About This Is Gaza

I write for Palestine

Jenin: a song for a bereaved Palestinian Camp

This is a very famous Palestinian song about Jenin Camp. Here is a quick translation. (see link below to listen to the song)

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“Who should save the Camp of Jenin?
It cried mournfully of destruction.
Who will be there for Balata Camp calling for Muslims?
-Why are you unmindful. silent and indifferent?
- My houses have been shelled by the warplanes of thieves and usurpers.
- My kids have been slain by the shells of the murderers.
- My fields have been burnt down by the hate of the damned Butcher.
- And all the loved ones have been torn apart, crying.

A mother is searching for her kid imprisoned under the rubble.
She runs in agony and calls between the ruins of Jenin:
My son, my darling, my beloved, are you dead or buried?
God, make this plight easy on me–You alone lift all the pain.

Jerusalem is weeping and Alaqsa Mosque is a prisoner.
And Church of the Nativity that has never been humiliated before
now is sieged with cannons, and guns and ambushes.
O, my people, Rise. Dust off the humiliation of the years.

“Who should save the Camp of Jenin?
It cried mournfully of destruction.
Who will be there for Balata Camp calling for Muslims?
-Why are you unmindful. silent and indifferent?”

Click below to listen

Jenin

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Gaza’s latest & most dangerous weapon revealed

Originally posted on Kia Ora Gaza:

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Why Gaza Writes Back …on the fifth anniversary of Israel’s bloody ‘Cast Lead’ war against Gaza.

By Yousef M. Aljamal

Gaza Writes Back is a collection of short stories written by young writers in Gaza, Palestine, edited by Refaat Alareer and published by Just World Publishing in the US.

Historically, the indigenous Arab people of Palestine have been subjected to all forms of brutal treatment at Zionists’ hands. The year 1948 witnessed the creation of Israel on the ruins of 531 ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians ended up refugees. The Zionist narrative of what happened has been overwhelmingly dominant. The prayers of the oppressed made little fuss on the International arena, as Israel made of David and Goliath-narrative mainstream, using its wide network of connections and diplomatic relations. The world memorized Israel’s claim of fighting “seven Arab armies in 1948 who wanted to destroy the Jewish…

View original 693 more words

“Gaza Writes Back” now available

Gaza Writes Back  book

Gaza Writes Back book

Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine, edited by Refaat Alareer is a compelling collection of short stories from fifteen young writers in Gaza, members of a generation that has suffered immensely under Israel’s siege and blockade. Their experiences, especially during and following Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive known as “Operation Cast Lead”, have fundamentally impacted their lives and their writing. Indeed, many of these writers saw the war as a catalyst for their writing, as they sought an outlet and a voice in its aftermath. They view the book as a means of preserving Palestinian memories and presenting their own narratives to the world without filters. Their words take us into the homes and hearts of moms, dads, students, children, and elders striving to live lives of dignity, compassion, and meaning in one of the world’s most embattled communities. (Some of the stories also take us with courage and empathy into the imagined world of Israelis living just on the other side of the great barriers Israel has built in and around Gaza and the West Bank to wall the Palestinians in.)

These stories are acts of resistance and defiance, proclaiming the endurance of Palestinians and the continuing resilience and creativity of their culture in the face of ongoing obstacles and attempts to silence them.

Whether tackling the tragedy that surrounds missile strikes and home raids, or the everyday indignities encountered by Palestinian refugees, Gaza Writes Back brings to life the real issues that the people of Gaza face. One prominent theme in many of the stories is the value placed on the wisdom of parents and grandparents. A sense of longing pervades the book, as the characters in the stories reveal desires ranging from the mundane to the complex—including, in several of the stories, a strong yearning to return to the characters’ long-cherished family homes and properties after many decades in exile from them. Social differences within Gaza are also sensitively explored. A few stories are especially difficult—but critical—to digest , for the vividness with which they depict the experiences of victims of Israeli military strikes and confront the legacy of violence and occupation, particularly on young people.

Readers will be moved by the struggles big and small that emerge from the well-crafted writing by these young people, and by the hope and courage that radiates from the authors’ biographies. The contributors are university students and recent graduates, Palestinians who have chosen to speak out in their second language, which is an “expressive way to be more creative in a world where words are significantly mighty,” according to Tasnim Hamouda. Another contributor, Nour El Borno, believes “that if a person can write effectively, it is his or her duty to get up, write, and help change this world to something better.”

Five years after Operation Cast Lead, these stories remind us that the pain lingers on and the people of Gaza will be forever scarred by the attack. Yet, the call for justice remains forceful and persistent, and these young Gazan writers refuse to let the world forget about them—their land, their people, and their story.

