Still In Gaza….

February 3, 2009

As the coverage of Gaza has eerily disappeared from the US news, thus from the minds and consciences of most Americans, here is an article from Al-Jazeera English: 


The line here by Tzipi Livni, using a metaphor to describe the prospects for peace, is an absurd depiction of the political situation. 

“The dove is on the window sill,” Livni said.

“We can either slam the door or let it in. The choice is in your hands.”

This tactic, of blaming the Palestinians for the entire war in Gaza and for frustrating the peace process that the unscathed, politically unified and ideologically smug Israeli war machine apparently still believes in, is revolting. Never mind the fact that she referred to the window and then spoke of the door. It was already apparent that this dove that she speaks of is only an attempt to placate the international community into more lockstep compliance with Israel’s long-term agenda, to wipe out the Palestinian people and lay claim to an empty land, thus fulfilling the prophecies of Zionism. 

As the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe passes 60,000,
here a poem by the Iraqi poet Nazik Al- Mala’ika, written after the cholera epidemic which swept through Baghdad in 1947. It’s a long poem so I’ve excerpted it here. If you would like the entire text, email me and I will send it to you. As with all Arabic literature, good and sensitive translations are hard to find, especially on the Internet. 
It reminded me of Gaza, and of the silence that the global outcry over the humanitarian situation has given way to. This happens with all crises. Now, it is up to small groups of committed citizens to carry on the search for truth in a world of irresponsible media, justice in terms of international law and the rebuilding of homes and institutions so that some semblance of human life can return to Gaza. 

It is night.
Listen to the echoing wails
rising above the silence in the dark
the agonized, overflowing grief
clashing with the wails.
In every heart there is fire,
in every silent hut, sorrow,
and everywhere, a soul crying in the dark.
It is dawn.
Listen to the footsteps of the passerby,
in the silence of the dawn.
Listen, look at the mourning processions,
ten, twenty, no… countless.
Everywhere lies a corpse, mourned
without a eulogy or a moment of silence.
Humanity protests against the crimes of death.
Cholera is the vengeance of death.
Even the gravedigger has succumbed,
the muezzin is dead,
and who will eulogize the dead?
O Egypt, my heart is torn by the ravages of death.
Translated by Husain Haddawy, with Nathalie Handal
pg. 177 The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology. Ed. Nathalie Handal. Interlink Books: New York, 2001.