Poetry

Solidarity   تضامن

We are with you in GazaIMG_0581

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 money

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 wall

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 branches

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’ nightmares

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 years

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 Gaza

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,

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

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 candles

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 dead

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 kill

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…

Solidarity

Is not something you discuss over dinner

It is not a hypothetical position to be

Defended on theoretical chessboards

It is not an artful argument

It does more than merely ‘strike a chord’

Solidarity

Is not the sum of its facebook likes

It is not painting your face for the day

We Were All Palestinians

Then pressing play on real life

And pause on the siege

Till the next time Gaza bleeds

Solidarity

Lives in blood and bone

It’s the calling of another land your home

Just because it’s here on planet earth

The calling of another’s brother kin

Just because he’s here on planet earth

And we have some power and freedom here

For what it’s worth

And if there be such a thing

This killing is a sin

And so is silence

Solidarity

Is a reflex that can’t be curbed by convenience

Feet that march till the tanks stop

Voices chanting till the lies stop

Eyes still open till the killings stop

A full, heavy silence for the naming of the dead

Then no justice, no peace –

Hands off the Middle East!

For Ali Saad Dawabsheh

VoiceIMG_0540

The movement moves

Quickly

There’s a patchwork of placards

And a river of marchers

Flowing by the Thames

And the endless succession

Of classrooms and basements and bars

Where we devised the making of a new world

‘Stronger together, shoulder to shoulder’

Impeccable logic

But sooner or later

You also have to stand alone

And suddenly everything’s slow

Heart thunders in my ears

Utterly legless but pulled up by my

Grandmother’s hands and jostled

By the ghosts of my class to SPEAK!

To say something, point somewhere,

Anywhere but backwards

In the face of all this savagery

The manifestation of all they warned

Capital would be

And already seeping into the bones

Of the Next Generation

Hate to say it because, you know,

“Pessimism of the intellect optimism of the will”

But it probably isn’t never too late

For the Beast to be killed

So we sort of need to move on this…

And it’s not like I had nothing to say

(How can anyone who’s seen any of this

Have nothing to say?)

So I stood

And my Nanna’s invisible shoulder

Kept me upright

“We’ve had enough of the bombing

And the lying and the thieving

And of living in a world where

Nothing is held sacred

Nothing is free

From the mechanised grip

Of the Company

Of the politics of hate

And the economy of madness

That consumes all matter

And tosses it like so many

Dead bodies on the

Altar of Infinite Growth

The Priests of Progress

Gather around their acronyms

And their projections

(Which never go down)

And perform voodoo

Against the body politic

Feeding the market on human flesh

Chanting constantly

About the End of History.

We’ve had enough of that too

What an insult!

This, the end of the line?

This violent, garish,

Poisonous mess,

This all-encompassing apartheid

Of all people from all people

And the planet

And from knowledge?

This carnival of spiteful caricatures

That calls itself a ‘discourse’

Little more than a

Chorus of slogans masquerading as

Free expression?

Enough of that too

Don’t talk to us about freedom

From the Penthouse Suite on the 43rd floor

You, who climbed up there

On the backs of blacks

And the dreams of great women

And the fingers of the factory kids

And kicked away the ladder

Now you’re going to talk about

‘Natural inequality’?

Ten thousand years of darkness dispelled

By… ‘equal opportunity’?

And opportunity to what?

Climb over each other to kiss the ring?

Trade ipods for the right to sing?

Drop democracy for the right to vote?

Settle for this

And surrender hope?

The prince of Wall Street

His Priests of Progress assure us

History is ended and we have no choice

But not

While we still have a voice.

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