“The Bird was Crying…”. An Unwritten (GAZA) Poem on an (ISRAELI) Bomb

“The Bird was Crying…”. An Unwritten (GAZA) Poem on an (ISRAELI) Bomb

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…but as you can see the house is gone, now we have to leave too we’re all going to leave, we are leaving we have no refuge now. Ahmad speaks, from the ruins of Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza

 

“…we  found a bird in our home

chirping, chirping

chirping, meaning it was crying…”

Ahmad speaks, from the ruins of Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza

 

Self-elegy is an established genre in classical Arabic poetry, with roots going back to pre-Islamic times.” Sinan Antoon, translator, in the Preface to Mahmoud Darwish. “In the Presence of Absence” (2006)

 

 “There was no such thing as Palestinians.” Golda Meir , Israeli prime minister, June 15, 1969

 

by, Ahmad,  (Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza)

 

 

This is our dream:

 

It is the only one we have

we have put our hearts into it

this is our savings our money

we saved our money shekel by shekel

so we could build an apartment

and have land

 

…but as you can see the house is gone…

now we have to leave too

we’re all going to leave, we are leaving

we have no refuge now

we need to go and set up a tent

like everyone else

we need find a place to stay

we’ll be like everyone else

we’re not even involved in politics

we’re citizens and have displaced people too

 

and for the displaced among us

may God have mercy on them

for they have no fault nothing

 

and the story goes like this

 

I was sleeping in the middle

of the night

around 1 or 1.30 normal time

I was sleeping

an explosion happened

I thought our house is gone like this

I thought we were hit

I felt like it was over

we were sleeping

it felt like I was in a dream

still dreaming

our ears were ringing

dust – I can’t see anything

it’s like night

and we can’t see a thing.

 

Then my brother shouts

and the whole house is shouting

screaming

And we don’t know yet

(we’re still not fully conscious

still not aware of ourselves).

 

I got up. I saw something.

My brother was shouted.

I started calling in the street

Oh people, come help us,

come bring light for us!”

 

“Bring light! Come”.

 

And the people came to light up.

And my brother under me

and the house stones above him.

 

I hold the stones.

I start removing them.

And my sister’s husband

buried under the rubble.

The whole house the whole thing

destroyed.

 

We found my sister in the street.

The displaced people amongst us,

we started finding their flesh in the ground.

Another one, half and half…

And one more…

 

We found my mother thrown on the street

and my little brother

embracing

him.

 

We found them,

at the house door.

And my little brother – his eye is gone

and my mother – her entire face is gone

and

her

legs…

 

I swear I don’t know what to say

 

And my sister who was in the room

sleeping too

the rubble was all over her.

(Now my sister needs to go

and get treatment.

She’ll need at least

two months.)

 

Her ribs are broken.

Her legs are broken.

Her back.

Her neck

 

all broken

while

she was sleeping.

 

And we’re not involved

in this or that.

 

We didn’t expect it at all.

I swear if we had expected it, maybe

if they had warned us

it would have been easier

better

 

better the property

than the family

we are not upset for the house

we are upset about

those

who are gone from us

 

 

and this was our dream

but the dream didn’t come true

it evaporated.

 

Now we feel like

we are still in a dream,

still in a dream

we’re all the same.

 

I keep saying

I’m still young

i haven’t seen anything in life yet.

I’m like these people:

 

…in God’s hands

 

what can we do?

 

To each his fate: that is

what will happen

to him.

