“. . . But I do not die . . .” (Taha Muhammad ‘Ali)

ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-DEMONSTRATION
Banner calling for the erasure of the Palestinian people at massive rally for Elor Azraya in central Tel Aviv, April 19, 2016. (Photo: Agence France‑Presse)

❶ If the Palestinians are guilty of incitement, then what does Israel’s 24/7 occupation amount to?
❷ Israeli forces injure 5 Palestinians in weekly Gaza protests
❸ Israel to Seize Hundreds of Dunums of Land for Benefit of Illegal Israeli Settlements
❹ Jerusalem at the center of Palestine-Israel naming dispute
❺ Opinion/Analysis: RELEASE  OF  A  COLD-BLOODED  KILLER  ILLUSTRATES  THE  RACISM  OF  ISRAELI  SOCIETY
❻ POETRY by Taha Muhammad ‘Ali
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ IF  THE  PALESTINIANS  ARE  GUILTY  OF  INCITEMENT,  THEN  WHAT  DOES  ISRAEL’S  24/7  OCCUPATION  AMOUNT  TO?
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Kamel Hawwash
April 22, 2016
Hardly a day goes by without Israel accusing Palestinian leaders of incitement against the state and its citizens.
___Incitement as far as Israel is concerned covers a wide spectrum, from calling those killed by Israel “martyrs” to objecting to repeated incursions by Jewish settlers into Al-Aqsa Mosque, and including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign . . . .
___ Israel has worked tirelessly to convince the so called “international community” to accept its definition of “terrorism”. . . .
___If the Palestinians are guilty of incitement, then what does Israel’s 24/7 occupation amount to? . . . . Israel’s deliberate daily provocation and humiliation of subjugated people in the hope of a reaction . . .  is the most significant incitement of young Palestinians.      MORE . . . 

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  INJURE  5  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEEKLY  GAZA  PROTESTS
Ma’an News Agency
April 23, 2016
Five Palestinians were injured when clashes broke out across the Gaza Strip on Friday night after Israeli forces attempted to suppress weekly protests, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said.      MORE . . .  
RELATED . . .  ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  ON  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  SOUTHERN  GAZA    

❸ ISRAEL  TO  SEIZE  HUNDREDS  OF  DUNUMS  OF  LAND  FOR  BENEFIT  OF  ILLEGAL  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 23, 2016
Israeli occupation authorities Saturday notified the takeover of hundreds of dunums of land in the village of Jalood to the south of Nablus, as well as in the towns of Turmosayya and al-Mghayar to the north of Ramallah, to pave a new road that would serve illegal Israeli outposts and settlements, according to a local official. . . .
___The notice also included a plan to open a road, designated for the sole use of Israelis, that would connect the illegal Israeli settlement of ‘Shiloh’ with other settlement outposts to the east.      MORE . . .

❹ JERUSALEM  AT  THE  CENTER  OF  PALESTINE-ISRAEL  NAMING  DISPUTE
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Abu Amer
April 20, 2016
Shortly after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 it faced a problem in how to refer to Jerusalem in Arabic. Not wanting to use the Arabic name al-Quds, the Israelis came up with a compromise by inserting the biblical Jewish name Urashalim. . . . Combining the Jewish and the Arabic term reflected what then was the prevalent Israeli attitude of treating the holy city as a crucible of religions. . . .
___But over the years, Israelis lessened their pluralistic effort as they embarked on a strategic policy to make the city more Jewish. Arabic names were slowly changed to Hebrew ones.      MORE . . .

palestinian-girl-female-stone-throwing
Young Palestinians take matters into their own hands. (Photo: MEMO, April 22, 2016)

❺ Opinion/Analysis:  RELEASE  OF  A  COLD-BLOODED  KILLER  ILLUSTRATES  THE  RACISM  OF  ISRAELI  SOCIETY
International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team
April 23, 2016
Yesterday, Elor Azraya, a soldier in the Israeli army, infamous for the extrajudicial execution of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), has been released to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Pessach with his family [. . . . ]
___The approval and support Elor Azraya has been receiving both from his comrades (that can be seen in the video with them not even flinching when he executes Abed al-Fattah) and settlers, mirrors the great support he enjoys from the majority of the Israeli population. Upon arriving home, Elor Azraya was received as a hero with a big celebration. MORE . . .  

