“. . . But we are certain that hope is harder than despair. . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

photo

❶ from THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
BOOK OF THE MONTH STEVE SABELLA – PHOTOGRAPHY 1997–2014
April 2015
The first monograph of Jerusalemite artist Steve Sabella (b. 1975) has been released. Sabella left the city in 2007 to pursue higher education in London. After earning two MAs, one in photographic studies from the University of Westminster and the other in art business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, he moved to Berlin.
__ Featuring Sabella’s work that was produced over the last two decades of his prolific career, the monograph is foremost an aesthetically exquisite art book.
(More. . .)
Book available from Amazon

Steve Sabella
Steve Sabella

❷ from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ROMANCE AND ADVENTURE IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY PALESTINE: THE LANTERNS OF THE KING OF GALILEE, BY IBRAHIM NASRALLAH
Review by Sarah Irving
February 11, 2015
With The Lanterns of the King of Galilee (AUC Press), Ibrahim Nasrallah (b. 1954) takes his readers to the “independent kingdom” set up by Daher al-Umar al-Zaydani in eighteenth century Palestine.
__ Daher al-Umar, born around 1690 near Tiberias in the Galilee, was the son of a multazim or tax-gatherer for the Ottoman Empire. His family had contacts with both the region’s Bedouin community and with the Maan and Shihab emirs of southern Lebanon — a reminder of the unnatural and ahistoric nature of the borders which are now enforced on this part of the Middle East.
(More. . .)
Book available from Amazon
Ibrahim Nasrallah

❸ from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
RACHEL CORRIE PRODUCTION RETURNS TO NY THEATER
A play about American activist Rachel Corrie is winning quiet acceptance in New York, where uproar postponed its debut a decade ago.
by IMEMC News & Agencies
April 11, 2015
According to eyewitness accounts, the 23-year-old was killed by a military bulldozer in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003, following which an Israeli court in 2012 cleared the army of any responsibility for her death, rejecting a civil suit filed by the family. . .
__ The award-winning “My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a 90-minute, one-woman play based on the late 23-year-old’s writings, edited by British actor Alan Rickman and Guardian editor elect Katharine Viner. It made its debut in London in 2005 to rave reviews, but a decision in 2006 to postpone the play in New York prompted charges of censorship from its British creators.
(More. . . )

❹ from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
NEW PALESTINIAN FILM DOCUMENTS FINAL “DESTRUCTION OF THE REFUGEE TENT
Review by Budour Youssef Hassan
2 February 2015
A recipient of the jury prize at the 2014 Dubai International Film Festival, Roshmia was written, edited and directed by Salim Abu Jabal, a Ramallah-based Syrian filmmaker from the occupied Golan Heights.
__The representation of the city of Haifa as a model for coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis overlooks the gradual but massive impact Zionist colonialism has wrought.
__Although not quite as flagrant and aggressive as the ethnic cleansing of another coastal city, Jaffa, Haifa has endured its own Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of Palestine — since 1948. Roshmia valley, in the eastern edge of the city, is where colonial dominance and gentrification dressed in the euphemisms of modernity and development conspire. The area epitomizes Israel’s attempts at corroding Palestinian identity and existence in the city.
__It is this very struggle for existence and survival that the documentary film Roshmia so poignantly portrays.
(More . . .)

❺ from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
METHOD MAN: A TRAILBLAZER OF HIP-HOP SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE?
The Wu-Tang Clan was once described as “the most innovative force in hip-hop” by The New York Times. But it wasn’t only the gritty and dark soundscape created by the group that was original. Less well-known is that Method Man, one of the combo’s rappers, may have been the first exponent of his genre to express solidarity with the Palestinians.
(More . . .)

