With You In Gaza

We are with you in GazaIMG_0260

Where UN resolutions are good for nothing

But stitching into tents for your refugees

Where schools and museums and family homes

Are legitimate targets

Because this is a war on history

A war on all memory

Of Palestine.

We are with you in Gaza

Where the free world spends more moneyIMG_0589

On weapons aimed at you than it spends feeding Africa

Where waterless, powerless streets

Are crammed with ghosts

And throng with the spirits of millions

Of Palestinians living now in exile

But whose hearts are with you in Gaza.

We are with you in Gaza

Where the West’s unblinking eyes

Still see no apartheid beyond the wall15472940762_7832bec7a2_k

That 430 mile concrete wall

Segregating rights-bearing citizens from the unpeople

Never mind Mandela, that canonised freedom fighter

Who said the war on apartheid was still on

Until freedom for Palestine too was won.

We are with you in Gaza

Where your family grew as old as the olive grove

Until the tanks came, and the branchesIMG_0882

Were crushed as quick as human bone

As the UN, which once owned

And gave away half of Palestine

Now inquires and condemns

And draws green lines.

We are with you in Gaza

Where your babies are born at checkpoints

And called terrorists before their mothers name them

Where they inherit their grandparents’ nightmaresIMG_1669

And the monsters they draw are real

And have no trouble sleeping

Safe in the knowledge that they fight for democracy

(A democracy which ignores elections, draws borders round its majority

And beats its own citizens for protesting Zionist brutality).

We are with you in Gaza

Where you see this man here,

He talked liberation for sixty years15450211216_79e80d1f35_k

Put flesh between hope and bullets for sixty years

Held his dignity like a shield but died in poverty

Without justice or autonomy

Leaving children who dream only

Of a brother returned from the cells

The silent, unaccountable cells that

Read no rights and appoint no lawyers

And need no jury to sanction suffering.

We are with you in Gaza15286578890_f9dbee080a_k

Where Western weapons roar

While Western leaders her no evil

Speak no evil – speak only of a peace process

Which mocks the term

What peace without justice?

What process between Gaza and Goliath?

Double speak, double speak,15286677487_5c6a19a26a_k

Is ‘peace process’ just UN speak for ‘well-mannered genocide’?

We are with you in Gaza

Unlike the liberal media

Where a hundred years of oppression

Is redacted and sound bitten

We are shamed by our anger

And angered by our shame – explain?

Ashamed to rage at Goliath when his banker lives in Westminster

Anger at the atrocities bankrolled in our name.IMG_0895

We are with you in Gaza

Where a monsoon of shells flood

The alleys of Al Shujaya with civilian blood

Where the children are coming home legless

Or headless, were helpless

As you feel now, curled up like a child

As the grief pours in,

As we feel now, beyond the sea,

Standing with our candles15286642488_710784d69b_k

As we cry

We will not let Gaza die!

(Not that Gaza is waiting on us to fight

For her survival)

But we are with you in Gaza

We have been every day

Since 1948

Gaza, we are marching

Gaza, we are chanting

Gaza, we are divesting

They said the old would die and the young would forget

But we still read the names of your dead15286361499_e97d09c78b_k

Nidal aged five

Mohammed, fifteen

Riad, fifty

Hussein, thirteen

Salah, six

Ali, only yesterday, only eighteen months.

And what of the killers, of the IDF?

They traumatise and maim and kill15473213335_659acc18d8_k

But they regret

Almost with the vigour they forget

Civilian death

Oh, but the moment every Palestinian’s gone

Or bends the knee

Then, they say, there can be peace!

How simple

How civilised things might be…

***

All photography my own

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