(The “child” is a metaphor for Palestine. This poem is chosen to reflect the news of the day that Israel has once again confiscated Palestinian land, but Palestine does not die.)

“THROMBOSIS,”  BY  TAHA  MUHAMMAD  ‘ALI

A child I was
when I fell into the abyss
But I did not die
I was very young
when I drowned in the pond
But I did not die
Nowadays one of my habits―God preserve us―
is to knock against scores of land mines
on the frontiers
and for my songs to be dispersed
as the days of my youth are:
here a flower, there a scream
But I do not die.

They slew me upon the threshold
Like the lamb of the feast
―petroleum coagulated in my veins
―In God’s name―
Thousands of times they slit my throat
from ear to ear
yet each time my blood would swing
like the feet of a hanged man
and settle like a rose mallow
large and crimson, a mark
to warn ships
and point out the sites of palaces and embassies.

And tomorrow!
―God preserve us!―
A telephone will not ring
in palaces or in brothels or in one of the Gulf Emirates
except to offer a new prescription
for my extermination
But . . . .
Just as the rose mallow tells
and as the frontiers expect
I shall not die!
Shall not die!
I shall remain a splinter of shrapnel
the size of a penknife
lodged in their necks
I shall remain
a blood stain
the size of a cloud
on this world’s tunic!
―Translated by Lena Jayyusi and John Heath-Stubbs

About Taha Muhammad ‘Ali 
From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.
BDS FINAL LOGO_v5WEB_URL_side

“. . . a splinter of shrapnel the size of a penknife lodged in their necks . . .” (Taha Muhammad ‘Ali)

1-1-Swamp-Rose-Mallow-Hibiscus-Moscheufos
“Only once is the Palestine rose mallow mentioned in the Bible, and then as food for the most abject and despised poor (Job xxx. 4)” (Photo and quote from ChestofBooks.com. “Swamp Rose-Mallow.”)

❶ Thousands of Palestinians attend funeral of slain youth in Sair
❷ Two protesters killed by Israeli forces during Gaza protests
❸ List of 158 Palestinians Killed by Israeli Troops Since October 1st
❹ EU Provides €12.5M to Support West Bank, Gaza Families Living in Extreme Poverty
. . . . ❹―(ᴀ) Rethinking Palestine: settler-colonialism, neo-liberalism and individualism in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
❺ Opinion/Analysis: PALESTINE-ISRAEL: EUROPE DROWNING IN AMERICA’S FAILURES
❻ Poetry by Taha Muhammad ‘Ali
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
THOUSANDS  OF  PALESTINIANS  ATTEND  FUNERAL  OF  SLAIN  YOUTH  IN  SAIR
Jan. 15, 2016
Thousands of Palestinians in the village of Sair attended the funeral of 20-year-old Muayyad al-Jabbarin on Friday, a day after he was shot dead at the nearby Beit Einun junction after attempting to stab Israeli soldiers.
___The funeral procession set off from al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron and made its way to Sair’s center, where Jabbarin was laid to rest in the “martyrs'” cemetery.
More . . .
MONDOWEISS
TWO  PROTESTERS  KILLED  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  DURING  GAZA  PROTESTS
Isra Saleh El-Namy
Jan. 15, 2016
Israeli forces opened fire at different fronts on the Gaza boundary fence today, killing two young Palestinians during today’s clashes.
___Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman of Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that Mohammed Qeita, a 26-year old protester, was shot in his abdomen by an Israeli live bullet. Qeita came with his cousin from Khan Younis to participate at the Friday’s protest at al-Bureij’s border fence, located near the overcrowded al-Bureij Palestinian refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Dozens of protesters carried his bleeding body before he died of his critical injury which he sustained during the protest.
More . . .

