trying to find the words for gaza…

i feel like i can only write. and write only about gaza. i’ve been doing this for six days. not just here, but rania and i have been writing op-eds together, trying to place them in american newspapers and have yet to find success. it seems like others do not want to read the words about gaza. the truth about gaza. and yet i write. i feel like it is all i can do, and really it is nothing. the bombing continues. no one is outraged, no one in power anyway. no one with the power to stop this carnage. and while i spend all this time writing about gaza i am supposed to be finishing a book review of suheir hammad’s brilliant new book of poems, breaking poems. i feel like i don’t have it in me. and yet her words sustain me, especially because these poems were written during the summer of 2006 when israeli terrorists invaded lebanon and gaza and did what they do best: massacre and devastate. i am sure i have posted part of this poem of hammad’s before, “break (word)” including the video for it on youtube, but i keep coming back to this poem in which she tells us “we no longer know language” because it becomes so impossible to imagine in images or in any other form the bloody devastation. the last stanza, especially, reflects my current state of mind:

words are against us
there is a math only subtracts

the words that are against us are those of israeli terrorists like tzipi livni who said, with a straight face, today:

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, has again rejected a French proposal for a ceasefire to allow aid into the Gaza Strip saying there is “no humanitarian crisis”.

yes, words are indeed against us. and as the words are against us, spewing lies all over the bloody massacre of the bodies we must count, the martyrs we must name. remember. honor. there are other people who have the words. i added a new category of links on the side under the heading “gaza” with a number of blogs of people based there. their words, especially, are the words we need to read now.

there are new petitions to sign if people are listening to our words:

1. In support of the Palestinian human rights community call for international action

2. Urgent Appeal for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza

and dr. mona el farra reminds us that we need to donate money to middle east children’s alliance to help the people of gaza (barbara lubin is like no other when it comes to getting aid into gaza; it is the single best place to donate money):

Dr.Mona El-Farra is flying to Cairo on Saturday to oversee the transportation from Egypt to Gaza of 5 tonnes
of essential medical relief.
The consignment was to be taken by boats of the Free Gaza campaign, which can take up to one tonne per boat. But after an Israeli gunboat rammed and damaged one such relief boat in international waters earlier this week alternative means had to be found. The World Health Organisation is helping to organise this emergency relief.

The consignment is taking anaesthetic, orthopaedic surgery equipment for adults and children, pain killers as well as milk powder and general medication. These will be distributed through the Red Crescent Society to hospitals and medical centres. The consignment is funded by Middle East Children’s Alliance and by a variety of organisations in US, Europe and Britain, including the Liverpool Friends of Palestine.

Once the emergency is over, Dr.El-Farra hopes to continue a project to introduce water purification into Gaza schools,
to provide drinking water for children. This has the support of Middle East Children’s Alliance but has had to be suspended
due to the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

if you like to help please contact

ma’an is reporting 418 dead, 2,100 injured now, though al jazeera is saying 428 dead. hammad tells us that it is only math; even the math does not compute.

ghada ageel has words to describe what she is feeling, albeit at a painful distance from her family:

There is nothing worse in life than being glued to the TV screen, watching one’s nation being slaughtered on an hourly basis while able to do nothing. There is nothing more painful in this universe than hearing the tears and cries of one’s mother on the phone and be unable to hug her, to wipe her tears or to comfort her with any words or means. There is nothing more terrifying than living through every night in fear that the coming morning will bring the worst possible news a person can bear, that a member of one’s immediate family has been killed. And last but not least there is nothing more horrible on this globe than something happening to a family member when he or she is barred from returning to his or her family and home.

Like many other members of my community, I wonder what is happening to humanity in the 21st century that makes it deaf to the cries of Gaza’s children and of its entire population, trapped in their open-air prison for more than two years now. Why is this so-called free world blind, deaf and dumb towards these atrocities, again and again?

heba el-sakka has words to describe what happened to her when her thesis was destroyed by american-made bombs dropped by israeli terrorists in american-made f16s:

When Heba El-Sakka heard the thundering sound of the Israeli bombardment, she was, just like every time, terrified to death. But it never crossed her mind the target this time was her university.

“My graduation project, the fruit of five years of hard study, vanished in a blink on an eye,” the engineering student at the Islamic University in Gaza (IUG) told with tears rolling down her face.

“It can’t be. It feels like the missiles took away a piece of me.”

