The HyperTexts

Nakba

Nakba is the pseudonym of a Palestinian-American poet who speaks very bluntly and forthrightly about the plight of his people, and what he deems the complicity of Jews and American Christians in their destitution. I have intermingled lines from his poems with his comments about the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of the Palestinians, from which he took his nom de guerre.

Terror fell upon my children. Wailing,
they ran toward my arms—small, pale with fright.
They seemed eternities from me . . . so distant!
Their day exploded. Now I live in night.
Who infused the missiles with their terrible magic?
"Made in America." I find that tragic . . .




I saw the carnage . . . saw girls' dreaming heads
blown to red atoms, and their dreams with them . . .
. . . saw babies liquefied in burning beds
as, horrified, I heard their murderers’ phlegm . . .

"American Christians and Jews have become raging hypocrites," Nakba told me in an exclusive interview. "They want every possible right for themselves and constantly preach the glories of democracy, equal rights and justice to the rest of the world. But when push comes to shove, they steamroll over innocent women and children if there's something they want: oil, land or water. Why are millions of Palestinians being denied basic human rights, freedom and dignity? Because Americans want cheap oil and Israeli Jews want free land and water, at the expense of Arabs. But what has happened? The price of oil has skyrocketed, and Americans have spent more than a trillion dollars, perhaps much more, on wars they will never win. Israel has stolen land and water from the Palestinians for more than sixty years, but look at the toll on the Jews. They both would have done much better to simply practice what they preach. Perhaps the worst thing about all the mayhem on both sides is that it is so unnecessary, and entirely counter-productive. Innocent women and children are dying because Americans and Jews want "more equal" rights than Arabs. If they would only settle for truly equal rights, they would save money and avoid what they hypocritically call 'terrorism,' when by far the greater terrorism is the systematic terrorism practiced on a daily basis by the governments of Israel and the United States against millions of innocents."

. . . I saw my mother stitch my shroud’s black hem,
for in that moment I was one of them . . .



. . . I saw our Father’s eyes grow hard and bleak
to see frail roses severed at the stem . . .

"But the Jews are full of irrational fears, terrified of a Holocaust that is long over, while Americans are full of grandiose imaginings that the United States is 'the greatest nation on earth' no matter how evil its actions ... 'just because.' Of course the Nazis once claimed that Germany was 'the greatest nation on earth' and had the right to impose its will on other nations 'just because.' At some point the rest of the world must say, 'We've had enough!' and start to fight back. That's what the people Americans call 'terrorists' are doing today. I don't agree with their tactics, when they target civilians, but I understand their anger and resolve. If Americans want to stop being targets, they should agree to pay to going price for oil (which will save them trillions of dollars in the long run) and stop supporting the injustices of Israel against Palestinians. If they did these simple things, they would save money and lives on both sides. But so far Americans seem content to rush headlong toward World War III, singing the praises of their glorious nation, the way Germans rushed headlong toward World War II, singing "Deutschland ber Alles."

. . . How could I fail to speak?



I thought of women slain for being born
the "wrong" race, sex, caste, or the "wrong" religion.
I thought of Joan of Arc, her tunic torn,
her breasts exposed, her bloody Inquisition.

"Why should innocent women and children suffer and die, because Americans and Jews want to have their cake and eat it too? Why should they be allowed to preach the glories of 'democracy' and 'equal rights' to the rest of the world, while denying basic human rights and dignity to innocent women and children?"

His eyes meet mine with blank incomprehension.
"How did you come, my friend, to harm this child?"
"She was not mine, and no report’s been filed . . .
"So what, old chum?" (Strange lines beyond my scansion.)



I felt the flames and then her screams explode.
I thought of Mary and her dolorous road.

"This is why I write . . . in the hope that madmen will come to their senses, before it's too late. They call their enemies 'evil' without ever asking themselves 'Is it possible that we did something wrong, to make other people so incredibly angry with us?' Did the German people ever understand the wrath Americans felt when they saw the Nazi concentration camps? Well, that's the same wrath we feel today, when we see Palestinian women and children living in refugee camps, and inside ghettos with walls twice as high as the Berlin Wall. Why do more and more people all around the globe look at Americans as if the United States is the second coming of the Third Reich? Perhaps, because it is."



Sing hymns. Praise God. Erect some higher steeple.
Condemn my kind to poverty, and hell . . .