1-funeral in sair
Thousands of Palestinians in the village of Sair attend the funeral of 20-year-old Muayyad al-Jabbarin. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
LIST  OF  158  PALESTINIANS  KILLED  BY  ISRAELI  TROOPS  SINCE  OCTOBER  1ST
Saturday January 16, 2016
The following is a list of names of all Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, including one in the Negev, in the period between Thursday October 1st and Friday January 15th, as confirmed by the Palestinian Health Ministry.
More . . .
PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
EU  PROVIDES  €12.5M  TO  SUPPORT  WEST  BANK,  GAZA  FAMILIES  LIVING  IN  EXTREME  POVERTY
Jan. 16, 2016
The European Union is making a contribution of €12.3 million to the Palestinian Authority’s quarterly payment of social allowances to poor Palestinian families living in the West Bank and Gaza, Friday said ‏a press release issued by EU representative office in Jerusalem.
___Beneficiaries of the contribution are households living in extreme poverty and registered in the cash transfer programme of the Ministry of Social Affairs, noted the release . . . .
___The EU maintained that, “The steady deterioration of the socio-economic conditions in Palestine is a matter of concern. “One out of four Palestinians live in poverty.”
More . . .
. . . . ❹―(ᴀ)  RETHINKING  PALESTINE:  SETTLER-COLONIALISM,  NEO-LIBERALISM  AND  INDIVIDUALISM  IN  THE  WEST  BANK  AND  GAZA  STRIP
Contemporary Arab Affairs 8.3 (2015)
Opinion/Analysis
THE PALESTINIAN POLICY NETWORK
PALESTINE-ISRAEL:  EUROPE  DROWNING  IN  AMERICA’S  FAILURES
Jan. 14, 2016
Sam Bahour, Mousa Jiryis
On Monday, January 18, 2016, the monthly meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels is expected to discuss and decide on next steps to be adopted by the EU on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Policy-makers in Israel are worried . . . .
___As it discusses next steps, Europe must recognize that “the US leads” approach to resolving the conflict is doomed to never-ending failure:
More . . .

“THROMBOSIS,”  BY  TAHA  MUHAMMAD  ‘ALI

A child I was
when I fell into the abyss
But I did not die
I was very young
when I drowned in the pond
But I did not die
Nowadays one of my habits―God preserve us―
is to knock against scores of land mines
on the frontiers
and for my songs to be dispersed
as the days of my youth are:
here a flower, there a scream
But I do not die.

They slew me upon the threshold
Like the lamb of the feast
―petroleum coagulated in my veins
―In God’s name―
Thousands of times they slit my throat
from ear to ear
yet each time my blood would swing
like the feet of a hanged man
and settle like a rose mallow
large and crimson, a mark
to warn ships
and point out the sites of palaces and embassies.

And tomorrow!
―God preserve us!―
A telephone will not ring
in palaces or in brothels or in one of the Gulf Emirates
except to offer a new prescription
for my extermination
But . . . .
Just as the rose mallow tells
and as the frontiers expect
I shall not die!
Shall not die!
I shall remain a splinter of shrapnel
the size of a penknife
lodged in their necks
I shall remain
a blood stain
the size of a cloud
on this world’s tunic!
――Translated by Lena Jayyusi and John Heath-Stubbs

About Taha Muhammad ‘Ali
From: ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

1-gaza poverty
Gaza Poverty: UNICEF says four children have died in 2015, as of Feb. 23, due to hypothermia caused by poor living conditions among displaced families [Photo: Belal Hasna/Al Jazeera]

