#Palestine Wishes You a Happy New Year

Tomorrow is the 1st of January 2013. A new year, a new beginning and a new everything or so it may seem. I still remember how we celebrated the beginning of 2009. I remember fireworks, I remember candles, I remember screams, I remember children scattered in the streets. I remember seeing parents’ faces with stains on their faces, ketchup stains, and children with iron bars in their heads. It wasn’t Halloween nor were these things what they seemed. We were under the attack of the Israeli military forces, operation Cast lead as they called it. It started few days before the beginning of the year and kept on going until the middle of January. We all thought that we will die and that there won’t be a new year for us. New, what does this word even mean? We have been occupied ever since… it’s been so long that I can’t remember when exactly. Fireworks were bombs, candles because we didn’t have electricity, screams because children were afraid, scattered because they were parts and not whole. The stains of ketchup were stains of blood and the iron bars were not customs, they were real. New, yes, new. A new year will start, a new beginning, but our years still haven’t ended. We have been in the same year ever since they have intruded and stolen our lands. Although the dates and figures keep changing, that year seems to be endless. Every day, they kill more, steal more, imprison more and the days seem endless, as well. In 2009, people were still traumatized and puzzled. No one was able to understand or cope with what had happened. 1,417 were killed; most of them were civilians, children. In that war, everyone lost someone, family, friends, or neighbors. If we survived the war physically – a lot of people lost arms, legs and sight- we surely didn’t survive it psychologically. After the war ended, we had to go back to our normal life again: a few bombs every now and then, a few martyrs every now and then, and a few destroyed houses every now and then. What a normal life, right? For the next few years, people were trying to put their agony aside and try to live. It wasn’t easy for anyone. How can mothers let go the memory of those whom they have carried in their wombs for 9 months? How can children live without their parents? How can a man live without feet? Yet, as my teacher, also a poet, says,

We dream and pray,

Clinging to life even harder

Every time a dear one’s life

Is forcibly rooted up.

We live.

 We live.

We do.” 

Refaat Alareer  http://thisisgaza.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/and-we-live-on/

 

In 2012, Israel wanted to end it with another war, another operation. On the 14th of November, artificial earthquakes would be felt every couple of minutes. Artificial thunder would be heard. We could feel the floor shake and beds move; we could see houses on fire. We were able to sense new weapons, after all these days of bombings – and I say days because our year still hasn’t ended- we became really good at knowing what weapons are being used. People, this time, were able to control their feelings. They were scared, but because of the continuous killing and destruction they have went through, it wasn’t something ‘new’ or abrupt. In this war, Gaza fought back and hit Tel Aviv; we won this round. Tomorrow, how will tomorrow be like? Will 2013 be surprising enough that we won’t go through another war? Operation? The electricity always on? Newly born children will still have their parents with them? 2013, why should we celebrate your beginning? Why should we embrace your coming? Will you be different? I do, however, wish a year to happen, another year other than the one we are still living. I wish you all, out there with new years not just different figures, a year better than the previous and worse than the coming.

 

The Cute Guy in the Jeep

(Future & Change)

I don’t usually go home on foot. I either take a cab – private cabs – or my mother drives me home. Today, I felt like going home on foot. I wish I hadn’t, though. On the way, I couldn’t but look into everyone’s eyes and listen to everyone’s conversations – not on purpose, of course. I heard a couple quarreling in a car; I couldn’t hear what they were saying because the windows were closed, but their voices were loud enough for me to hear their tones. I passed by two people talking about money and the financial problems they are facing. I also passed by an old man who barely could walk. I saw two high school students discussing what they had in class. I saw kids fooling around and jumping. I saw buildings around my old schools block that weren’t there before. I saw my schools’ buildings with new painting. I couldn’t recognize the street. I couldn’t recognize the new stores built there. The iron bars that protect the children, the iron bars we used to sit on waiting for the bus, the iron bars that used to be our playground and our scariest adventures were right before me; however, how can a 19 year old girl dare to sit on one of them now? I used to do that while waiting for the bus. Who will I wait for now? I couldn’t help but touch every single bar. With each bar, there was a memory: an old touch. My finger prints all over the walls, the painted walls, were today renewed. I had a flashback and a ‘flashforward’. I saw myself in the little kids who were freely jumping and singing and dancing. I saw myself in the high school students, but I was never that kind of girls who would talk about school work- I was a loser. I saw myself in the couple who were quarreling and wondered if I will ever go through such thing. I saw myself in the two men who were discussing the financial problem and wondered if I will ever worry about that, too. I saw myself in the old man and then I couldn’t breathe. I felt too old already. I saw, then, the old man in his blue bus who used to drive us to school. This man has driven a lot of generations from home to school and vice-versa. He grew old watching everyone achieving their dreams, becoming engineers, doctors, teachers and other things, not realizing that he helped make that come true. Suddenly, a jeep pulled over next to me. It woke me up and pinched me from the dream. I saw a lady, an old one. I know her! That’s the mother of the kid that everyone hated, the kid that all the boys made fun of saying he was a real loser, the kid that the teachers knew will grow old to be a janitor or a beggar. I knew her because I saw her a lot at school when we were kids. The headmaster would always call for her to rebuke her and her son, her only son as I have heard once. He was there in front of me helping his mother to get out of that jeep; the kid that used to be invisible has grown, the kid that used to be futureless now has a future, a bright one obviously, the kid with torn clothes has, now, ‘changed’ to become ‘the cute guy in the jeep’.

