesque use of Gazan families as human shields by the IDF.
At a meeting of the UN’s most powerful human rights committee yesterday, they passed a motion describing Israel’s actions in Gaza as a ‘Massive violation of human rights.’
The UN, the International Red Cross and the highly respected independent NGO Human Rights Watch have accused the Israeli Government of committing the following atrocities over the last 17 days.
• Using powerful shells in civilian areas which the army knew would cause large numbers of innocent casualties;
• Using banned weapons such as phosphorus bombs;
• Holding Palestinian families as human shields;
• Attacking medical facilities, including the killing of 12 ambulance men in marked vehicles;
• Killing large numbers of police who had no military role.
PSC is supporting all those who are working towards bringing those who have committed war crimes in the military campaign in Gaza.
For more stories about Israel’s war crimes click on the following links




No Home and Now No Voice
The Israeli Election Court has just ruled that the two Arab political parties in Israel will not be allowed to put up candidates in the forthcoming General Election in Israel. The decision is in complete violation of the UNs Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
 Only one other regime has ever been as explicit in their decisions to disenfranchise voters on the basis of their race, and that was the appalling apartheid regime of South Africa. The only way the Israeli Government can avoid being held in the same contempt as the racist government of South Africa is to allow all its citizens the right to vote. 
You can find out more on the campaign for voting rights in Israel by clicking this link

Editor's comment -
Palestine - the name.
January 2010.

The territory now known as Israel was fromerly known as Palestine.

The area currently occupied by the Palestians might be (and in my opinion should be) known today as Palestine. The United Nations organisation is, I think, primarily responsible for the literal wiping of "Palestine" off the map.
When I was in the United Nations building in New York in September 2009,  I was shown a large map of Israel. It had labelled on it "West Bank" and "Gaza". I suggested to our guide that there were no countries bearing these names and that these were not parts of Israel.  I suggested that the proper name should be Palestine. He seemed surprised by the idea and said that these areas were "Palestinian occupied territories."

YYet in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly a seat can be seen for each member state and one is allocated to "Palestine" (not as a full member, but as an "observer"). My photo.

Where did the name Palestine go?/span>
From 1918 Palestine was under British control. In 1947 the United Nations made suggestions for the sharing of the area then known as Palestine between Jews and Arab citizens of that country. In 1948 a minority of the inhabitants, Israelis (Jews), declared the foundation of a new state called Israel, and took over control of much of what was previously known as Palestine. In the war that followed Israelis gained control of 78 per cent of the land area, leaving the remaining 22 per cent to the Palestinians who comprised two thirds of the population of what was Palestine. Three quarters of a million Palestinians were driven out of their homes. many villages were erased. The refugees fled to the 22 percent of territory that remained to the Palestinians.

In 1967 the Israelis seized more territory and subsequently continued to seize Palestinian land, demolish Palestinian homes, take control of water resources, build highways on Palestinian lands bypassing Palestinian settlements and building a huge wall/barrier which has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.The Israelis do not recognise the Palestinians as a people with rights to their ancient homeland, Palestine. The BBC and Western media in general, follow the Israeli line. The United Nations, as we have seen above are ambiguous on this topic, though there have been countless resolutions of the UN General Assembly condemning the actions of Israel against the Palestinian people coupled with demands to respect the 1967 ceasefire line.

International Court of Justice ruling on the Israeli wall in Israel/Palestine
"In a 2004 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice declared that "Israel cannot rely on a right of self‑defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall. Construction of the barrier is contrary to international law."  - Wikipedia. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_West_Bank_barrier

David Roberts, Editor, the War Poetry website.
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