“. . . the very air is confiscated, so why don’t you leave? . . .” (Taha Muhammad ‘Ali, 1992)

return march
Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel take part in the ‘March of Return’, on the land belonging to the destroyed village of Hadatha, near Tiberius, April 23, 2015. (Photo: Omar Sameer/Activestills.org)

❶ Jerusalem families in legal battle to stay in Old City homes
. . . . ❶― (ᴀ) WATCH: Internally displaced Palestinians plan their return
❷ Palestinian killed in day’s 2nd alleged attack on Israeli forces
❸ Why Israel has silenced the 1948 story of Nazareth’s survival
❹ Analysis: Palestinian citizens in Israel: A fast-shrinking civic space
❺ Opinion/Analysis: “HOW  TO  LIE  WITH  MAPS”  IN  THE  CONTEXT  OF  THE  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION
❻ Poetry by Taha Muhammad ‘Ali
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
JERUSALEM  FAMILIES  IN  LEGAL  BATTLE  TO  STAY  IN  OLD  CITY  HOMES
Jan. 13, 2016
For the past few weeks, four Palestinian families living in Jerusalem’s Old City have faced the threat of immediate eviction from their homes.
___The Hashima, Kastero, Seidawi, and Maswada families, who live in the Old City’s Aqbat al-Khalidiya quarter, told Ma’an that they were handed eviction notices in December when an Israeli court ruled that their homes originally belonged to a Jewish organization.
___Hayil Sandouka, a Palestinian who has long worked on the restoration of Palestinian buildings in the Old City, told Ma’an that the building previously belonged to the Diskin Orphan Fund of Israel, founded in 1881.   More . . .
. . . . ❶― (ᴀ) +972 MAGAZINE
Watch:  INTERNALLY  DISPLACED  PALESTINIANS  PLAN  THEIR  RETURN
More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PALESTINIAN  KILLED  IN  DAY’S  2ND  ALLEGED  ATTACK  ON  ISRAELI  FORCES
Jan. 14, 2016
A Palestinian was shot and killed on Thursday after a stabbing attack at an Israeli military checkpoint north of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus . . . .
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a stab attack took place on forces stationed at the checkpoint. Israeli forces reportedly opened fire on the assailant in response, killing him on site. . . .
___The attack took place at a flying checkpoint set up by Israeli forces nearby the Palestinian village of Asira ash-Shamaliya, hometown of the alleged attacker who was identified by locals as Haitham Mahmoud Abd al-Jalil, 31.   More . . .

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Sunrise over Nazareth (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 8, 2015)

MONDOWEISS
WHY  ISRAEL  HAS  SILENCED  THE  1948  STORY  OF  NAZARETH’S  SURVIVAL
Jonathan Cook
Jan. 12, 2016
A rarely told story of the 1948 war that founded Israel concerns Nazareth’s survival. It is the only Palestinian city in what is today Israel that was not ethnically cleansed during the year-long fighting . . . .
___Nazareth was not only an anomaly; it was a mistake. It was supposed to be cleared of its Palestinian population, just like those other Palestinian cities now in Israel. Much to Israel’s regret, it has become an unofficial capital for Israel’s 1.6 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the Israeli population.
___The reason for Nazareth’s survival are the actions of one individual. Ben Dunkelman, a Canadian Jew who was the commander of the Israeli army’s Seventh Armoured Brigade, disobeyed orders . . .    More . . .
Analysis
AL-SHABAKA: THE PALESTINIAN POLICY NETWORK
PALESTINIAN  CITIZENS  IN  ISRAEL:  A  FAST-SHRINKING  CIVIC  SPACE
Nadim Nashif, Raya Naamneh
Jan. 13, 2016
Israel still portrays itself as a Jewish and democratic state. Yet in practice, as its Palestinian citizens can attest, it functions as a Jewish ethnocracy, leaving small margins of freedom for its Palestinian citizens that have been steadily shrinking in the past few years. Now the Israeli state has come under the complete control of the far right wing, which sees no need even for such limited margins of freedom. This is evident in the wave of discriminatory legislation and the use of the Emergency Regulations against established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) an movements such as the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.    More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
“HOW  TO LIE  WITH  MAPS”  IN  THE  CONTEXT  OF  THE  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION
Ahmad El-Atrash
Jan. 2016
Since the early days of occupation, the Israeli authorities have used maps as a tool to dispossess Palestinians, establish de facto sovereignty over the occupied territory, and engineer a fabricated statehood. The socio-spatial consequences of map-making, as a form of authority-making, in present-day Palestine become “stubborn realities” that tend to perpetuate in a state of permanent temporariness due to Israel’s prolonged military occupation of territory. In this article, maps are best understood as discourses that create knowledge.  More . . . 

