Blog Archive

Blog Archive – October, 2009

Gaza: No Anniversary

October 30, 2009

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I cannot fail to remember Gaza. I do not need the latest report of a human rights organization to evoke the images. I do not need the UN’s Gladstone Report, or the anniversary of the latest massacre, or an appeal for funds to repair a hospital, or the day of solidarity coming up January 1, 2010—a New Year. Gaza is part of our lives. A shameful part. Occasionally we see an image, if we search, and only if we search, of a bandaged body, or a crushed shell of a home, or a grave. I cannot imagine this endless year that a million Gazans have lived without us. They are still waiting. The name Hamas chills the public, and any sympathizers withdraw into a corner in their confusion and shame. Last March I took part in a series of short presentations at Brecht Forum in NYC called “We Are Gaza” organized by my colleague Fawzia Afzal-Khan. A lot of passion filled the room and the audience along with the performers seemed self-gratified. They had dared to be part of this memory—for indeed it takes courage in the US to openly declare in Amreeka: “We are Gaza”. A five-page account of current statistics circulated. Grisly statistics; I remember them. A month ago, a friend circulated a series of poems from Gaza penned by Atef Abu Seif. It’s called “A Dead Life: Stories from the Time of Gaza”. Here are two.

There used to be five of us. He was not the first to be born, or the last

He was not even in the middle

It was not his luck to be firstborn, to be indulged most

He also was not the last to arrive, the final cluster on the wine and sugar crystallized.

He was not the symbol of glad tidings, where middle is best

His birth did not suggest anything in the history of the family.

Yet, in spite of all that, he was the most spoiled and closest to our parents’ hearts, most privileged, most rewarded.

It was Joseph, whom we envied for the space people made for him in their hearts

We did not throw him in the well and we did not sing at his departure. We cried!

Now we must live without our jealousy, give up part of our nature, and we must accept that we have become four.

A Different Morning

This morning is different. No jets in the sky. Even the sun was late in rising from its bed. And the sound of guns can no longer be heard at the outskirts. Ambulances that did not sleep all night settled down to rest. Even the sun woke up late from its bed in the east. Children, contrary to their custom, did not fill the streets with the noise of their games; nor did the hawking of the women carrying their baskets on the way to market. Also, in the alley in our quarter, the kiss will not appear that two small lips will draw on the cheek of the mother standing in the doorway saying her last good-bye to the son on his way to school.

[ Gaza: No Anniversary ]

Nobel Lareate Obama

October 11, 2009

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Some people I speak to are calling it the ‘Nobel War Prize’. Not very nice to hear. And these critics are not right-wing Republicans. They are against the US wars; they are men and women who aligned themselves with Obama during his campaign, people who believed he would really move to end our wars and torture prisons, people who saw real hope for more justice and equity at home.

 

I have to admit, this beautiful, eloquent man, seems to be stepping back from what he led us to believe was possible under his leadership. He is only 10months into his presidency, true. But his beautiful rhetoric and reaching out to adversaries has not yielded results for distraught Americans, or for those enduring US occupation and assault. Nor do they really promise rapprochement with Iran, a possible breakthrough towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

The much lauded and prestigious Nobel prizes can be for past achievements or for future promise. Will it give Mr. Obama the guts and the drive to go beyond words, and to use his awesome position to really change the way we are governed, the way wealth is distributed, the way peoples and nations co-exist?

[ Nobel Lareate Obama ]


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