For Gaza and Jewish Voice for Peace

Check points
like the iron fences
that cattle are forced along

Journeys continuously
sweet journies
no longer sweet
that proceeded naturally
broken down
by check point after check point

by soldiers
who’ve lost the meaning
of what they do
what are they checking for
(that we are human too?)

The soldiers are frightened of us
padded out in their flak jackets
binoculars and weapons

The soldiers are children
nineteen year olds with guns
who are frightened of shadows
even the sheep and goats
are terrorists in disguise.

And they are even capable of this
they will infiltrate demonstrations
become stone throwers themselves
~ retaliation guaranteed.

The soldiers are unseen
they’re watching but we can’t see them
they call out your name in Hebrew,
though you’re Arabic

(Sometimes your finger prints don’t fit
your hands are too hot
you’ve cut a finger
you’re turned away
a days’ work lost, you’ve lost the day)

The days are made of small humiliations
you’re never allowed to forget that you’re not wanted
that even the last remaining pieces of land
no longer belong to you or your families

these slivers of land
where olive trees once grew

now there are iron fences
and gravelled sand
an ugliness
that eats into your eyes

here is a little farm
small family owned
just about makes a living

but the easy trading path
has been blocked by huge, unmovable stones
oppression occupation
makes all lifes little tasks
more difficult

This is a field of stumps
this is where a cold and dust filled wind
roars over a field
of crosses,
looks like a cemetary
these are the graveyards
of our olive groves
Here is a little pile of shoes
needed, still useful , well worn
do theses shoes remind you of something?

Here are some bright eyed children
returning from school
to a pile of rubble

This is what we have now
some corrugated iron sheds
that provide a minimum of shade
behind us these artificial hills
are the rubble of what once were homes

behind those hills
is a shining sea
we cannot reach

This rubble
collapsing in the harsh sun
is all that remains of a Bedouin home

This is our library
this perfect large round hole
created by
target practise.

No fuel, no apparatus,
the sewage plant fails,
here the air is full of the smell
of shit

the fish are poisoned

our fishermen venture further out to seas
more target practise
they’re seen as a security risk

often shot summarily

the sewage is moving out
slowly the pristine blue and green
is muddied

soon the smell will defile the occupiers nostrils
it can’t be stopped by a wall
soon it will wake you up as well

your daughters ill
your mother needs hospital treatment

no problem

just tell us what’s going on
in your town,
who the young men are
who we might call subversive
any one who’s not resigned to dumb suffering

we are besieged

Bethlehem marooned,
the mosques cut off; young
men apprehended for days,
for months; never charged.

(Our cities, our towns were once so beautiful)

Children are scared
old people humiliated
some people retreat into their minds
the constant harrassment drives them there

visitors are told they shouldn’t be here

(we are suffocating)

A wall has been built over and around our land

(What is it you don’t want to see?)

a wall has been built upon our dreams

(so they don’t have to see us, being driven into the sea)

This is the wall of divisiveness
the wall that seeks to make us less than human
that squats upon our souls
that hides us from you

Our children
draw weapons, tanks and refugees,

(our children are barely allowed to breathe)

Our nights are infested with nightmares,
the constant drumming,
the helicopters ~ dread mashines.

(Our dreams have been invaded)

Careless snipers
hidden in the high towers
despise our vulnerability.

(Where is our dignity?)

our futures are pressed upon

Suffering sewn into every moment

and yet our bruised hearts
can still sing, can still laugh,
can hold our children to us.

(How can we find a way to your hearts
when will you take down the wall in your eyes?)

(the wall is 12 metres high
it runs through the middle of towns
checkpoint towers are armed with binocolours and guns
during the recent assault

the agricultural college was bombed
the port was bombed
the university was bombed
Hq of the Palestinian teachers association bombed
Media centre bombed

here are the buildings the Europeans
and Saudies built

no tin, no bricks,
no wood in Gaza,
nothing to protect us against the dust and sun

nothing to build with

electricity falters

On a school blackboard

‘I will visit my brother tomorrow

One day I will go to Jerusalem

one day the walls will fall’

and you will see our suffering humanity

and in doing so,

reclaim your own.

© IDF Ingrid Andrew

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