“EXODUS,”  BY  TAHA  MUHAMMAD  `ALI  (1931-1911)

The street is empty
like the memory of a monk
and faces explode in the flames
like an acorn
and the dead crowd all the doorways
they crowd the horizon
and no vein can bleed
more than it has already bled
no scream can rise
higher than it has already risen
We will not leave!
The shields of light are breaking in the face of this siege
in the face of these ill-matched forces
From outside, everyone wants us to leave
But we will not leave!
Ivory white girls hide themselves
from the glare of captivity
and everyone outside wants us to leave
We will not leave!
The big guns rake the jujube trees
and destroy the dreams of the violets
they blunt hunger, but sharpen thirst
they parch lip and souls.
And everyone outside says:
“What are you waiting for? All warmth is denied,
the very air is confiscated,
so why don’t you leave?”
Masks fill the pulpits, the brothels and the places of ablution
Masks cross-eyed with surprise
do not believe what is obvious
and fall, astonished and writhing
like worms.

We will not leave!
Are we inside here merely to be outside?
Leaving is only for the masks, for pulpits and for conferences
It is only the siege within that should go outside
the siege which the Bedouins of the deserts have brought on us
the siege inflicted by brethren tasting of the sword
and the stink of crimson birds
We will not leave!
Those outside are closing the escape routes
and giving their blessings to the imposter
Praying, petitioning the Almighty God
for our deaths.

―translated by Lena Jayyusi and John Heath-Stubbs

About Taha Muhammad ‘Ali
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

How-to-Lie-with-Maps-2
An Israeli Official Map Showing the West Bank as part of Israel. (Source: Middle East Monitor, 25 November 2015.)

“. . . children who couldn’t bear his absence . . .” (Taha Muhammad Ali)

(A blog linking to information about PALESTINE not available in mainstream media.
“Online Resources” above lists helpful sites. Works by Palestinian poets close all posts.)

Saleh Abu Shamsiya, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy playing in the snow
Saleh Abu Shamsiya, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy playing in the snow

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Opinion
U.S. TAX MONEY HELPS KEEP PALESTINIANS IN OPEN-AIR PRISON
Madeline Buthod • St. Louis
February 21, 2015

Regarding the Washington Post article “Israel’s Netanyahu spent $24,000 on takeout” (Feb. 18):

It reported that his exorbitant spending on personal affairs violates ethical standards and could potentially raise criminal issues. While spending tax dollars on takeout food should raise concerns, I’d like to argue that the occupation of the West Bank and mass murder of thousands of Gazans should raise much higher red flags about ethical violations.

I recently spent two weeks in Israel/Palestine as an Interfaith Peace-Builder delegate. During my visit, I met farmers whose orchard had been bulldozed by Israeli authorities. I met other farmers who were separated from their land by an electrified fence. I met people who had family members shot at, arrested or killed for nonviolently trying to keep the separation wall from being built on their farm. (Full letter)

amp header.600American Muslims for Palestine
US AID TO ISRAEL – 2015 FACT SHEET

Total American aid to Israel since 1949 exceeds $121 billion (in non-inflation-adjusted dollars).

