Counting for the new year:

END the Occupation of Palestine NOW.

Break the Siege of Gaza

Break the Siege of Gaza
The siege is a genocide and don't say you didn't know

Monday, December 4, 2006


Our humanity is one with different parts.

The bread baker is the foundation, he and his wife or child are always there, in the bakery, they sit with half open door when times are blacker that usual. The gas station attendant might be found, but the other shops would be closed on a black black day.

The land shows up in everything, dusting the streets and buildings and sidewalks. Relatives far and near always comforting, days across black, villages removed, grow quiet.

The farmer might be in his field, he might be resting inside. The markets are inactive when they're not bustling.

The trees are dusty olive green, the plumber was in the taxi returning from deir debwan when the 80-year old lady was hit with a bullet,

and died.

The surgeon is never seen, but his patients are talked about night and day, years ago you were invited to lunch at his house.

The school children are oblivious, so you'd think, with their clamoring, and singing, choir of voices, walking in pairs and huddling in groups, showing off their school bags and clothes.

Down at the refugee camp school, one screamed to his buddy across the street,
"Ali Abdalla Allaham, you come over here right now, or I'll make an "'amlieh istishadieh bi quds al gharbieh!"

The butcher is popular, always has customers in the capital, the wine seller has his stock of fine french, italians, and more.

The school principal has a calm and wise demeanor of a listener.

A couple of girls came down from Nablus, with their grandmother.

The Gazan taxi driver is working in the factory dying dresses for a Tel Aviv wholesaler, and at 6 o'clock after work, he comes on duty, dressed sharply, groomed impeccably, wearing a tie.

He is a handsome young man, well-mannered, his family, not so far away, an hour by car,
he hasn't seen them for six years.

“Illegal” is his presence here.

The ballet and dance teachers and dj's and musicians and hotels, all give relief to a few whose assets exceed their income, and a few, whose income exceeds their assets.

The Lima of Palestine.

Personalities and histories are magic lights that speckle and shine, giving this city its greatest glory.

Monadeleen, any which way you slice it. Kufar, some or many, but fewer than in days of old, even communists have converted.

Imprisoned, at some point in their lives, many many men, some women, suffering torture, tied to a chair, watching their friends being beaten into pulped berries, extracting confessions, exacting the multitudes, creating calloused exteriors, enduring, soft interiors.

Young men, who, returning home, stayed in the service of their aging parents, affording them all the respect and care that inspires awe. This young man didn't leave like his brothers to South Africa, London, or Chicago.

The garage owner, greasy, gummed up, oil black shoes and hands, pants, shirt, face, studied in Czechoslovakia. He reads the dailies, observes a regular routine of salon-like exchange in his brother's coffee shop with his cousin the barber who brings the stories of the day.

They discuss like philosophers, reflecting on their opinions, they re-read and revise, they taking turn taking sides on difficult issues of historical importance, political maneuvering, and suicide.

The translator is finding regular employment. University teachers, like every one with a job, receive half pay. Government workers, unpaid, seek temporary positions in NGOs, or alternate shifts in the family supermarket, or drive a car in the family taxi business.

The construction companies kept on employing, architects found their work decaying, engineers managed. Construction families are large, sources of capital that branch out into the leaves of braches off branches off the trunk of a tree into less stellar incomes of brother's cousins.

Doctors and nurses work on, many with part time pay. Part-time clinic operator/owners outside the nucleus of stardom stand-by as electric fans spin in their chalk-dry offices.

The roads are decaying, but the trash is picked up. The dry-cleaner has a little brother who is looking for an American bride--an escape from the late night deliveries, from his brother's shadow.

People with American passports are disappearing. They're no longer allowed into the country. Palestinian American citizens reside without residency – prohibited.

Apartments are emptying . Their owners alienated. Coercion and desertion, forced exile, away from their families, their livelihoods and incomes, their businesses and homes.

The ballet teacher, the school teacher, the artist, the engineer, the printer, all turned around at the border by Israeli political office executioners.

The university students travel in mini-busses from their families, from their offices, across checkpoints fast or slow. Jobs await the lucky few. They eek out a living.

They are the future assets of their mothers' and fathers' families. They make ends meet, feeding their children, paying their bills.

Young professionals make payments on their apartments, and wait for better days in the offices of ministers and councilmen, lawyers and businessmen.

The teaching elite struggles. The academic experts toil and rest, think and write, and serve to remind, as lights of society, of its backbone, alerting to failures, warnings, hopes, assets, risks, the future, and discuss the past.

The ice cream vendor vends, standing outside schools and alongside busy roads. He walks the quieter streets of wealthy neighborhoods and stands beside lines of moving cars downtown.

The divorced wife cries in her estrangement and seeks solace in her girlfriends. She counts the pennies of her paycheck, the shekels of her bills, and the dollars of her house payments. She
endures a road of hope to freedom, but not liberty.

The generals have died, leaving their legacy behind, the annals of struggles and resistance, the stories of their observational roles backstage with their leaders, and on the battlefield.

The massacres they've witnessed, the trickery, the bribery and cooptation, changing specters of militias and mafias.

Stories from the villages and stories of the city itself. Stories and more stories. Car accidents and murder, conspirators and traitors, embezzlers and heroes.

A young child martyr, not even holding a stone, shot by a gunner in a tank, was on his way to buy rice or cigarettes for this mother of father or brother, twelve years old.

Military police raids, house searches, and kitchen bombs, threatening and terrifying and bullying with their weapon-clad uniform drab sparkling young blue eyes, golden hair, black hair, cocky young and fair-skinned, someone else's heroes, someone else's degenerates, someone else's family failures.

But not ours, not ours, not ours.

We are their "others", their niggers, their aliens, prisoners, slaves, prostitutes, and executioners,

We are their push-arounds, whatever they imagine, we are for them, we are theirs, their playthings. We are the long short-haired hot dog, that the 14-year old deranged bully throws against the wall, as he teaches bad habits to the six, eight and ten-year olds bullied innocents around him, subjected to his domineering domain.

Children are flying kites that tower and prevail far above every end of the city, in its central arteries, back roads and empty lots.

Researchers look for jobs, cater to national causes within the confines of political circles, academic programs, or donor mandates.

At prayer time, some go to pray, green marching bands celebrate.

The fruit and vegetable seller, with his spread, buys imported fruit from the wholesalers, legumes like artichoki and sparagus, and watermelon from the settlers who have built farms on theirs and their neighbors lands with subsidized modern, moted farms, where security stalls, high gates, and enclosing brush, are surround by emptied buffer zones, and lay dispersed where villages’ olive groves and wells once stood.

Hills and hills, with barb-wired, lookout posts where unseen soldiers' helmets are exposed, and blue and white flags adorn.

Checkpoint charlies with their sunken eyes and smiling captains, who turn around and at once expose their open mouths, revealing their real teeth beneath their glamour-boy exteriors.

U.N. cars are careening on the highway, slipping through VIP sideways, circumscribing crouching grandmothers, kneeling and handcuffed men, hidden behind the ramparts.

Burning torches light the darkened military entrance/exit of Ramallah. Soldiers smoke cigarettes and stand-by.

The night hills are empty and the olive trees mark the close and beginning of centuries. The olive trees count course hands catching at their leaves lifting the darkened fruits of the dry rubbled surface above thousands of years of rock, layering into the center of the earth.

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