Friday, May 13, 2011

Poetry for Palestine

Here is a little spoken word I performed at an event recently that served as a fundraiser where proceeds went to the Canadian Boat to Gaza.
p.s. I don't actually know how to *do* slam poetry. I just pretend I do.
p.p.s. I'm not particularly proud of these pieces, but hey, writing and performing is always my cup of tea! Anyway, it's content that matters more here. I was actually grateful to have this opportunity 'cause it served as an incentive to learn about the plight of the Palestinian people. I was writing, researching, and learning simultaneously!

 This first piece loosely (emphasis on loosely) follows the Fresh Prince of Belair theme song. I was feeling rather uncreative and took a shortcut. It rhymes, which is suicidal in The Poetry World, but hey, when Will Smith lays down the law, you'd be foolish to act on your own terms. Also, this is based on a true story. (Breaks my <3).

Child prisoner of Israel
My name is Walid and I'm 13 years old
And this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like  to take a minute just sit right there
And I'll tell you how I became a child prisoner of Israel

In the West Bank was where I was born and raised
Amidst damaged infrastructure is where I spent most of my days
Hungry, tired, never attended no school,
I've witnessed shootings of innocents and other things just as cruel
One day I stumbled upon a couple of soldiers who were up to no good
accused me of throwing stones at them, as I walked through my neighbourhood
blindfolded, hand-cuffed, shoved in a jeep and driven away
they said "You're being detained without charge, you have absolutely no say"
My bag filled with rice and meat for dinner that night
lay near the olive tree to be found by my family which they only might
cursed at, humiliated and beaten up by the guards
I was damaged, to the extent of feeling like broken glass shards

I am 13 years old and I have
spent 28 days in prison
been charged 500 shekels for something I did not do
And you call people like me terrorists?

 Hmm well this might be alright
I've gotten off pretty light
At least I haven't been slaughtered in Gaza by Israeli forces
or been forcibly displaced by demolitions and left with few choices
I've only been ethnically subordinated and attacked to make a political point
I mean, I'm only a 13 year old child prisoner of Israel up in this joint

As a Palestinian, I'm charged for a crime like an adult at sixteen
As an Israeli this would occur at eighteen
The torture I received is widespread, systemic and institutionalized
makes me wonder; couldn't they stick to picking individuals their own size?
I was interrogated without a lawyer or family member
ack! But I forgot! who needs justice--remember!?
If anything I can say that peace of mind is rare
Especially when you're a child prisoner of Israel

I may be imprisoned for supposedly throwing stones
But I will not be imprisoned for resisting against my mother's broken bones
I look forward to that day that will finally be here
When 6500 other children and I are no longer  child prisoners of Israel

 Not Just Another Math Problem 
This. This isn't just another math problem.
Because you can multiply occupation, but you can't subtract the right for freedom.
Because you can add violent wars and crude military operations but you cannot subtract the thirst for justice.
Because you can divide families by taking up children as prisoners but you cannot subtract the need for ethics.

This. This isn't just another challenge of the arithmetic variety.
Because you can multiply violations of international laws and human rights, but you cannot add the process of enshrouding them.
Because you can subtract hospitals and homes and houses by bombing them, but you cannot add the justification of this by saying you're defending yourselves against terrorism.
Because you can divide the bodies of Palestinian babies so that their hearts are removed from their childhood experience, but you cannot add the lie that they die because they are child martyrs.

This. This isn't just another mathematical obstacle.
Because you can add the  murder of 1400 people in 21 days, but you cannot multiply the ammunition that serves to fire off this fact so that it is hidden away.
Because you can subtract the recognition of Palestine as a nation, but you cannot multiply your denial of the Palestinian people without seeming delirious.
Because you can divide the souls of loved ones from loved ones, but you cannot multiply oppression without meeting resistance.

This. This is not just another difficult grade school calculation.
Because you can add the theft of Palestinian land but you cannot divide and scatter the truth of your ethnic cleansing.
Because you can subtract Palestinian mothers by purposely targeting and slaughtering them but you cannot divide out the fact that justice sides with the oppressed.
Because you can multiply fear in the hearts of young Palestinian children but you cannot divide their resistance against imprisonment of their fundamental rights.


This isn't just another math problem.
It's more like punching in zero in your calculator--undefined and therefore hard to define.

24,813 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967.
$0 of military aid have been given to Palestinians.
1452 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000.

These numbers are real numbers,
not imaginary numbers,
although still irrational numbers.
But even numbers have limits.