"Americans and Jews seem to think they get some sort of free pass, simply because of who they are. They imagine themselves to be 'superior,' to be the Chosen Few. But the course of recent history says otherwise. Americans and Jews are alienating the rest of the world. There are billions of people who disagree that Americans and Jews are entitled to 'special privileges' at the expense of so many innocents. Yes, there are only around 10 million Palestinians. But they have 1.5 billion Muslim brothers and sisters who do not take their suffering and deaths lightly. Nor should they. But Americans and Jews only need to do one thing, to change the inevitable course of world events. They need to stop claiming special rights and privileges, and act in accordance with their stated beliefs. Do they really believe that all men are created equal? Then treat everyone else as equals. If not, why be hypocrites? At least the Nazis were honest, that they really did think they were superior to everyone else. Is there any lower life form than a man who abuses women and children, while praising his own 'righteousness'? Aren't those ones Jesus reserved all his indignation for: the self-righteous hypocrites?"

"Shock and awe?" Yes, I feel awe—and shock.
You jackals killed my doves, my lambs, my flock!



Apollyon I - Night of the Apocalypse

His eyes meet mine with blank incomprehension.
How did you come, my friend, to harm this child?
"
She was not mine, and no report’s been filed.
"
So what, old chum?" (Strange lines beyond my scansion.)
          A girl so sweet, if woebegone?
         Why, surely she was everyone’s!
He lifts his eyes, shifts, sighs, spits, unbeguiled.

He does not know that I have come to judge him.
"What’s it to you?" he threatens, with a leer.
She was my child . . .
                                  "
That thing defiled?"
Ten trillion wavering stars blink, disappear.



Suffer the Little Children

I saw the carnage . . . saw girls' dreaming heads
blown to red atoms, and their dreams with them . . .

. . . saw babies liquefied in burning beds
as, horrified, I heard their murderers’ phlegm . . .

I saw my mother stitch my shroud’s black hem,
for in that moment I was one of them . . .

I saw our Father’s eyes grow hard and bleak
to see frail roses severed at the stem . . .

How could I fail to speak?



Lines for a Palestinian Mother and Child

I swear her eyes were gentle . . . that she was
a child herself, although she bore a child
close to her breast: her one and only cause.

I watched in apprehension as men filed
in close, goose-stepping ranks on either side,
as if they longed for blood, on Eastertide.

I thought of women slain for being born
the "wrong" race, sex, caste, or the "wrong" religion.
I thought of Joan of Arc, her tunic torn,
her breasts exposed, her bloody Inquisition.

I felt the flames and then her screams explode.
I thought of Mary and her dolorous road.
When will religion learn men must repent
of killing even one mild innocent—
both before and after Lent?



Lockheed, Take Heed

Terror fell upon my children. Wailing,
they ran toward my arms—small, pale with fright.
They seemed eternities from me . . . so distant!
Their day exploded. Now I live in night.
"Made in America." I find that tragic.
Though far less tragic than my sweet doves, blown
to atoms by your profits’ ill-bought magic.
Land of the "brave," the "free"? Brave freedom’s flown
to heights unknown—too high to see my people
crushed in the dust by those you love so well.
Sing hymns. Praise God. Erect some higher steeple.
Condemn my kind to poverty, and hell.
"Shock and awe?" Yes, I feel awe—and shock.
You jackals killed my doves, my lambs, my flock!



US Schoolboys

The simple path to peace
begins with a simple step,
as the sun breaks bright to the East
though the schoolboy has long overslept.
O, when will he rise and yawn!
Will he miss how dew spangles the lawn?

The simple path begins
when the schoolboy repents of his sins,
for his balmy vacation’s long over.
There’s no time to be lolling in clover!
Now that the day has begun,
he must rise in accord with the sun.

The path is called Justice . . . and now
he must walk it, and stoutly avow
to follow wherever it leads
till the sun sets blaze to the weeds . . .
he must thresh, so his brothers can find
peace’s path, though the world seems blind.



Her Slender Arm

Her slender arm, her slender arm,
I see it reaching out to me!—
wan, vulnerable, without a charm
or amulet to guard it. Flee!
I scream at her in wild distress.
She chides me with defiant eyes.
Where shall I go? They scream, "Confess!
Confess yourself, your children lice,
your husband mantis, all your kind
unfit to live!"
                        See, or be blind.

