gazing gaza


i’m taking a break from finishing up my review of suheir hammad’s breaking poems, a book that i feel is more important to carry in my purse than my wallet and my passport. i feel like i cannot breathe without her words. when i feel like i am suffocating from the barbarity that is israeli terrorism in gaza her words give me oxygen. i read these poems every day, multiple times per day. as i was writing about a poem towards the end of her book, a poem called “break (construction) paper,” i was struck yet again by how much her words–written a couple of years ago–speak this this present moment. because she is prescient. because israeli terrorism is a cycle that never ends for sixty one years. here is the opening stanza of that poem:

why gaza can die so easy in front of every one and no one say no gaza
as maze gaza as haze of nonhumans wa generalized attacks militant
population no such thing as civilian

once again we all watch on television the massacre that increases and no one says, no one does anything. nineteen days. 997 martyrs, 4,525 wounded.

suheir sent me a poem the other day and in the subject line for the email was “light marcy.” while the poem is not written for me or about me the idea that she thought of me and to say that to me is just the sort of reinforcement, support i need to keep working. i need it more than food and sleep. here is the poem she sent:


a woman wears a bell carries a light calls searches
through madness of deir yessin calls for rafah for bread
orange peel under nails blue glass under feet gathers
children in zeitoun sitting with dead mothers she unearths
tunnels and buries sun onto trauma a score and a day rings
a bell she is dizzy more than yesterday less than
tomorrow a zig zag back dawaiyma back humming suba

back shatilla back ramleh back jenin back il khalil back il quds
all of it all underground in ancestral chests she rings
a bell promising something she can’t see faith is that
faith is this all over the land under the belly
of wind she perfumed the love of a burning sea

concentrating refugee camp
crescent targeted red

a girl’s charred cold face dog eaten body
angels rounded into lock down shelled injured shock

weapons for advancing armies clearing forests sprayed onto a city
o sage tree human skin contact explosion these are our children

she chimes through nablus back yaffa backs shot under
spotlight phosphorous murdered libeled public relations



a bell fired in jericho rings through blasted windows a woman
carries bones in bags under eyes disbelieving becoming
numb dumbed by numbers front and back gaza onto gaza
for gaza am sorry gaza am sorry she sings for the whole
powerless world her notes pitch perfect the bell a death toll

more words for gaza–we are chiming bells, we are trying to speak out and yet our bells fall on deaf ears. still no changes. still more deafness from the world. deaf, blind, and dumb. here are some visual images to go with hammad’s poetic images, images that raise similar questions about why the world (of course when i say this i do not mean the people in the streets, but rather the world leaders whose silence shows so clearly their complicity in this massacre, this genocide) is silent about gaza, about palestine:

but i am feeling inspired by suheir hammad (and of course rania as always…) this morning so i want to focus on the positive. so waking up this morning to the news of more rockets fired into 1948 palestine was very welcome news–that someone else is resisting israeli terrorism and colonialism:

At least three rockets fired from southern Lebanon have hit a northern Israeli city.

Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said on Wednesday that “three rockets fired into Israel landed outside the city of Kiryat Shmona”.

They were reportedly fired from the area of Habaniyeh in southern Lebanon.

The rockets landed in empty fields and no one was hurt, an Israeli emergency official said.

Within minutes of the attack, Israel responded by firing eight rockets into the south of Lebanon, a Lebanese official said.

meanwhile israeli terrorist mark regev is finally getting caught in his web of lies–live on television:

and from iran today–while their boat was stopped by israeli terrorists from reaching gaza–the issuing of decrees supporting boycott in the strongest possible terms is something we need to see around the world:

Iranian authorities issued an order last week banning international companies from working in Iran if they are found to have any shares owned by Israelis. And on Sunday, the Iranian government said it plans to impose sanctions on foreign companies dealing with Israel but it is not clear how or when will it be carried out.