Do you need a sin (sign) over cos tan from above urging you to help?
Do you need to know of a different angle of the story before you start to act?
Couldn't YOU be the protractor (protector) against the irrationals?

Because this isn't just another math problem.
Because those
those can be solved individually.

This problem requires us to put the star in starting over,
The win in win some and lose some,
the able in charitable
and the rad in comradeship.

Because this isn't just another math problem.
It's more of an error in a history lesson that we can all rewrite.

p.s. I recommend reading: So this is my rant on Palestine
as well as the story that brought tears upon my eyelids: The muhammad al durrah incident


 *unrelated p.p.s.: A couple of posts ago (my facebook status one) had led some of you to think I was switching back into the Sciences. Besides the fact that that would be an apocalyptic decision, this speculation also elevates my status as the Reigning Queen of April Fool's Jokes! Because it was indeed an AF joke, teehee! I am staying in Arts and pursuing a major in International Relations with a minor in Psychology.
Which reminds me of an incident that happened just yesterday where I was volunteering at an event where I went back to my high school to recount my post-secondary experience thus far with LGs and LBs a.k.a. senior high school students. I would explain my potential degree choices to the youngins' and they would retort with a "What kind of career can you have with that?"

What I wanted to say: "OH EM GEE HOLY MOLY WHY CAN'T YOU ALL JUST LET ME ENJOY MY DEGREE OF CHOICE AND STOP THRUSTING ADULT RESPONSIBILITIES UPON ME AND ACTING LIKE MY PARENTS AND WHATNOT?"

What I actually said (with a polite smile upon my ruby red lips): "Well there are tons of things you can do; you are virtually unlimited with the number of choices you have, like law school, journalism school, a career in diplomacy..."

That is all of my pseudo-rant and poetry. Good day, all. Toodles!

5 comments:

jtz said...

Wow!
Masha Allah, that was really good! Really brings to light what exactly is happening

!♥ m i m i said...

Hey there Urooba!

Congrats on performing these pieces. I don't think I'd ever have the courage to stand up there and just.. read poetry. I'm a bit insecure with my writing.

I actually youtubed "Fresh Prince of Belair theme song instrumental" and played it while reading Child prisoner of Israel hahah.

Thank you for writing these pieces. I'm a little uneducated in stuff like this. I know what goes on in general, but I still have trouble understanding the differences between Israelis and Palestinians. I will now go Google it because I have actually never thought about it. I come from a Chinese family, and I think we're more interested in... well... I dunno. What are we interested in?

Anyway, thanks for the lovely comment! Yes I'm coming to UBC. It's either Science or Sauder for business ^^

I will definitely find you hahah. First UBC blogger meetup?! I think so.

Love,
Mimi.

Shahirah Elaiza said...

I love that you are courageous and creative and oh so wonderfully talented! MashaAllah =)

Can't wait to see your stuff for HFW May 2011 <3

Denise Bomfim said...

Salam, Urooba! Mash´Allah! You´re a writer as I told you. Amazing poem!
I posted about you again in my blog, just take a look! I hope you enjoy it.
Kisses.

Lexy @ Quirky Explosion said...

AKSDJLAKDJLKAJDSLJJJJJJASDHLAHD AHHHHHH STUPID COMPUTERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Literally wrote an essay of the comment, only to be notified with an-oh-so-innocent, "Sorry. We couldn't meet your request." SHADDDUP.

Anyways. Here's a briefing:
1. Your poetry is SERIOUSLY AMAZING. I wrote a whole paragraph about how your super talented and how you're going to be a great success. (Actually, it's probably best that the comment got deleted - in retrospect, I sound like an insane stalker fan.) But seriously. It's amazing.
2. Please make a video of your Slam Poetry. Completely legit request. Also, you rock for being able to do that. I'm in writer's craft at school and we have to do a reading in front of, like, 20 students and 20 parents. I'm scarrrred. Haha. So yeah. YOU ROCK. And seriously. Make a video.
3. I actually was JUST talking about Slam Poetry with my friend a few weeks ago. I didn't know what it was, so she introduced me to Shane Koyzcan. I've been listen' ever since. And, therefore, d'yaaa want to send me links to YOUR fav slam poets? YUP YOU DO.

And ahhh! It has been forever - but your comment got me super pumped! I just got accepted into Parsons! But idk if I want to take the year off or not - will see! :)

AH PHEW TECHNOLOGY SUCKS.
QUIRKYEXPLOSION.blogspot.com

P.S. I'm totally serious about 1) You making a video of your poetry and 2) you sending me links of your favvvs. IT BETTER HAPPEN GURL.