In 2007, President George Bush and Israel entered into a 10-year Memoradum of Understanding that would give Israel $30 billion in Foreign Military Assitance.

At the completion of this 10-year-plan in 2018, the U.S. will have given Israel $30 billion in unconditional military aid. The United States awards this grant in one lump sum, unlike other foreign recipients, which receive their payments in installments. Israel uses the interest it earns on this amount to pay down its debt to the United States, valued at $455 million in January 2013. In his March 2013 visit to Israel, President Barack Obama pledged to continue multi-year aid packages to Israel through 2028. (Full report)

cpt-001Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine
WHOSE TOWNS ARE ALLOWED TO GROW? DEMOLITIONS IN IDHNA AND THE BAQA’A VALLEY

by Member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine
January 21, 2015

DEMOLITION IN IDHNA
Last week Christian Peacemaker Team members drove out of Hebron with our Palestinian partner organizations the Land Research Centre and Al-Haq. Our purpose of driving through the rocky hills with their terraced farms was to see the results of more Israeli demolitions that happened just before the recent big storm. While our destination was only thirteen kilometres as the crow flies – it was much longer, because we needed to navigate around the complex settler road system, and of course Palestinians aren’t allowed on them all.

We arrived in the town of Idhna, a village that that has existed since the Bronze Age. The Green Line (1949 armistice line) lies just a kilometre away, and from the village you can see the Israeli ‘security fence’ cutting across the Palestinian farmland. (Full report)

IMECInternational Middle East Media Center
10-YEAR-OLD BOY ATTACKED AND ARRESTED FOR PLAYING IN THE SNOW

Monday February 23, 2015

On the afternoon of the 21st of February Saleh Abu Shamsiya, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy, was attacked by settler youth in the Al-Khalil (Hebron) neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. (Full account)

ISRAEL BEGINS CUTTING OFF ELECTRICITY TO WEST BANK
Monday February 23, 2015
Israel’s Electric Corporation announced, Monday, that it will begin limiting the supply of electricity to a number of cities in the West Bank beginning from 2.00 p.m. today. (Full account)
_________
The Middle East Magazine

TROUBLED WATERS
Kerry Hutchinson,
February 2014

While statistics can be produced to manipulate whatever ‘fact’ the proposer wishes to establish as a ground truth, nature is oblivious to such human data manipulations – her truths are immutable. The man-made ‘truths’ over water in the Occupied Territories vary depending on whose statistics you believe. One set of figures show the Palestinians have adequate water supplies, whereas others indicate they are being denied access to even the most basic water needs. The reality involves vast disparity, widespread mismanagement and overall indifference from those in a position to instigate change.

Clearly, each side is stealing water from the other. Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmers and fence off access to Palestinian water sources, or turn them into ‘tourist attractions’, before denying access to Arabs on so called ‘security grounds’. Palestinians syphon off what they can, at personal risk, to circumvent the draconian restrictions imposed upon them. However, what remains undeniable is that while water is freely available to fill the swimming pools of some, it remains off-limits to others to drink or cultivate crops. (Full article, available from Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine; an organization of the Liberal Democrat Party of the UK.)

.

“REVENGE,” by Taha Muhammad Ali (1931-2011)
translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin. 21 December 2006.

At times … I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
into
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!
*
But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.
*
Likewise … I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbours he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.
*
But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbours or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I’d be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

“Revenge” was initially published by TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation, along with a short introduction to the poet and the poem by Peter Cole. The poem was read by Taha Muhammad Ali and Peter Cole at the 11th Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey. Taha Muhammad Ali lived in Nazareth. When he was not reading and writing poetry, he ran a souvenir shop. Peter Cole is a poet, translator and editor, and has been visiting professor at Wesleyan University and Middlebury College. He lives in Jerusalem. This poem is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) and can be accessed at http://www.commongroundnews.org.

Mandate Era postcard of Nazareth
Mandate Era postcard of Nazareth