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 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 –
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.