In another gesture of support for Palestinians, Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a religious opinion, or fatwa, declaring the purchase of any Israeli goods or trade with Israeli companies to be forbidden.

greece is also rising up to protest the use of their country for american support of israeli terrorism with its materiel:

Left-wing opposition parties said Tuesday they will go ahead with a protest at a Greek port despite the U.S. decision not to use the facility for an arms shipment to Israel.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said plans for shipping U.S. arms to Israel had been changed to avoid Greece.

a hotel in paris canceled an israeli tourism fair:

Confronted with the indignation expressed by so many people in France and abroad who had heard about the scheduled Israeli Tourism Fair in this great Parisian hotel, the management of this establishment has made the decision to cancel this event, which was supposed to open on January 15.

The hotel’s management, as the Paris police prefecture has confirmed to us, has indicated that it has disinvited the 50 Israeli exhibitors who had planned to present their tourism products.

there is a great new effort here in beirut working to track those around the world who collaborate with israeli terrorism by arming the zionist entity.

labor organizers in the united states are following canada’s lead and organizing for boycott:

Yes, the Israel lobby seeks to silence opponents of Israeli apartheid. All the more need for trade unionists to break that silence by speaking out against Israeli military occupation, for the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and for the elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

Therefore, we reaffirm our support for the international boycotts, sanctions and divestment campaign, including an immediate end to all support for Israel–including that provided by U.S. labor leaders.

Issued by NYCLAW co-conveners (other affiliations listed for identification only):
Larry Adams, former president, NPMHU Local 300;
Michael Letwin, former president, UAW Local 2325/Association of Legal Aid Attorneys;
Brenda Stokely, former president, AFSCME DC 1707, and co-chair, Million Worker March

and we have american indian activist russell means speaking out in solidarity with palestinians in gaza and more generally:

The US was created to break international laws,” Means said, adding that it is obvious today that this is the pattern of the U.S. Means said the United States was initiated as an outlaw and renegade nation and that “today, its imperial policies mean that Israel is a surrogate of the US, receiving aid from the U.S. With the combined US and international aid, Israeli receives $12 billion a year for its “military and the settlers in the West Bank.”

Means said 80 percent of the people in the West Bank are paid to stay there. “It is America who pays them to stay there. But even in Israel, where there is a free press and not everyone agrees with Israel waging war on Palestine. He said 20 to 30 percent of the people in Israel are against the war on Palestine. Like the United States, Israel has been at war every year of its existence.”

Means often refers to Israel as the 51st state, of warmongers and imperialists. “America and Israel are based on lies, resulting in the massive deaths in Iraq. Now, the US and Israel are focused on Iran because its oil reserves.” Means said Indian lands have become “open air concentration camps.” “If you chose to stay on the reservation, you are guaranteed to be poor, unless you are part of the colonial apparatus set up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” he said.

“On Indian lands, everyone fights to be part of the tribal governments because that is where the money is. Everyone fights to be part of the colonial system. The only way you can be part of the colonial system is to obey. Those returning home to Indian lands cannot ‘rock the boat,’ demand their treaty rights or their rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.”

Means said the American Indian Movement made people aware that the US Constitution was based upon that of the Iroquois Six Nations. “However, the US Constitution only includes one-third of the Great Law of Peace. If all of the Great Law of Peace had been adopted, this country would be much different and much wealthier.” However, it was turned into a country of consumers. He said what you get with a country of consumers is greed. “What is going on in Palestine is going on in America. The United States is taking away the homes of the people.” Now in the United States, there is “communism from the left” and “right-wing socialism.” He said the problem with socialism is that it is bereft of consensus and spirituality.

the guardian newspaper came up with a terrific interactive map that you can study in order to see the timeline of israeli terrorism over the last 19 days. here is a screen shot of what it looks like:


you cannot say you do not know. you can say you don’t want to know. you are indifferent. you don’t care. but we have live images, live words, live actions all around us. so do something about it now.

note: the youtube video above may be taken down shortly as a part of israel’s terrorism of the media. so watch it quickly!


One thought on “gazing gaza

  1. i couldnt agree with you more about suheir hammad. her work has always been so inspiring. since i got breaking poems, ive been reading it over and over and every time i find something new it. i can’t really explain it- i think in times like these we are need of her words more than ever.

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