In memory of my grandfather, who fled his home in Gaza, and journeyed to Australia to protect his children. Always gentle and patient. 

How did the Great Exodus lead us here?

Sneakers of young boys sprinkle the streets like carnations 

Martyred blood stains the palms of matriarchs 

Yet unshaken are the defenders of Al-Aqsa. 

A land once laced with the wealth of Soloman (a) 

The man who made winds subservient to him

By the will of his Creator.

A land of shared prophecy 

From the progeny of Abraham (a)

A land where slingshots meet bulletproof vests laden with cowardice 

And bare skin bears the bruises of batons

But there is no shame in the bruises of this fight

For David met Goliath with not stature nor height

Simply God’s sanction as his might 

There is no shame in the bruises of this fight.

Born to Bethlehem, a healer, a man of holy scripture 

Jesus (a) preached love for one’s brother

In a city now defined by disdain for the Other

A checkpoint to sustain prey versus predator 

But which prey will flee

When God is its protector?

Omar (r) entered a land scarred by its predecessors 

Yet he stitched a wound of millennia 

With one noble gesture

“No life or home is to be stolen”

Declared the humble conqueror 

And it is our demise that this lesson we no longer ponder 

Lakes of innocent red

Haunt Jerusalem’s memory

Its streets shutter at the day of 1099

When synagogues and mosques became graveyards

When people fell on swords instead of in prayer 

The ghost awakens in Al-Aqsa 

While worshippers weep tear gas on the holy Night of Destiny 

And the world waves its white feather,

The Crusade returns

As subtle and insidious as ever

But from a grave, a flower blossoms

The earth revives for a chance at redemption

The days of Saladin 

The days of a Jerusalem exclusive to no creed,

Home to all who believed.

The Catastrophe 

The severing of an artery 

The generations whose ancestry is rooted in the yellow and green palms of Haifa

Of Akko and Jaffa 

And the lost cities 

They have never visited

But can hear in the murmur of their grandfather’s heartbeat –

Home 

Home 

Home.

The ongoing catastrophe, 

Of a land where dead children are murdered children 

And martyrs rise above rockets

And God above them all

So glistening red and brown cheeks 

Summon a resistance of stones and keffiyehs 

Because there will be no white flag 

On God’s soil.