Minds at War
anthology of poetry of the First World War. All the greatest war poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and war poems of over 70 other notable poets. All set in the context of the poets' lives and historical records. With historic photographs and cartoons. Edited by David Roberts.
400 pages £15-99 (UK)
|See also the Palestine Page||and the Israeli Page|
Poems on this page
|A New Birth of Freedom||
A poem at Christmas 2014, by Felicity Currie
Impulses of Deeper Birth*
A poem at Christmas 2012.
The 2012 Seven-Day Israel-Palestine War ended on 21
||Poems by Michael Brownstein (2012) about the 1948
establishment of the Israeli state and the Israeli attacks on
||Several poems about the 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza.
They are not listed here. Readers will need to scroll down to read them.
I appreciate that this web page needs more work but I currently don't have the time to complete it. DR.
||Includes poems by Felicity Currie.
Bethlehem, December 2014
Showing the Separation Wall built by the Israelis cutting off Jerusalem from Bethlehem and Palestine as a whole.
This photograph was supplied by the British based Palestinian support organisation, Medical Aid for Palestinians. Link to MAP
A New Birth of Freedom*
* A reference to the Gettysburg address
by Abraham Lincoln when he dedicated a new cemetery to the
remembrance of soldiers who had died in the American Civil War.
Of being, human being, everywhere?
My life is your life, let me feel with you
Each thrust of torture and its mortal twist
Beyond, to loss and nothing. Let me be
A means of telling truth. It does exist:
Calling for meaning, change and outcome too.
Knowing what I know, I am you - not me.
Can my being here, so far from your despair,
Have any chance of making this world care -
Reshape the attitude of all who keep
Injustice in their palaces of sleep?
Shall I say yes and let this day of sun
Transform dark into light for everyone?
Sonnet composed by Felicity Currie, 2014, and dedicated to the Palestinians.
* A reference to the Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln when he dedicated a new cemetery to the remembrance of soldiers who had died in the American Civil War.The last lines of this read:
"We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - U S President, Abraham Lincoln, November 19th , 1863.
Impulses of Deeper Birth*
Where can the persecuted find a berth,
A stable land that can be called a home?
No company of shepherds or of cattle,
Just bombs and drones that give birth to death’s rattle.
Grave beckons whether you lie still or roam―
You might as well be born under the earth.
Whether we choose to celebrate or mourn
No meaning lives unless Life is reborn.
A Life that rescues the lost birth of good,
Gives truth and justice hope and strength to be
And recreates a world of could and would:
The will that conquers power and will bring
A birth that lasts and changes everything―
A birth not of the self, but empathy.
*Title from Wordsworth’s “A Poet’s Epitaph”.
Two poems by Michael Brownstein (2012) about the 1948 establishment of the Israeli state and the Israeli attacks on Palestinians
MY PERIOD OF DESPERATION (DEGRADATION)
I thought we were better than this,
the Holocaust wet paint over fresh plaster,
the bloody fluids cleansed, debris and bone raked away.
Then I read a passage in Carolyn Forche’s book,
Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, and everything I knew,
believed I knew, believed in, believed about me,
my people’s history, scattered like the flight of pigeons before a hawk.
You try to ignore it, but a scab does not form nor a scar,
just an everyday breaking of flesh, a reopening of wounds.
There are not enough stitches in the world to keep all of it intact—
so you give in (I gave in) and the pursuit to truth begins:
I am human first, Judaism my religion—
not my ethnicity, my skin color, my nationality.
I never saw myself a Zionist, but I was proud of Israel,
her history my history, a piece of my identity,
a rendering of facts, the rule of Torah.
You sleep and when you wake, there is power to a myth.
To the victor goes the writing of history,
the rewriting, even a creation of fiction.
1948: The famous Israeli War of Independence
and truths associated with it covered up.
What did happen to the Palestinian people?
The indigenous people? How did their villages vanish?
Were they destroyed in fire and bomb or simply
stolen from them and made a gift to someone else?
There are always “ifs” in a rendering of history
and many sides to the same tale, even the same fiction.
The atrocities of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict—
The Nakba—have been documented, photographed,
displayed and archived—and still
the great myth of Israel’s beginnings persist--
A POEM TO AHARON ZISLING
It has been said that there were cases of rape in Ramile. I could forgive acts of rape, but I won’t forgive other deeds, which appear to me to be much graver. When a town is entered and rings are forcibly removed from fingers and jewelry from necks—this is a much graver matter. —Aharon Zisling, Agricultural Minister to the Israeli Cabinet, July 21, 1948
begin with, utensils and furniture, and in the end, bodies of men, women
What is worse, Aharon Zisling,
the looting of a town or a forced march into dust,
the heat and the weight of what is owned
a double burden, and then the third,
grandfather down, grandmother unable to continue,
the substance of child so heavy
the sand, the birds, all of the maggots
home? What can you do, Aharon Zisling,
you who rant against Pogroms,
you who believe the Exile of Israel,
you who spoke against criminal and thief?
I thought we better than this,
Aharon Zisling, not even enough saliva left
to bathe the stone in the mouth of those too weak
to go on. The heat, lack of shade, scream of guns.
I thought we better than this, Aharon Zisling.
This one here, she is fourteen,
her legs not strong to go on,
and this one, almost ninety,
no one strong enough to carry either one,
Aharon Zisling, you who condone rape,
you who condone murder,
you who condone the breaking of the tablets.
Righteous khakis lining one side
repressed ragheads line the other,
both sides playing ping-pong tit for tat
over Ben and Al´s´ dividing wailing
wall put up to keep fanatics in and out.
Some mums are shouting insults,
lies or bits of rumour turned to truth,
while young men lob their protest rocks,
return back rocket fire as once again the
fork-tongued Yanks side with their favoured
allies, explode all hopes for peace in Middle East.