❻ from INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S PEACE SERVICE
SOLIDARITY WITH OCCUPIED PALESTINE: NON-VIOLENCE IN ACTION SINCE 2002
Situated along the main Hebron-Jerusalem road, across the street from a University, sits the heavily fenced and concrete blockaded main entrance to Al Arroub Palestinian refugee camp. Taysir, a 39 year old former prisoner of the Israeli government and resident of the camp, waits out front of the camp entry way to give an intimate and shocking view of Al Arroub which is home to over 10,000 refugees living on less than a square mile of land and originating from nearly 3 dozen villages from as far away as Gaza.
(More. . . )

❼ from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
TRIPADVISOR CENSORS COMPLAINTS ABOUT HOTELS IN ISRAEL’S SETTLEMENTS
By Mieke Zagt
April 8, 2015
The popular website TripAdvisor not only promotes hotels in the settlements that Israel is building in the occupied West Bank, it censors travelers who complain about such complicity with illegal activities.
__I discovered this fact myself when I decided to have a short break in the Dead Sea last year. Checking TripAdvisor and its rival Booking.com, I found they were offering rooms in the Kalia Kibbutz Hotel. Both gave the impression that Kalia is within present-day Israel. In reality, it is a Jewish-only colony in the West Bank, as I confirmed by driving to the hotel.
(More . . .)

“Survivors’ Poem,” by Ibrahim Nasrallah

We are alive this morning
And are still here
We cried a lot
All night
For those who wept and those who were killed
But we are certain that hope is harder than despair
We are alive
Our sadness cannot be seen in the mirror
Our names have lost two syllables
And the souls of those who dreamt they were among us
Three nights ago
Are standing there waiting for us
At the edge of the wind
By the mountain top
This is our thousandth night after a thousand
After it will come a thousand and one nights
The garden flew to the rooftop and the rooftop flew onto the neighbourhood’s playground
And the neighbourhood and the playground spread their ashes to ashes
The envoys passed by and asked the killed and the killer
Is it doomsday? Has the wolf made peace with the lamb at last?
The sun is passing
The moon is late
The survival paths are filled with rubble and the mud of shame
We will emerge fewer from every war
We will emerge fewer from every peace
From every freedom, prison, school
From every dream
Every road leads to us
Every road leads to them
And every winter and wheat field and plane
We are alive this morning
And are still here
We cried a lot
All night
For those who wept and those who were killed
But we are certain that hope is harder than despair
And every time a candle fades
We light up

Ibrahim Nasrallah (born 1954 in Amman, Jordan, in Wihdat refugee camp) is a Jordanian-Palestinian poet, novelist, professor, painter and photographer. He studied in the UN agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) schools and at the UNRWA Teacher Training College in Amman. He taught in Saudi Arabia for 2 years in the Al Qunfudhah region and worked as a journalist between 1978 and 1996. Nasrallah then returned to Jordan and worked at Dostur, Afaq and Hasad newspapers. He is in charge of cultural activities at Darat-al-Funun in Amman. He has published 14 books of poetry, 13 novels and two children’s books.

Wu-Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan

“. . . we leave a kiss for those who left with neither luggage nor papers for their passage. . .” (Abdel Rahim Al-Sheikh)

Ali Shaaban stands outside his home, which is under threat of demolition. (PHOTO J. COOK)
Ali Shaaban stands outside his home, which is under threat of demolition. (PHOTO J. COOK)

❶ from WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
CONFERENCE: THE ISRAEL LOBBY. IS IT GOOD FOR THE US? IS IT GOOD FOR ISRAEL?
Washington, DC – April 10, 2015 at the National Press Club

This unprecedented gathering will focus on the Israel lobby in America. How big is it? How fast has it grown? How interconnected are the organizations and individuals? How much revenue does it raise and where does the money go? What are the common objectives of the lobby? What laws apply to lobbying to benefit a foreign government and are they vigorously enforced? Do coordinated campaign contributions cause American policymakers to act more on behalf of Israel than the United States? What fallacies underlie the assertions that U.S. and Israeli interests are the same? What are the Israel lobby’s public and private, short-and-medium-term policy objectives? And what can Americans who do not believe pro-Israel slogans, activities and policy objectives do?
(More. . .)