Product Description

This book is available for pre-order and will ship in early January, 2014. We can offer free shipping through December 31, 2013.

ISBN: 978-1-935982-35-7

Table of Contents: Gaza Writes Back

Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine

Edited by Refaat Alareer

The Stories
L for Life, by Hanan Habashi
One War Day, by Mohammed Suliman
Spared, by Rawan Yaghi
Canary, by Nour Al-Sousi
The Story of the Land, by Sarah Ali
Toothache in Gaza, by Sameeha Elwan
Will I Ever Get Out?, by Nour Al-Sousi
A Wall, by Rawan Yaghi
A Wish for Insomnia, by Nour El Borno
Bundles, by Mohammed Suliman
On a Drop of Rain, by Refaat Alareer
Please Shoot to Kill, by Jehan Alfarra
Omar X, by Yousef Aljamal
We Shall Return, by Mohammed Suliman
From Beneath, by Rawan Yaghi
Just Fifteen Minutes, by Wafaa Abu Al-Qomboz
House, by Refaat Alareer
Neverland, by Tasnim Hamouda
Lost at Once, by Elham Hilles
It’s My Loaf of Bread, by Tasnim Hamouda
Once Upon a Dawn, by Shahd Awadallah
The Old Man and the Stone, by Refaat Alareer
Scars, by Aya Rabah

Gaza Photo Gallery 5

Photographer: Mahmoud Abu Hamda. Check his FB page here.

https://www.facebook.com/Mahmoud.Abu.Hamda

click any photot, then click right/left arrow to see Pics in their original size.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 20,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Freshly Baked Souls

As fire balls and sparks descend,

And the little ones rejoice,

Look up, and cheer, unable to comprehend,

Sooner than they expect

They will be blown

(It’s none of their wishes

If only they had known!)

And more freshly grilled balls of flesh ascend.

And fall on full dishes

And fill the boxes.

And the hollow minds.

The full bellies.

They look down. Rejoice. Cheer.

“Freshly baked!”

“Freshly baked!”

“Who wants freshly baked flesh for breakfast?”

“Throw me a piece. “

“Throw me  four.

I have just eaten but crave for more.”

***

The hearts are not hearts.

The eyes can’t see

There are no eyes there

The bellies craving for more

A house destroyed except for the door

The family, all of them, gone

Save a photo album

That has to be buried with them

No one was left to cherish the memories

No one.

Except freshly baked souls in bellies.

Except for a poem .

I am You

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Two steps: one, two.
‏Look in the mirror:
‏The horror, the horror!
‏The butt of your M-16 on my cheekbone
‏The yellow patch it left
‏The bullet-shaped scar expanding
‏Like a swastika,
‏Snaking across my face,
‏The heartache flowing
‏Out of my eyes dripping
‏Out of my nostrils piercing
‏My ears flooding
‏The place.
‏Like it did to you
‏70 years ago
‏Or so.

***
‏I am just you.
‏I am your past haunting
‏Your present and your future.
‏I strive like you did.
‏I fight like you did.
‏I resist like you resisted
‏And for a moment,
‏I’d take your tenacity
‏As a model,
‏Were you not holding
‏The barrel of the gun
‏Between my bleeding
‏Eyes.

***

One. Two.
‏The very same gun
‏The very same bullet
‏That had killed your Mom
‏ And killed your Dad
‏Is being used,
‏Against me,
‏By you.
***
‏Mark this bullet and mark in your gun.
‏If you sniff it, it has your and my blood.
‏It has my present and your past.
‏It has my present.
‏It has your future.
‏That’s why we are twins,
‏Same life track
‏Same weapon
‏Same suffering
‏Same facial expressions drawn
‏On the face of the killer,
‏Same everything
‏Except that in your case
‏The victim has evolved, backward,
‏Into a victimizer.
‏I tell you.
‏I am you.
‏Except that I am not the you of now.

***
‏I do not hate you.
‏I want to help you stop hating
‏And killing me.
‏I tell you:
‏The noise of your machine gun
‏Renders you deaf
‏The smell of the powder
‏Beats that of my blood.
‏The sparks disfigure
‏My facial expressions.
‏Would you stop shooting?
‏For a moment?
‏Would you?

***
‏All you have to do
‏Is close your eyes
‏(Seeing these days
‏Blinds our hearts.)
‏Close your eyes, tightly
‏So that you can see
‏In your mind’s eye.
‏Then look into the mirror.
‏One. Two.
‏I am you.
‏I am your past.
‏And killing me,
‏You kill you.