Israeli warplanes have fired air-to-ground missiles at the IUG, the biggest and oldest scientific edifice in the impoverished Gaza Strip, on Monday and Tuesday.

heba has the words to accurately describe her feelings about what happened to her institution of higher learning. i tried to find the words in relation to this bombing, as well as the rest of the american-israeli terrorist project in gaza to see if might get my colleagues in the american studies association to revisit the boycott proposal i offered them a few years ago–the same time hammad wrote that poem–the last time israeli-american terrorists bombed gaza, and at that time lebanon too. of course these professors have lots of words, words that clearly say to me: well, we think that it is okay for gazans to die in this massacre that our tax dollars pay for; we don’t want to squelch the academic freedom of israeli terrorists. we want to make sure that they can continue to produce the knowledge that can build bigger and better terrorist bombs to kill more palestinians, more lebanese. we don’t want to harm their freedom of speech. dialogue is much better. yes, sixty-one years of dialogue and ethnic cleansing has gotten us where exactly? their silence is complicity. they too are responsible. they, too, have blood on their hands. shame on them. even neve gordon and jeff halper’s words did not move them to consider their complicity:

Not one of the nearly 450 presidents of American colleges and universities who prominently denounced an effort by British academics to boycott Israeli universities in September 2007 have raised their voice in opposition to Israel’s bombardment of the Islamic University of Gaza earlier this week. Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, who organized the petition, has been silent, as have his co-signatories from Princeton, Northwestern, and Cornell Universities, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Most others who signed similar petitions, like the 11,000 professors from nearly 1,000 universities around the world, have also refrained from expressing their outrage at Israel’s attack on the leading university in Gaza. The artfully named Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, which organized the latter appeal, has said nothing about the assault.

meanwhile, as american academics sit in their comfy offices, enjoying their academic freedom and privileges (because it is a privilege and not a right) palestinian academics are beseeching us to join in the call to boycott this terrorist state of israel. here is their statement in full:

Occupied Ramallah, Palestine – 27 December 2008: Today, the Israeli occupation army committed a new massacre in Gaza, causing the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including a yet unknown number of school children who were headed home from school when the first Israeli military strikes started.

This latest bloodbath, although far more ruthless than all its predecessors, is not Israel’s first. It culminates months of an Israeli siege of Gaza that should be widely condemned and prosecuted as an act of genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip.

Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th year of existence the same way it has established itself – perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 1948, the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land, partly through massacres like Deir Yassin; today, the Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel’s indiscriminate bombing.

Prof. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law expert at Princeton University, described Israel’s siege of Gaza last year, when it was still not comparable in its severity to the current situation, as follows:

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.”

The most brutal episode of this “collective tragedy” is what we have seen today.

Israel’s war crimes and other grave violations of international law in Gaza as well as in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, could not have been perpetrated without the direct or indirect complicity of world governments, particularly the United States, the European Union, Egypt, and other Arab regimes.

While the US government has consistently sponsored, bankrolled and protected from international censure Israel’s apartheid and colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine, the EU was able in the past to advocate a semblance of respect for international law and universal human rights. That distinction effectively ended on December 9th, when the EU Council decided unanimously to reward Israel’s criminal disregard of international law by upgrading the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Israel clearly understood from this decision that the EU condones its actions against the Palestinians under its occupation. Palestinian civil society also got the message: the EU governments have become no less complicit in Israel’s war crimes than their US counterpart.

The large majority of world governments, particularly in the global south, share part of the blame, as well. By continuing business as usual with Israel, in trade agreements, arms deals, academic and cultural ties, diplomatic openings, they have provided the necessary background for the complicity of world powers and, consequentially, for Israel’s impunity. Furthermore, their inaction within the United Nations is inexcusable.

Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly prescribed in a recent address before the Assembly the only moral way forward for the world’s nations in dealing with Israel:

“More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.”

Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel’s massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of international law and Palestinian rights. Without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.

i have no more words. because my words are falling on deaf ears and i cannot bear it. i cannot bear the thought of people ignoring this crime against humanity. so i will offer some images now that hopefully will give you the idea. i got some of these from the people’s geography blog.







do you get it now? will you do something now? gazans are trapped in a prison and being bombed to hell with american-made weapons. they are being slaughtered. it may not be a gas chamber but make no mistake about it: israeli terrorists learned well from their history in nazi germany. right now the only people in this israeli-terrorist created prison who will be allowed to leave–and this after 6 days of incessant bombing–are foreigners. every other war people flee. here, no. palestinians may not flee. not this time. what the f)(# are you going to do about it?


2 thoughts on “trying to find the words for gaza…

  1. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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