Thursday, May 17, 2012

Poem for Palestine

Gazan War Child

I'm a Palestinian child. I live in Gaza
But that is not really my full definition
It doesn’t say much
So let me start again and explain my dilemma

I am a Palestinian war child living in occupied Gaza
Yes, much better. But it's still missing some detail

I am a paralyzed Palestinian war child living in occupied, besieged Gaza
That doesn’t cover a simple part of the matter!

I am a paralyzed, disfigured, Palestinian war child living in occupied, besieged, oppressed Gaza
Oh Dear, my vocabulary has become too weak. I haven't been to school ever since it happened.
If I only had a dictionary, I see all the other kids carrying one.

They say it has all the words you can think of! At least that's what my neighbor told me
You probably know my neighbor. He's the clean, dressy, smart kid every mother would fall in love with.
He passes by me every morning with a friendly grin on his face
He Lent me his dictionary once to look into
Oh, was i impressed by the number of words in that thick book.
I got so excited flipping page after the other

He looked down on me with both compassion and surprise
He asked, "Haven't you ever seen a dictionary before?"
My face reddened with shame and replied in a soft voice "No, I haven't"
He smiled at me with that sweet pleasant face I was used to seeing every morning
Then he added "Would you like to keep it?"
My eyes widened, and my face glowed with delight

"I'd Love to! Can you help me look for the word (Palestinian) in it?"
I could tell from his features that he was shocked by my request
He answered, "Waseem, I don't believe they have that word in the dictionary."
Now it was my turn for shock to take over my features
"But... But … You mean there is no (Palestinian) in there"?

Somehow, my impression towards that book I had gone through savagely a while ago turned into disgust.
I threw it away. I couldn't bear the level of denial directed to me from a silly book.
Between the folds of that massive book, I couldn't find the word that describes me the best
Therefore, I will use my own words to tell my tragic story:

I am a Palestinian war child
In case you don’t know what Palestinian means
It means when they write about us in newspapers
All you do is toss them in your trash piled

It's when every kid in the world has his protected rights
While you are left out neglected on the sidelines, unrecognized
It's when children like me get cruelly killed
And the world still can't tell whether we're terrorists or terrorized

I am a Palestinian war child, and I live in Gaza
Do you know what "Gaza" means?
It means a place where heroes like me come from
It means kids like me becoming grown-ups by the age of seven,
Becoming men by ten, and warriors by eleven

I am a Gazan War Child
Are you aware of the word "CHILD"
I look at other children in different parts of the world
They hold crayons and coloring books while I hold a sword
They'd be learning to count on these colorful counters
While I am playing with my own life counter

I am a Gazan war child
Do you know the meaning of war?
It means the loss of family members, the loss of friends
It means amputating one of your limbs or both, it depends
It means deformation by raining acid and phosphorus bombs
It means watching people getting butchered in the middle of the pogrom
It means torn down houses, mosques and schools
It means having to surrender to the Jungle rules
It means me seeing the world in black and white
Like history repeating itself in front of my eyes

I am a Palestinian war child
This is my story
And this is my only dictionary

-Caitlin Alq

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