“. . . What should I do with my pain . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

1-yarmouk
Men walk past destroyed buildings in Yarmouk refugee camp in April of 2015 (AFP/ Youssef Karwashan, File)

❶ Aid convoys reach besieged Palestinian refugees in Syria
❷ Israeli naval forces launch rockets near central Gaza, ground troops level land
❸ UN delegation visits Gaza Strip to evaluate reconstruction
❹ The ethnic cleansing of the Knesset
. . . . . ❹―(ᴀ) Arab Knesset members punished for helping their constituency
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ‘GOOD LABOR – BAD LIKUD’: DISPELLING THE MYTH OF ‘DEMOCRACY’ WITHIN ISRAEL’S POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
AID  CONVOYS  REACH  BESIEGED  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES  IN  SYRIA
Feb. 17, 2016
UN aid workers gained access to Palestinian refugees in the Damascus area for the first time in over seven months following approval by the Syrian government to open a limited number of besieged areas across the war-torn country.
___Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) told Ma’an that workers were able to deliver aid to besieged and hard-to-reach communities in the Damascus area for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday. More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  NAVAL  FORCES  LAUNCH  ROCKETS  NEAR  CENTRAL  GAZA,  GROUND  TROOPS  LEVEL  LAND
Feb. 18, 2016
Israeli naval forces shot rockets at the central Gaza coast overnight Thursday, locals said, adding that Israeli ground troops entered southern Gaza and leveled land near the border.
___Israeli naval forces reportedly fired rockets near al-Zahra city in the central Gaza strip. No injuries were reported.
___In southern Gaza, Israeli ground troops reportedly entered about 10 meters into the Gaza Strip near al-Qarara village and leveled land along the border, locals said.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
UN  DELEGATION  VISITS  GAZA  STRIP  TO  EVALUATE  RECONSTRUCTION
Feb. 17, 2016
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process visited the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, applauding the reconstruction effort in the Strip.
___Nikolay Mladenov said his delegation “found tangible progress in rebuilding some of the destroyed houses there” pointing out that the UN continues to support the reconstruction.   More . . .

1-knessett
Disregarding the voters who elected them, Israeli politicians work to decisively deem Palestinian MKs unfit for ‘democracy.’

ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
THE  ETHNIC  CLEANSING  OF  THE  KNESSET
Hani Habib
Feb. 17, 2016
On February 8th, the Knesset Ethics Committee suspended three Joint List Members of Knesset (MK) for several months. The committee suspended the MKs for visiting Palestinian families that were mourning a relative killed by Israeli forces but had yet to receive their bodies for burial from the Israeli authorities.
___The MKs’ visit with the families of killed Palestinians prompted . . . the racist and provocative decision to suspend them – a decision that expresses a high degree of fascism. More . . .
. . . . . ❹―(ᴀ)  ARAB  KNESSET  MEMBERS  PUNISHED  FOR  HELPING  THEIR  CONSTITUENCY    More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
PALESTINE CHRONICLE
‘GOOD  LABOR –  BAD  LIKUD’:  DISPELLING  THE  MYTH  OF  ‘DEMOCRACY’  WITHIN  ISRAEL’S  POLITICAL  ESTABLISHMENT
Ramzy Baroud
Feb. 16, 2016
The Israeli ‘Right’, as demonstrated by a scary coalition of rightwing nationalists, ultranationalists and religious zealots, deserves all the bad press it has garnered since its formation last May.
___But none of this should come as a shock, as the ‘Right’ in Israel has never been anything but a coalition of demagogues that catered to the lowest common denominator in society. As unlikable as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, he is, in fact, a fair representation of the worst that Israel has to offer, which, over the years, has morphed to represent mainstream thinking.    More. . . .

“THE  UGLIEST  OF  WORDS,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

What should I do with the narcissus?
The apricot?
The crowns of rugged trees?
What should I do with the finest
of my wildflowers? What?
What should I do with the strongest, fiercest,
and cruelest wild flowers and thorns?
What should I do with the strongest
of English words?
Foreigner?
The fiercest of French traits:
Etrangé?
The cruelest of German blows:
Ausländer?
The ugliest of Hebrew terms:
Oivim.
The most horrible sound in Arabic:
Kuffar.
What should I do with my pain
over my ignorance of Sanskrit
and Esperanza?
My fondness for wildflowers
runs deep.
What should I do
with the fence of fire
and with my being caught―
between the ugliest and the finest?
What should I do?
What?
What should I do?

From Al-Qasim, Samih. Sadder  than  Water:  New  &  Selected  Poems. Nazih Kassis, Trans. (Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2006.)
Available from Amazon
About Samih Al-Qasim

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