I cannot see beyond the gloom
that shrouds her in their terrible dungeon.
I only see the nightmare room,
the implements of torture.
                                                 Sudden
shocks contort her slender frame!
She screams, I scream, we scream in pain!
I sense the shadow-men, insane,
who gibber, drooling, Why are you
not just like US, the Chosen Few?

Suddenly she stares through me
and suddenly I understand:
I hear the awful litany
of names I voted for. My hand
lies firmly on the implement
they plan to use, next, on her children
who huddle in the corner. Bent,
their bidden pawn, I heil Amen!
to their least wish. I hone the blade
"Made in America," their slave.

She has no words, but only tears.
I turn and retch. I vomit bile.
I hear the shadow men’s cruel jeers.
I sense, I feel their knowing smile.
I paid for this. I built this place.
The little that she had, they took
at my expense. Now they erase
her family from life’s tattered book.
I cannot meet her eyes again.
I stand one with the shadow men.



In her dread repose (I)

Find in her pallid, dread repose—
no hope, alas!, for the Rose.



In her dread repose (II)

by Nakba

Find in her pallid, dread repose—
no hope for the World. O, my violated Rose!



The Least of These

Here lies a child of the Holocaust.
Here all her bright dreams lie buried, unknown . . .
lie buried, unlived. And who knows the cost?
No roses grow here by this stone stark as bone.
"Dearly Beloved," her white marker reads,
as many bright sermons on Love have begun,
but this is her end. She lies among weeds
more somber than widows’, six feet from the sun.
Whom shall we cherish? O, whom shall we love?
The war profiteer, or the peaceable dove?
"Made in America," the Cruise Line is read:
now Palestine’s dove lies here—cold, shattered, dead.
Here lie her pieces. Friend, read them, and weep.
Scream blindly for justice, or blind, away creep!



The Horror

the Horror is a child who died because
we closed our eyes to simple Nature’s laws,
who knows no justice, but red fangs and claws

the Horror is the child we led to stray
into dark wilds where evil Men hold sway,
then abandoned her, and swiftly walked away

now she lies dead, and many innocents!
the Tiger prowls; He longs to kill; He pants
for blood; before Him, children die like ants

the Tiger rules by Law, red Claw and Tooth,
while Barnums laugh, count Beans, and sip Vermouth.



I Saw

I saw the carnage . . .
saw their dreaming heads
blown to red atoms,
and their dreams with them.

I saw their fathers’ eyes
grow hard and bleak,
as did my own.
I heard their murderers’ phlegm.

I saw them in my dreams;
my knees grew weak . . .
for in that moment I was one of them . . .
How could I fail to speak?



The BOSS

In 1948,
crying "Holocaust!"
the Jews became the keepers
and mad sweepers of the lost
doomed Palestinian nation,
while every American "Christian"
wept with great elation
to see Yahweh’s "salvation."
He’s the BOSS!

Though He couldn’t take on Hitler,
though Himmler had Him harried,
though Goering had Him groping
for answers—yes, and worried—
though Mengele had mangled
the fairest and the brightest
of all His chosen tribes
and those with whom He’s tightest . . .
He’s the BOSS!

Forget all human justice.
Forget about two wrongs.
Just ply the LORD with money,
pleas, prayers and fervent songs.
Then let the children suffer
and let the strong run wild.
You’re in with heaven’s Duffer!
Your prayers have Him beguiled!
So ... You’re the BOSS!



Stampede

I dreamt last night I was a Palestinian
herded like a cow or a defeated Indian
down some new Trail of Tears, into Gaza’s corral.
And I dreamt that you watched me
from the highest Wall.

I dreamt the whip cracked; how it bit my flesh!
I was gaunter than the skeletons of Bangladesh.
But I stood straight, upright. I refused to fall.
And I dreamt that you watched me
from the highest Wall.

I screamed aloud, but I refused to break
though my geysering blood created red lakes.
My oppressors laughed, Nazis!, but I stood tall.
And I dreamt that you watched me
from the highest Wall.

O, when will you see me, and meet my eye?
O, when will you hear me, and regard my cry?
You put me here. You helped build this cursed Wall
with your nickels and your dimes and your pious calls
for "democracy" and "freedom." How your voice appalls!

Now we mill here like cattle, in our abattoir stalls.
It was you who interred us. Please, before it’s too late,
break down the fucking wall, fling open hell’s gate!

Amen

The HyperTexts