❷ from WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
THE NAKBA CONTINUES: ONLY PALESTINIAN VILLAGE REMAINING IN CENTRAL ISRAEL THREATENED WITH DEMOLITION
By Jonathan Cook
May, 2015, pp. 14-15
According to Israel’s official records, the 600 inhabitants of Dahmash village live a single building—one that no longer exists. The villagers’ story may sound like the basis for a sinister fairy tale, but their plight is all too real.
_ For decades officials have refused to recognize the village’s 70 actual homes, trapped between the towns of Ramle and Lod, and only 20 minutes’ drive from Tel Aviv, Israel’s most vibrant city.
_ Arafat Ismail, the village’s leader, said that while industrial parks, shopping malls and estates of luxury villas had sprung up all around them, Dahmash’s residents had been treated like “illegal squatters.”
(More. . .)

❸ from +972
LIVING ALONGSIDE ONE OTHER ISN’T NECESSARILY COEXISTENCE
A mixed Jewish-Arab couple is discouraged from applying to live in what many look to as a model for coexistence in Israel-Palestine.
By Orna Akad (translated by Ofer Neiman)
April 9, 2015
No, this is not a new book which I have just published, nor is it a new play. This is my life with Fouad, which has given me a few minutes of fame.
_ The furor last summer over the marriage of Mahmoud and Morel led me to my virtual photo album, in order to publish a family photo. I wanted to show that it’s both possible and desirable to live differently. . .
(More. . .)

❹ from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
67 YEARS LATER, DEIR YASSIN STILL BLEEDING WOUND FOR PALESTINIANS
Ma’an News Agency
April 9, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinians on Thursday marked the 67th anniversary of the massacre of more than 100 Palestinian civilians by Zionist forces at the village of Deir Yassin.
_ “The Deir Yassin massacre was a turning point in the history of the people of Palestine, and it continues to serve as a necessary reminder of Israel’s ongoing policies of displacement, dispossession and dehumanization, and its willful erasure of the Palestinian narrative and human presence in historical Palestine,” senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.
(More. . . )

❺ from THE PALESTINE CHRONICLE
STANDING FIRM AMID THE RUINS: BLIND BROTHERS FIGHT FOR JUSTICE IN JERUSALEM
By Dr. Bill Dienst
April 10, 2015
Wadi Joz neighbourhood (immediately Northeast of the Old City of Jerusalem) – Nureddin Amro and his brother Sharif Amro are humble men. Both were born with retinitis pigmentosa, a congenital (genetic) condition, which has left them blind since birth. They are both married, Nureddin has three young children, Sharif has four; all of the children are under 14. They all live with their 79 year old grandmother in a home just south of the main road which connects Hebrew University on Mount Scopus (Palestinian land which was confiscated by Israel in 1967) with West Jerusalem. This road is bisected diagonally by another road which connects the center of Wadi Joz to the upper Kidron Valley. For millennia, this has been the main road connecting the community of Wadi Joz, the Mount of Olives and other communities to the Northeast with the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Christian sites in the Old City and the Garden of Gesthamine. The Amro brothers live in the first house immediately on the southeast corner of this intersection. At 5:30 am on March 31, 2015, their home became ground zero in the latest efforts to Judaize the land
(More. . .)

“SINGLE ADDRESS FOR THE POST,” BY ABDEL RAHIM AL-SHEIKH

On my way to them, I pass Him by,
(as, on his way, God passes me by)
for as we go our separate ways
we see no one but those on high.

The beds are allotted before the violet dawn.
The back and endless night is spent alone
and then the cataclysm comes

that will seed them from the borders of Palestine
the Great Thorn.
They are the only roses that grow.

From where they stalk the edge of paradise
the first paradise.

From where the children use thorns
to draw maps of this paradise.

From this spot.

We raise in the sky a glorying arc
the first milestone to Mecca

and we leave a kiss for those who left
with neither luggage nor papers for their passage.

This is the way the journey will always be.
They leave their bags for the postman to deliver

He takes them from the hands
of those who follow

And those who follow leave their packages
as the first ones do.

