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Thursday, August 21, 2014


by Laurie Winestock

Image source: Global Voices Online

We are all Gaza

That is why we do not see you, Gaza
That is why you are the blind spot that does not diminish
Why we all allow you to cry like a bird, stripped of feathers
While we are without hearing - deaf to distraction
While you try to breach the sea and reach another world

That is why when we see you torn in half
We are quick to eat large meals of flesh, while you search for water

We are all Gaza
That is why we know nothing
Nothing about Gaza, and want to know nothing
About Gaza

Why our minds glaze at the thought of the nights and days
Of Gaza,

We are all Gaza

Gaza, hunted down, trapped for an eternity
Generation after generation
With enemies to the north and south
Enemies who will not accept Gaza but will not reject Gaza
Because they need to feed on Gaza's pain
And because they use the fear in Gaza to measure their own fear
And remind themselves that they can control it

We are all Gaza

That is why we say to ourselves, Gaza, what is it?

Because we know we are all Gaza
That we are all here under
A merciless sun that we try to outwit
Surrounded by a lost childhood with terror in our hearts
That we must deny every day

Because we think we are not vulnerable
and we know we will always be
Because we dreamt we had a childhood but we know for certain
that the childhood of the children of Gaza vanished
Into air and smoke

We are all Gaza
Not knowing who we really are
Because we have watched you Gaza, suffocated
Decade after decade
And knowing this we know we cannot be, or hear, or smell
Our own flesh too long
Better not to know

That we are all Gaza
And that watching Gaza be forgotten
We have forgotten who we are

Laurie Winestock is a poet and writer who has lived extensively in both Israel and the U.S.  She is an activist and has witnessed the Israeli Palestinian conflict from close range for many decades. Her work has been published in Jewish Currents Magazine, as well as heard on San Francisco Poetry Open Mic Podcast. She can be heard reading at numerous open mics in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is now living, writing and studying Arabic.