Sharp-suited envoys ever mindful of backers´
vested interests fire their words like snipers pick
off targets, grin falsely while they mediate, inflame
long-standing hate, aid sales of West-made arms.
Robed holy men fan fires of diatribe,
distort what´s right, blind partisans
to passed down Golden Rule and Aesop´s
fabled words of greed, deaf to hard fact it´s stingy
to not hand back lands unjustly colonised or grabbed.
They´ll never resolve conflicts without a “sorry”
or respect, stop genocide, unblock partitioned
neighbour who´ve every right to take up vacant
UN seat, accept that Palestine´s a rightful State.
David Leslie Urion
Carroll finds that most of his time is taken up by academic health
research and only occasionally does he find time to write a poem.
He explains that " early last January, I was was so incensed by the wanton slaughter in Gaza that I sat down to write this poem". (Poem added to the website January 2010.)
In memory of the slaughter of the innocents, Gaza, Dec. 28, 2008
* Jeremiad - a long, mournful lament
At the weekend the BBC blocked a joint appeal from 13 highly respected aid agencies for humanitarian aid for the citizens of Gaza.
complaints contact information.
PHONE: 03700 100 222, TEXT: 03700 100 212 ONLINE: http://www.bbc. co.uk/complaints /
26 January 2009
It is estimated that about 50,000 people were made homeless by the Israeli shelling of Gaza. Israel continues its total control of the flow of all food and other supplies into Gaza through the six entry/exit points. On the 6pm news today on BBC Radio 4 at 6pm it was stated that Israel was refusing to allow construction materials to enter Gaza.
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
One of the charities working in Gaza is UK's Christian Aid. See http://www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/
you are hungry. you are in crisis.
you are surfing. you are eating baklava.
you are oppressed.
i know this because i saw you rap about it in a white banquet hall.
you posted it on the world wide web of lies.
you have no food. but so many cameras!
where is gilad?
is he underground?
does he eat baklava?
probably not. he is so skinny.
i know this because i saw his belt wrapped around his wasted waist twice. in a white banquet hall.
rape in the congo.
burnt wombs tossed in the river.
a chunk of soap in her cracked hands.
a drop of chocolate on her lips.
she is shocked.
but gaza! but gaza!
it is always gaza!
6 January 2009
after days of bombing and shelling
Israeli ground troops moved into Gaza.
Tanks, grenades, machine guns,
bombs from the air
shelling from the sea.
More than 500 Palestinians killed
men, women and children.
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
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.
They are “discriminating”.
Only attacking human beings,
a police station,
people leaving prayers outside a mosque,
a United Nations school.
bombs fall on houses.
What do words mean?
Who needs words?
We are not fooled by words.
There are too many words.
(what is a statesman?)
urge peace talks.
There have been peace talks for
What use have they been?
We don't need more words.
The Palestinians don't need words.
They need justice.
Words are camouflage.
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?
What can be done?
We can be sure
that leaders will speak out.
Words are falling on Gaza.
To top of page
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.
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):
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
Would so soon become the torturers
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 and complex 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.
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
So that arms become alms and the poor
Run the City…
Merci! Give me my money's worth. My pound
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
It's not as if a hellish void
Had to be harrowed for a reborn
The fifth Beatitude unheard
From utterance, unmade
Unless mercy vouched it valid.
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…
There's something in these words that makes us yearn
To find a time, a culture and a home
That honour them in practice.
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;
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
blood of murder: mercy bought and sold.
If there is gentle rain, it falls upon
Contaminated ground: deaf ears and hearts
Of stone - yes!
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".
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.
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,
So merciful he wept to put his name
To the death warrant of two thieves.
"Would I had never learnt to write",
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.
Would ever have the chutzpah to bequeath
Another's land for pillage?
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.
Give peace a chance. We've tried atrocity.
Vengeance, atrocity, savagery, madness.
For a world where rulers do not
Mercy is our word, our moneyed heir
To Seneca's clementia.
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
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
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 -
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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
Would so soon become the torturers
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 -
"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,
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
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
Sad music on his violin,
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.
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.
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.
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 page and throughout this website is held by the authors.
Web site page. Copyright © 2005, 2008, 2009 David Roberts
We see for fourteen you kill nine hundred, are yours worth so much more
Then all the weeping of Palestine, who cannot fight an equal war
So this is your new holocaust, although you call it something else
You split Gaza into three, herding the old and weak like cattle
Surely you remember this; you have been here before, not so long ago, I fear
Pity the nation who thinks its self right; pity its people who forget how they died
©Marguerite Rami, 2009
They are killing hundreds of people without batting an eye
While the rest of the world stands idly by
In Gaza they’re mourning a child blown up in their bed
Whilst by others, it seems, barely a tear is shed
Where else in the world could this injustice be done
To people who are trapped with nowhere to run
It’s no longer a case of who’s right or who’s wrong
But a case of the weak being attacked by the strong
So with naked aggression the bombs keep falling
Killing babies and children. It’s just appalling
Why do these innocent lives need to be lost
It seems that the objective is not worth the cost.
There must be a way to stop this massacre now.
We can’t wait for world leaders to figure out how
The UN has no power, so it would seem
If they had then surely they would intervene
The power in this world is held by a select few
And they will never listen to me or you.
They have their own agendas, disregarding the law
And justify murder by dressing it up as a war
So, how many more people are going to die in vain
And how long can these parents bear the pain
Of losing the lights of their lives in this way?
I fear that there will be a very high price to pay.
© Stella Mortazavi
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
After an 18 month blockade of Gaza and three weeks of heavy shelling the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now completely overwhelming.
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