It’s hard for the post to make it to paradise.
There is no address
neither here nor there.
—translated by Rachel McCrum

Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh is from Jerusalem. He teaches philosophy, history, and creative writing at Bir Zeit University and the Qattan Center in Ramallah, and is the author of many literary and academic books.

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

Nureed Amro and his son Mohammed in front of their destroyed home. (Bill Dienst, Palestine Chronicle)
Nureed Amro and his son Mohammed in front of their destroyed home. (Bill Dienst, Palestine Chronicle)

“The olive trees are dying of embarrassment. . . “ (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

Tent of Nations
Tent of Nations


(Please see
Palestine InSight for background of this posting. More importantly, please see Tent of Nations website!)

On Tuesday, April 7, 2015 11:01 PM, Ann Hafften wrote on behalf of the The North Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area of the ELCA:

Dear friends,
I am sorry to report that the Daoud Nassar events in Denton, Fort Worth and Dallas have been cancelled. It is necessary for Mr. Nassar to be on hand at the family farm right now and in the days to come. Bill Plitt, Executive Director of Friends of Tent of Nations North America, writes:

“As you know, the Nassar family has been fighting in the Israeli courts since 1991 to retain their ownership of the family’s land which was originally purchased and registered in 1916. The local authorities in the Gush Etzion Settlement area, in which the Tent of Nations is located, are now requiring the land be re-registered for the fourth time, and have placed new requirements on the family to provide additional evidence in their application. The deadline for doing so is April 21st.

“Continually shortened times allowed for response to these requirements are making it more difficult for Daoud to be away from the land, and the family is fearful that some kind of unforeseen action will be taken against the land, and think this is more likely if he is out of the country.

“As you know, life under the occupation is not only oppressive, but unpredictable for Palestinians. The rules often change on the spur of the moment. It’s amazing how resilient the Palestinian people have been under such circumstances. We hope you will continue to lift up the Nassar family and all Palestinians in your prayer and action.”

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to another opportunity to hear the witness of Tent of Nations in the NT-NL mission.
Easter blessings of joy!
Ann Hafften
Weatherford, Texas
tol-boys_photo

____________
“Holy Landers,” by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi

Listen!
You are fighting over a land that can fit,
with wilderness to spare,
in the Panhandle of Texas.

You are building walls to segregate,
splitting wholes till little is left,
killing and dying for pieces of sky
in the same window.

The olive trees are dying
of embarrassment.
They have enough fruits
and pits for all of you.
All they want is for you to stop
uprooting them.
Sending your children to die
in their names.

Listen!
Your land is no holier than my backyard.
None of you is any more chosen
than the homeless veteran panhandling
with a God Bless cardboard sign
at the light of Mecca
and San Pedro.

Draw a borderline around the place.
Call it home for all the living,
all the dead,
all the tired exiles with its dust
gummed on their tongues.

There are no heroes left.

Lahab Assef Al-Jundi was born, and grew up, in Damascus, Syria. Attended The University of Texas in Austin, where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Not long after graduation, he discovered his passion for writing. He published his first poetry collection, “A Long Way”, in 1985. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications, and many Anthologies including: “In These Latitudes, Ten Contemporary Poets”, edited by Robert Bonazzi, “Inclined to Speak, An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry”, edited by Hayan Charara, and “Between Heaven and Texas”, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.

http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2010/06/demolishing-peace-in-palestine-tent-by-tent/
http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2010/06/demolishing-peace-in-palestine-tent-by-tent/

“. . . Her house is above the carnations . . . “ (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

Nora Sub Leban in her home in the Muslim Quarter of Old JerusalemNora Sub Laban in her home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem

