We Teach Life Sir by Rafeef Ziadah

Today, my body was a TV’d massacre
Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits
Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits filled enough with statistics to counter measured response
And I perfected my English and I learned my UN resolutions
But still, he asked me, Ms. Ziadah, don’t you think that everything would be resolved if you would just stop teaching so much hatred to your children?


Pause


I look inside of me for strength to be patient but patience is not at the tip of my tongue as the bombs drop over Gaza. Patience has just escaped me


Pause


Smile


We teach life, sir. Rafeef, remember to smile.


Pause


We teach life, sir
We Palestinians teach life after they have occupied the last sky
We teach life after they have built their settlements and apartheid walls, after the last skies, We teach life, sir
But today, my body was a TV’d massacre made to fit into sound-bites and word limits
And just give us a story, a human story
You see, this is not political
We just want to tell people about you and your people so give us a human story
Don’t mention that word “apartheid” and “occupation”
This is not political
You have to help me as a journalist to help you tell your story which is not a political story
Today, my body was a TV’d massacre. How about you give us a story of a woman in Gaza who needs medication?

How about you?
Do you have enough bone-broken limbs to cover the sun?
Hand me over your dead and give me the list of their names in one thousand two hundred word limits
Today, my body was a TV’d massacre that had to fit into sound-bites and word limits and move those that are desensitized to terrorist blood.

But they felt sorry
They felt sorry for the cattle over Gaza
So, I give them UN resolutions and statistics and we condemn and we deplore and we reject
And these are not two equal sides: occupier and occupied
And a hundred dead, two hundred dead, and a thousand dead
And between that, war crime and massacre, I vent out words and smile “not exotic”, I smile “not terrorist” And I recount, I recount a hundred dead, a thousand dead
Is anyone out there?
Will anyone listen?
I wish I could wail over their bodies
I wish I could just run barefoot in every refugee camp and hold every child, cover their ears so they wouldn’t have to hear the sound of bombing for the rest of their life the way I do
Today, my body was a TV’d massacre And let me just tell you, there’s nothing your UN resolutions have ever done about this
And no sound-bite,
no sound-bite I come up with, no matter how good my English gets,
no sound-bite      no sound-bite       no sound-bite     no sound-bite will bring them back to life
No sound-bite will fix this
We teach life, sir
We teach life, sir
We Palestinians wake up every morning to teach the rest of the world life, sir

Masjid-al-Aqsa-6

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