For Palestine, for Syria, forever…
Forever is the word we whisper to our children
As they fall asleep to the sound of sonic booms.
It is the only gift we can give them, a promise of continuity
That they will understand, year after passing year
As they come to a slow horrible realization of the triumph of death
When their bodies become the weapons we don’t have:
The drones, the F16s, the instruments of mass terror…
Our children of the diaspora,
Weaned on a culture of personalities,
Learn to recognize the power of a charming smile
And the hollow authority of the eloquent.
Words like “hope” and “change” that carry their weight in blood.
They learn their history from soundbites and
Movies that speak nostalgically of the Unspeakable:
The fallen city, the secret prisons, the soldier coming home, the well-meaning politician…
While dispossessing us of our names, our identity
Stripping our faces of features and individuality,
Layer by layer, decade after decade,
So that what remains is the single story of:
The clenched fist, the turbaned head and the Kalashnikov.
Our rulers pawn their heritage
An oil barrel at a time, one memory at a time
For their sandcastles in the ocean
And a stroll down the corridors of power.
We have other stories to tell
For there is a homeland in every trench.
And we will write our history with a new language of remembrance
Seared into the flesh of our children by your bombs.
We will give birth to a new truth, composed of one single word,
Locking both torturer and tortured, soldier and victim, your children and ours,
Whispered softly into your ears: