Erasure: 45 years of Israeli Occupation

In 1967 when Abdul Karim Sabawi’s home city Gaza fell under Israeli occupation he, like many other Palestinians was uprooted and forced into exile.  He wrote this poem on that painful first morning when he woke up in Jordan to realize he may never be allowed to return.  The poem was translated from Arabic into English by his daughter Samah Sabawi.

When you were parched

We quenched your thirst

With our blood

Now

We carry your burden

Disgraced

We cry in shame

When asked

Where do you come from?

Dishonoured we die

If only the stray bullets

From the occupier’s guns

Were merciful

That they pierced through our legs

It only they tore through our knees

If only we sunk in your sand

Deep to our necks

If only we got stuck

And became the salt of your earth

The nutrients in your fertile soil

If only we didn’t leave

The gates of our hearts

Are wide open to misery

Don’t ask us where this wind is blowing

Don’t ask us about a house

Or windows

Or trees

The Bulldozers were here

The Bulldozers were here

And the houses in our village

Fell…Like a row of decayed teeth

They haven’t colonized Mars yet

And the moon is barren

Uninhabitable

So carry your children

Your memories

And follow me

We can live in the books of history

They’ll write about us…

“The wicked Bedouins

Landed in Baghdad

They landed in Yafa

They landed in Grenada

Then they moved on

They packed their belongings

And rode on their camels

They didn’t leave their print on the red clay

And all their artifacts

Were faded

With the passing of the years”

Does anyone in the world care?

Does anyone care?

What is it worth

To be an Arab…

A Native American…

Or a dinosaur


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