“Affirm life”..9\11

As we’re living a decade after the tragic 9\11, a friend posted this link on my wall and it was heartbreakingly amazing that I want to share it with all of you!
Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian poet who I just knew about a week ago thanks to another friend who bought us her book “Born Palestinian, Born Black”.
While listening to her words, I got reminded of the Norway attacks that happened last July! I was in Egypt when my friend and I saw it on the news. His very first reaction was: “Please, please, please don’t be an Arab. Please, don’t be a Muslim!”. Yes, by the time we knew he was a Norwegian Christian, it was like as if we were holding our breath till the attacker’s identity was known and only then we all could just breathe again!
I’ll say no more, I’d just leave you with the poem by the great Suheir Hammad.

First Writing Since:

There have been no words,
No poetry in ashes south of Canal,
No prose in trucks driving debris and DNA.

Evident out my window an abstract reality:
Sky where once was steel;
Smoke where once was flesh.
Please, God, let it be a mistake
The pilot’s heart,
The plane’s engine…
God, please, don’t let it be anyone who looks like my brothers.

I don’t know how bad a life has to break in order to kill.
I’ve never been so hungry that I willed hunger,
Never so angry as to want a gun over a pen.
Not really.
Even as a woman, a Palestinian,
Never this broken.

Ricardo on radio said in his accent thick as yuca,
“I will feel so much better
when the first bombs drop over there.”

A woman crying in a car parked and stranded
And hurt, I offered comfort, a hand she did not see before she said,
“We’re gonna burn them so – bad.”
My hand went to my head and my head to the dead Iraqi children,
The dead in Nicaragua, in Rwanda,
Who vied with fake sport wrestling for America’s attention.

People saying, “This was bound to happen, let us not forget
U.S. transgressions”—
Hold up. I live here.
These are my friends
And fam,
Me in those buildings, and we’re not bad people,
Do not support America’s bullying,
Can I just have half
A second
To feel bad?
Thank you, woman, who saw me brinking my cool and blinking tears,
Opened her arms
Before she asked, “Do you want a hug?”
Big white woman and her embrace only
People with flesh can offer.
My brothers in the navy, I said, and we’re Arabs.
Wow, you got double-trouble.

One more person ask me if I knew the hijackers.
One more mother fucker ask me what navy my brother is in.
One more person assume no Arabs or Muslims were killed,
Assume they know me,
Or that I represent a people,
Or that a people represent an evil,
Or that evil is as simple as a flag and words on a page.

We did not vilify all white men when McVeigh bombed Oklahoma,
Give out his family’s address or church or blame the Bible or Pat fucking Robertson,
Networks air footage of Palestinians dancing in the street,
No apology that hungry children are bribed with sweets that turn their teeth brown,
Correspondents edit images, archives facilitate lazy journalism,

And when we talk about holy books, hooded men and death,
WHY never mention the KKK?

If there are any people on Earth who understand how New York is feeling right now,
They are in the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Bush has waged war on a man once openly funded by the CIA.
I’ve read too many books to believe what I’m told.
I don’t give a fuck about bin Laden.
His vision of the world don’t represent me or those I love.
I’ve signed petitions for years to out the U.S.-sponsored Taliban.
Shit is complicated, and I don’t know what to think,
But I know who will pay:

Mostly colored and poor,
Will have to bury children, support themselves through grief.
In America, it will be those amongst us who refuse
Blanket attacks on the shivering, who work towards social justice
And opposing hateful policies.

“Either you are with us
Or with the terrorists,”
“Keep your people under control
And resistance-censored,”
“We go the loot
And the nukes.”

Never felt less American
And more Brooklyn
Than these days.

These stars and stripes
Represent the dead as citizens first,
Not family, not lovers.

My skin is real thin,
My eyes are darker,
The future holds little light,
My baby brother is a man now
On alert
Praying five times a day the orders he will take are righteous
And not weigh his soul down
From the afterlife.
Both my brothers—
My heart stops–
Not a beat disturbs my fear—
Muslim, gentle men
Born in Brooklyn and their faces are of the Arab man,
All eyelashes and nose and beautiful color and stubborn hair.
What will their lives be like now?
Over there
Is over here.

Across the river: burning rubber and limbs,
Rescuers traumatized, skyline brought back to human-size,
No longer taunting gods.
I cried when I saw those buildings collapse on themselves
Like a broken heart.
I have never owned pain
That needs to spread like that.
There is no poetry in this.
Causes and effects,
Symbols and ideologies;
Mad conspiracy here.
Information we’ll never know.
There is death here,
And promises of more:
There is life here.
Anyone hearing this is breathing—
Maybe hurting,
But breathing for sure.
If there is any light to come,
It will shine from the eyes of those
Who will look for peace AND justice,
After the rubble and rhetoric are cleared,
And the phoenix has risen.
Affirm life.
Affirm life.
We got to carry each other now.
You’re either with life
Or against it.
Affirm life.


One Response to ““Affirm life”..9\11”

  1. bubbamuntzer Says:

    Beautiful! Moving.

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