Vijay Prashad: What You Bomb, a poem for Gaza

Four-year-old Palestinian girl Shayma Al-Masri, who hospital officials said was wounded in an Israeli air strike that killed her mother and two of her siblings
Four-year-old Palestinian girl Shayma Al-Masri, who hospital officials said was wounded in an Israeli air strike that killed her mother and two of her siblings

You encage two million people into 140 square miles. You are surprised when the people create tunnels to smuggle goods, to resist.

You bomb hospitals, you bomb schools, you bomb water plants, you bomb sewers – and you want us to feel sorry for you.

You have politicians who say they want to kill all Gazans, academics who call for rape as war’s weapon. And you are silent? Where are you?

Your arms have killed hundreds, injured thousands, displaced tens of thousands. You clap, you cheer. You weep when your soldiers fall.

On which side of the border should my tears fall? On the side of the bombers or the side of the bombed?

Your morality is challenged, your ethics on fire. All you can say, in bad faith, is Hamas, Hamas, Hamas.

You kill a child. Hamas. You bomb a school. Hamas. You bomb a UN building. Hamas. You bomb a disability center. Hamas. Hamas. Hamas.

For you Hamas has become a full-stop, an exclamation point, a digression, a shaggy dog, a golden ring, a do-not-go-to-jail card.

Who are you that you take shelter in five letters – Hamas – when entire families are wiped out in your name?

What you bomb is not Hamas. It is Palestine. Not a dream, but a people. Not a refugee camp, but a country alive in its peoples’ hearts.

Samah, samah, samah*

* Samah, the reverse of Hamas, is an Arabic word that means Mercy.

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4 Comments

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  1. Reblogged this on Drivel and Dialectic and commented:
    There’s a very strong feeling that Israel and its defenders have used Hamas as a scapegoat and have made it out to be the root cause of every ill to befall the Palestinians living in Gaza. It’s convenient and doesn’t require a lot of thinking. It’s also a red herring in the discourse on Palestine, because the occupation predates Hamas by 20 years. This poem by Vijay Prashad captures the frustration at this kind of thinking rather well.

  2. Reblogged this on Fazl's Blah and commented:
    Nice poem to counter the hysterical shrieks of ‘Hamas! Hamas! Hamas!’ we hear all the time from the Isreal lobby, especially via its mouthpiece, the BBC.

  3. […] The following article was written by Vijay Prashad for Frontline on March 21, 2014 and republished here with permission. The original can be found here. Prashad had been previously published on Hummus For Thought with his poem on the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza entitled ‘What you bomb: a poem for Gaza‘. […]

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