Monday, July 5, 2010

final version of that poem

There was and there was not

I don’t write poems
but, in any case,
poems are not poems.

Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine.
I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians.
They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing,
and that land theft was not land theft.

When naive old me saw freedom fighters, they patiently showed me
that they were not freedom fighters,
and that resistance was not resistance.

And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation
they benevolently enlightened me so I could see that arrogance
was not arrogance,
oppression was not oppression,
and humiliation was not humiliation.

I saw misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
But they told me that they were experts in misery, racism, inhumanity
and concentration camps and that I have to take their word for it:
this was not misery,
not racism,
not inhumanity, and,
not a concentration camp.

Over the years they’ve taught me so many things:
invasion was not invasion,
occupation was not occupation,
colonialism was not colonialism, and,
apartheid was not apartheid.

They opened my simple mind to even more complex truths
that my poor brain could not on its own compute:
Having nuclear weapons was not having nuclear weapons;
Not having weapons of mass destruction was having weapons of mass destruction.
And, a democratic election (in the Gaza Strip) was not a democratic election.
Having second-class citizens (in Israel) was democratic.

So you’ll excuse me if I am not surprised to learn today that there are
more things that I thought were evident that are not.
Peace activists are not peace activists,
piracy is not piracy,
and the massacre of unarmed people is not the massacre of unarmed people.

I have such a limited brain and my ignorance is unlimited.
And they’re so fucking intelligent. Really.


  1. Gamda ya ma3alem..Like the final amended version...theres already a youtube video with ur words superimposed on some powerful images!!

    was really good seeing u at the AFF...shoof di ba'a..i wrote it a few days after the flotilla as well and performed it last week at the Leichhardt Hebron Festival...

    Manual to a Massacre

    To those suspended in the salty waters of life roaming in a sea of oblivion, please be aware that the floating devices of death could implode your integrity and steadfast passion for justice into splattered shards and debased debris of internecine intentions used for Israeli Defence Force (IDF) investigations. Effigies burning lacerated bodies on seashores are wounded marks that delineate dissolving territories into nihilistic waves of a dead sea. The following jingoistic terms will clarify the proper rules of engagement that conflagrate international law:

    Palestinians – a people who wait.

    Gaza - non place on a road map to nowhere.

    Flotilla – historically a Spanish warship. Currently, a buoyant rusty shed of humanitarian refuse housing broken wheelchairs that transport paralysed senses and delicately mute figurines. Contrary to other definitions put forward by (Ha)Bibi, it is definitely a love boat.

    IDF Commandos – most moral of men to embrace violence professionally in their coarse veins converting citizens of dual nationalities (i.e. Australian) into necropolitical narcissists.

    Mavi Marmara – blue marble stone that turns to red with infusions of haemorrhaging haemoglobin and transfusions of deadly detritus.

    Apartheid – not just a South African phenomenon of politicide, nor a state of exception but an ultimate state of fallen disgrace.

    Poetry – to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric, to write poetry after Deir Yassin is tragic.

    Writing – a crippled labour in the face of the ineluctability of limbs flailing, people waiting, mothers wailing, moral barricading and prolonged moments of agitating over words... that are ultimately failing.

    Justice – impossible in its promise to come.

    Irony – sorely needed in these times.

    Palestine – more than just a cause.

    Farid Farid

  2. Thanks Farid. very nice to read and would have been nice to hear you perform it.
    Can't see the you tube. can you please post it.