#fiction

Before Autumn, We Will Return\ The Land of the Sad Orange

I am not a refugee,

But I wish I were.

For we are all in this together;

One hand; one power.

For the love of the country,

And in the name of the land,

I wrote this poem because we shall go back.

And each to where they belong

Each, again, shall return.

The Land of The Sad Orange by Ghassan Kanafani inspired me to write this poem:

 

 

 

We left on a windy night

Bombs, yet, were shining bright.

We were either almost hit,

We were almost blinded.

Mothers holding their babies and others’ real tight;

Men were motionless; Barely against the wind would fight.

The waves, the tears of the sky, the roughness,

The gesture.

Everything was falling:

The houses,

The children,

The wives,

The oranges.

We had to keep on walking;

We had to keep on moving;

We had to say farewell.

We thought, we thought…

I recall:

“We will come back, son!

Before the leaves fall,

We will come back.”

The whispers of my old man;

Mine, again, to my son.

The leaves fell,

The trees cut,

The house destroyed.

Ache in my stomach,

Ache in my heart,

Ache in every single bone,

Ache with every single breath,

Ache until I can speak no more.

Ache until I can think no more.

Ache until I lose control.

Ache until

I

F

A

L

L

I look at the house,

I look at the playground,

I look at the memories,

And I can’t wave goodbye!

My hands glued to the ground;

Ache brings me down.

I am pulled by one of the mothers;

I am thrown to one of the buses;

I am called;

I hear my mother’s trembling voice.

“I am here, I am not lost”

The wind covers my whispering of ache screams.

We ride; we ride on.

The house fades,

The memories are stolen,

I am kept with nothing but my mother’s mourn.

“We left to return.”

I kept saying “we left to return.”

We left, but, now, where is home?

We left and the families most of them are lost;

We left knowing one day we will melt the frost,

Build a new playground.

We are, here, remembering home:

The stolen memories of a grandfather retrieved,

The mothers’ tears dried,

The only thing left,

For us now,

Is to go home

And rest;

Go home and clean the dust;

Go home and plant a tree;

Go home and collect the leaves.

The Matchless Treasure

Away from sadness, away from the wars and blood, away for a while, away but not too far I wrote this poem so that the spirit would cheer a bit and so burdens are softened for a while.

Love is the song we never get tired of,

The melody that keeps us awake all night crooning,

The shadows of the past that keep us dreaming,

The thrilling idea of immortality,

It is the sweet honey we need every day,

The sip of the beauty of life,

It’s the sick rose that we find a cure for.

It is not consistent with what we want,

But with what is meant.

Love happens when all doors and windows are locked;

It happens when we no longer have air;

It is the ticking

That reminds us of everything syrupy,

Of everything dying.

It is hidden in the heart,

But never gets rusty.

It gets older;

It gets stronger;

It becomes fearless,

Stands against the walls,

Against the misfortune of each.

It tastes brand new

Every time it’s tried.

It sticks with you until you breathe no more;

Then it happens all over again:

Everything locked; no air.

It is not the crimson of rainbow

Nor is it the crystal nor the diamond nor the gold.

It is more precious;

It glows when it’s gloomy;

It smoothes when burdened;

It is the purist of everything;

The purifier of all senses.

It tickles the heart;

It tickles the soul;

It tickles the dream and turns it on.

It waits not for you to react;

It waits not for you to respond;

It takes your breath and gives you life.

It shows not mercy;

It shows not defeat;

It lasts

And lasts

And lasts

Until it takes life out of you

And ‘gifts’ you Eternity.