❶ from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
LAST PALESTINIAN FAMILY IN JERUSALEM NEIGHBORHOOD FEAR EVICTION AT ANY MOMENT
Sarah Levy
25 March 2015
A Palestinian family that has lived in Jerusalem’s Old City since 1953 is being forced out of their home by Israeli settlers backed by the state.
Since 9 February the Sub Laban family of eight have been twice subjected to eviction attempts by Israeli settlers and police. The family are expecting a third attempt to come at any time. . .
. . . Although the family have an appeal hearing before an Israeli district court to challenge the eviction on 31 May, the court has refused to give an order that would prohibit an eviction before that date. The constant fear of invasion and eviction by Israeli settlers, police — or both — has effectively put the family’s lives on hold.
(More. . .)
❷ from ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
SETTLERS TAKE OVER EAST JERUSALEM PROPERTY
Armed Israeli settlers Wednesday took over a Palestinian-owned property in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan
Protected by a large number of Israeli police, armed settlers broke into Silwan early Wednesday morning and occupied a building, which houses four apartments belonging to the al-Malhi-Faraj family. The settlers removed all furniture from the flats, changed the door locks and shuttered the windows closed.
. . . located in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan, flanking the southern wall of the al Aqsa mosque compound.
Israeli police cordoned the neighborhood off in advance, preventing Palestinian residents from approaching the property. A quarrel took place between Palestinians and the Israeli police, during which police physically assaulted and briefly detained Muhammad al-Malhi, 13.
(More. . .)
settlers_silwan
❸ from THE INDEPENDENT (UK online news)
ISRAELI SOLDIERS FILMED WAKING PALESTINIAN CHILDREN IN MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FOR QUESTIONING
Lizzie Dearden
March 28, 2015
Footage showing terrified Palestinian children being woken up by armed Israeli soldiers for questioning in the dead of the night has emerged. Boys as young as nine are shown being questioned about stone throwing and photographed by soldiers who dismiss their parents’ protests.
Volunteers from . . . the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, happened to be living in the flat block visited by troops in Hebron.
(More. . .)
❹ from PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAELI MILITARY ERECTS WATCHTOWER OVERLOOKING GIRLS’ SCHOOL IN HEBRON
March 31, 2015
The Israeli military forces Tuesday took over a Palestinian’s home, which is adjacent to a local elementary girls’ school in the old town of Hebron and erected a military watchtower overlooking the school’s yard.
. . . Israeli military forces deployed in the area and caused female students to panic and hampered their school day. . .
. . . Many Palestinian students must pass through Israeli military checkpoints just to get to school, and the military uses these checkpoints to harass and delay students.
(More. . .)
❺ from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SCHOOLCHILDREN INJURED NEAR BETHLEHEM
IMEMC & Agencies
March 31, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday morning, the Teqoua’ town, east of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and fired gas bombs causing many schoolchildren to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Eyewitnesses said the children were walking to school when the soldiers stormed the village, especially since their schools are on the main road.
(More. . .)

“ABOVE THE CARNATIONS,” BY YOUSEF AL-MAHMOUD
Her house is above the carnations
on the path to the wind-swept hills. . .
At evening we sought refuge there
watching out for the guns and the aeroplanes.

The crack of bullets followed our coffee
and smashed into our conversation.
The crack of bullets and the bark of artillery
came near to the flowers inside the windows
came near to the warmth and the water jug
debris clattered down the outside stairway
and fell towards the marble pavement.

Her house is above the carnations
there we were in it
we had sought refuge there
and so we moved to where the Jewish soldiers could no longer see us.

—-Translated by DM Black
—-Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
—-From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

albazz_spring12_smallfrom JADALIYYA
“Snapshot: Palestinian Spring”
Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz

“. . . there’s a place in my brain where hate won’t grow. . .” (Naomi Shihab Nye)

The Wall and Olive Trees near Bethlehem
The Wall and Olive Trees near Bethlehem

TWO SPEAKERS AND A POET

Thursday, April 16, 7:00 P.M.
DR. ROBERT ASHMORE, JR.
Northaven United Methodist Church
11211 Preston Road, Dallas

Sunday, April 19, 10:30 A.M.
DR. ROBERT ASHMORE, JR.
Dallas Hall
Southern Methodist University

Sunday, April 19, 6:30 P.M.
DAOUD NASSER
Trinity Lutheran Church
3621 Tulsa Way, Fort Worth

Tuesday April 21, 7:00 P.M.
DAOUD NASSER
Bethany Lutheran Church, Nelson Hall
10101 Walnut Hill, Dallas

DAOUD NASSER WILL SHARE THE MESSAGE OF TENT OF NATIONS.
daoud-nassar_72dpi

Mr. Nasser is from Bethlehem and a member of Christmas Lutheran Church there. He is a leader in the Tent of Nations organization

Tent of Nations seeks to prepare young people in Palestine to make positive contributions to their society through the values of understanding and peaceful coexistence. The organic farm where the education and work camps take place is under threat of confiscation by the Israeli military. It is about 33 miles southwest of Bethlehem.

