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← Rafeef Ziadah - 'We teach life, sir', London, 12.11.11

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Showing Revision 4 created 03/04/2013 by Ester Garau.

  1. I'll start with this poem, I wrote this poem when the bombs were dropping on Gaza.
  2. And I was the media spokesperson for the coalition doing a lot of the organizing
  3. and we'd stayed up to about six o'clock in the morning,
  4. perfecting every sound bite and by the end
  5. If you're a Palestinian you know, most Palestinians get tired
  6. they start to spell 'p's as 'b's so we become Balestinians by the end of the day.
  7. So I was practicing my p's all night.
  8. And the next morning one of the journalists asked me:
  9. "Don't you think it would all be fine if you just stopped teaching your children to hate?"
  10. I did not insult the person,
  11. I was very polite but I wrote this poem
  12. as a response to these types of questions we Palestinians always get.
  13. Today, my body was a TV’d massacre.
  14. Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits.
  15. Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites
  16. and word limits filled enough with statistics to counter measured response.
  17. And I perfected my English and I learned my UN resolutions.
  18. But still, he asked me: "Ms. Ziadah, don’t you think everything would be resolved
  19. if you would just stop teaching so much hatred to your children?"
  20. Pause!
  21. I look inside of me for strength to be patient
  22. but patience is not at the tip of my tongue as the bombs drop over Gaza.
  23. Patience has just escaped me.
  24. Pause!
  25. Smile!
  26. We teach life, sir!
  27. Rafeef, remember to smile...
  28. Pause!
  29. We teach life, sir!
  30. We Palestinians teach life after they have occupied the last sky.
  31. We teach life after they have built their settlements and apartheid walls,
  32. after the last skies.
  33. We teach life, sir!
  34. But today,
  35. my body was a TV’d massacre made to fit into sound-bites and word limits.
  36. And "just give us a story, a human story.
  37. You see, this is not political.
  38. We just want to tell people about you and your people,
  39. so give us a human story.
  40. Don’t mention that word “apartheid” and “occupation”.
  41. This is not political!
  42. You have to help me as a journalist to help you tell your story
  43. which is not a political story."
  44. Today, my body was a TV’d massacre.
  45. How about, you give us a story of a woman in Gaza who needs medication?
  46. How about you?
  47. Do you have enough bone-broken limbs to cover the sun?
  48. Hand me over your dead
  49. and give me the list of their names in 1200 word limits.
  50. Today,
  51. my body was a TV’d massacre made to fit into sound-bites and word limits
  52. and move those that are desensitized to terrorist blood.
  53. But they felt sorry.
  54. They felt sorry for the cattle over Gaza.
  55. So, I give them UN resolutions and statistics
  56. and we condemn
  57. and we deplore
  58. and we reject!
  59. And these are not two equal sides: occupier and occupied.
  60. And a hundred dead,
  61. two hundred dead,
  62. and a thousand dead.
  63. And between that war crime and massacre,
  64. I vent out words and smile "not exotic",
  65. smile "not terrorist".
  66. And I recount, I recount a hundred dead, two hundred dead, a thousand dead!
  67. Is anyone out there?
  68. Will anyone listen?
  69. I wish I could wail over their bodies.
  70. I wish I could just run barefoot in every refugee camp,
  71. and hold every child,
  72. cover their ears
  73. so they wouldn’t have to hear the sound of bombing
  74. for the rest of their life the way I do.
  75. Today, my body was a TV’d massacre.
  76. And let me just tell you,
  77. there’s nothing your UN resolutions have ever done about this.
  78. And no sound-bite, no sound-bite I come up with,
  79. no matter how good my English gets!
  80. No sound-bite... no sound-bite... no sound-bite...
  81. no sound-bite will bring them back to life!
  82. No sound-bite will fix this!
  83. We teach life, sir!
  84. We teach life, sir!
  85. We Palestinians wake up every morning to teach the rest of the world life, sir!
  86. Thank you!