 

We have a  bird

the Ayesh Family, they used to raise

birds, pigeons and ducks

raise all these kinds of birds

 

we found a bird in our home

chirping chirping

chirping meaning

it was crying

 

the bird was crying…

the bird was crying

the bird was crying…”

 

Words by Ahmad,  (Nuseirat refugee camp – Gaza)

 

(Transcribed & adapted by séamas carraher)

 

Nuseirat refugee camp is a busy and crowded camp located in the middle of the Gaza Strip…

https://www.unrwa.org/where-we-work/gaza-strip/nuseirat-camp

 

29 November, 2023. The Al-Nuseirat Camp is a built-up area in central Gaza, established for Palestinian refugees after 1948. Airstrikes have destroyed buildings in the camp area, killing residents.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-67570173

 

November 25 – “An Israeli airstrike hit … Nuseirat refugee camp – south of the point in Gaza where the enclave’s population were ordered to evacuate.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/25/scarred-for-life-the-families-still-seeking-dead-amid-gaza-rubble

 

Original Video

Ahmad speaks of his love for animals in front of his bombed house, Nusseirat refugee camp (11.2023)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRKDzhrLte4

 

Video posted by Rebecca Ruth Gould

Poetry and Protest

https://www.youtube.com/@poetry-and-protest/videos

https://rrgould.hcommons.org/erasing-palestine/

 

Image 1 (Cover)

Gaza girl killed by Israeli forces in the Israeli offensive on Gaza Strip. Day 14 of the offensive. Gaza War (2008–09).

Al Jazeera, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Some Online Responses to Ahmed’s Words

 

“My heart is with you Palestinian people” @leticiabolanos5312

 

“I feel pain, guilt and shame at not being able to do anything for my brethren in need… I am making dua in all my prayers. I know dua is the biggest weapon of the believers. But I still feel pain when I eat, when I drink, when I know my brothers and sisters are at the mercy of Israel for their food and water and accommodation. Sometimes I eat my foods that I loved before but now they taste like they have lost their flavour. I feel pain and helplessness when I sleep in my bed and my beloved Muslim family sleep in tents. And I am angry and hurt that our leaders did nothing. Nothing!!!! They sat in their comfortable homes while bombs fell on our brothers. They just dressed smartly and came on TV to condemned Israel for her crimes. Ooooo big boys! They did nothing except pledge some money. And we don’t even know if that money ever left their safes. I hope you all can stand before Allah and try to worm your way out of your duty to protect your brothers and help them in their hardships. I would hate you if you weren’t Muslims. May Allah guide you. You are an embarrassment to the ummah and to your own souls.” @IslamIsTheSolution98

 

“Well we all can blame Hamas for it curses on Hamas the shaitan.” @garyboss583

“isreal bombed these civilians. That was their choice, don’t blame Hamas. That is all on Isreal.” @Cui-bono987

 

“Now why won’t these children want revenge? Everything is stolen from him. He doesn’t have a future like a normal child. Israel! Stop what you are doing.” @michellesdairies8411

 

“Heartbreaking…”…@zameisie7016

 

Even the bird was crying.” @opalia8997

 

“The Most High God despises the shedding of innocent blood, oppression, lying, stealing, trespassing, pride, greed, sowing seeds of discord among men, hatred, anger, impatience,  violence, injustice, unkindness, unfairness, failure to care for the poor, orphan, & widow, failure to be welcoming to the stranger, lack of love & lack of mercy.

The Zionist State of Israel is guilty of all of these…

I pray that the Most High God intercedes on behalf of true obedient believers everywhere; healing our hearts, minds, & bodies.”@veronicaharwick9013

 

“The Palestinians have suffered enough. Stop the suffering…” @abidb.601

 

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

29-November, 2023

According to the Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza…

The office … stated that, since the start of hostilities, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including about 6,150 children and 4,000 women. The GMO, which is under the de facto authorities in Gaza, has been reporting casualties since the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza stopped doing so on 11 November, following the collapse of services and communications at hospitals in the north.

The fatality toll since 7 October includes at least 198 Palestinian medics, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health; 112 UN staff; 70 journalists and media workers, according to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate; and at least 15 Civil Defense staff, according to the Palestinian Civil Defense.

Overall, 75 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israeli ground operations, according to official Israeli sources.

 https://www.ochaopt.org/content/hostilities-gaza-strip-and-israel-flash-update-54

 

 



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