The Nassar family land is located in the fertile hill country 9 KM southwest of Bethlehem in the West Bank, in an area totally controlled by Israel per the Oslo Agreement of 1993.
In fulfillment of his father’s dream to establish an institute for the building of peace and coexistence on the family land, Daoud Nassar, grandson of Daher Nassar who purchased the land in 1916, established The Tent of Nations. Tent of Nations has established projects to develop and protect the land and to make the land a center for people from different countries to come together and build bridges of trust and hope.

In May 2014, the Israeli military bulldozed 1,500 productive fruit trees growing on the Nasser farm. Daoud Nasser will explain the challenges facing his family’s farming efforts from the military and surrounding Israeli settlements. (More. . . )

Daoud Nasser’s presentation is part of the NT-NL Mission’s participation in the ELCA strategy: Peace Not Walls: Stand for Justice in the Holy Land.

DR. ROBERT ASHMORE, JR., WILL SPEAK ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS AND ETHICS OF THE PALESTINIAN/ISRAELI SITUATION.
robert ashmore-001
Dr. Ashmore is professor emeritus of philosophy and former director of the center for ethics studies at Marquette University He serves on the national advisory board of Middle East Policy Council, and is a member of both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

He is a native of Dallas.

As director of Marquette’s Center for Ethics Studies, Ashmore received two successive grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Active since 1982 on human rights issues relating to the Middle East conflicts, Ashmore has made many trips the West Bank and Gaza, and Israel. He serves on the national advisory board of Middle East Policy Council, and is a member of both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Dr. Ashmore also serves on the boards of the Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University, and the Wisconsin Chapter of American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

Dr. Ashmore’s publications include a chapter titled “State Terrorism and Its Sponsors” in Philosophical Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, edited by Tomis Kapitan (M.E. Sharpe, 1997); “Israel and South Africa: A Natural Alliance,” The Link, Oct. 1988, Vo. 21, No. 4; “The Crusades Then and Now,” The Link, July 2002, Vo. 35, No. 3; “Palestinian Universities Under Israeli Occupation—A Human Rights Analysis,” American Arab Affairs, Spring 1986, No. 16; “Nonviolence as an Intifada Strategy,” American Arab Affairs, Spring 1990, No. 32.

Dr. Ashmore’s presentations are sponsored by
Northaven United Methodist Church 2015 Speaker Series: Faith Voices on Justice
The Dallas Area Christian Progressive Alliance
Embrey Human Rights Program Southern Methodist University

“JERUSALEM,” BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE

“Let’s be the same wound if we must bleed.
Let’s fight side by side, even if the enemy
is ourselves: I am yours, you are mine.”
—Tommy Olofsson, Sweden

I’m not interested in
who suffered the most.
I’m interested in
people getting over it.

Once when my father was a boy
a stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother’s doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.

Each carries a tender spot:
something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
“I am native now.”
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child’s poem says,
“I don’t like wars,
they end up with monuments.”
He’s painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.

Why are we so monumentally slow?
Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:
big guns, little pills.
If you tilt your head just slightly
it’s ridiculous.

There’s a place in my brain
where hate won’t grow.
I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.

It’s late but everything comes next.

naomi_shihab_nyeNaomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her BA in English and world religions from Trinity University.

Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including Transfer (BOA Editions, 2011); You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award; 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (Greenwillow Books, 2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East; Fuel (BOA Editions, 1998); Red Suitcase (BOA Editions, 1994); and Hugging the Jukebox (Far Corner Books, 1982).