You Are Here: Home » Culture » Shadi Abdul-Kareem: When You Are A Palestinian (Poem)

Shadi Abdul-Kareem: When You Are A Palestinian (Poem)

A poem by Shadi Abdul-Kareem

Translation by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You would need daily practice of hiding tears
And swallowing huge chunk of wishes
Overflowing from your reality
 
 
 
In front of which you stand flabbergasted
Wondering who’d find the genie’s lamp
That would bring back your olive tree,
the straw tray and the sea fragrance?
 

 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You wouldn’t dare to broaden your smile
The ghosts of Alaqsa would encircle you
And the blood of Saladin which runs in your veins
Would remind you whenever you attempt to smile
That your smile is a betrayal… punishable by history
 

 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You cannot dream solo
There is always someone with you
Rather taking control
And whilst others dream of wealth, power, wife, children
Your dream is
A nap beneath an orange tree in Haifa
A cup of coffee by the shore of Tabareya
A prayer that rises up to heaven
Following the footsteps of the beloved
 
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You’d live in a state of unceasing absence of normal life
No wakefulness… no sleep
No work… no rest
No awareness… no unconsciousness
Without the remembrance of Palestine;
 
How was Palestine!
What became of Palestine!
And what will happen to Palestine?
 
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You would live a stranger in your homeland
And a stranger outside your homeland
You would provoke all kinds of feelings
You’d be an instigator of pity, some times
An instigator of sadness, some times
An instigator of curiosity, some times
An instigator of admiration, many times
 
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You’d work tirelessly
Promoting a redundant commodity
Called DIGNITY
No longer in circulation
Since new dictionaries of morality have been invented
 
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You will unavoidably get an illness called melancholy
You will infect all those who know you
And those who gaze at the caged tears in your eyes
And those who’d listen to the howl of mosques, churches and stones in your voice
 
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You would enjoy an extraordinary memory
You’d remember the number of sand grains under the sea
The voice of every muezzin
The laughter of every child
You’d remember the colour of dawn
The flavour of sleep
The scent of rain
 
 
 
You’d also remember those black nights
The voices of their monsters and their moves
You would remember the smell of death mixed with gunfire
You’d remember the wailing of widows
And the moaning of little girls
You’d remember your footsteps towards the oblivion
Every tear, and over which soil granule it fell
 
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You’d discover the value of numbers
You’d fall in love with them
Or hate them
A strong bond will anchor you
Since your name became a number
Your history, a number
Your home address, a number
Your lost-family members, a number
Those who died, who imprisoned, who were torn to pieces… numbers
The days you squandered -or squandered by- in refugee camps… a number
Your dreams and failed prophecies of the day of your return… a number
You’d appreciate indeed the value of numbers
You’d be filled with gratitude to those who invented numbers
Otherwise your life would’ve been lifeless, and numberless
 
 
When you are a Palestinian
You’d live in chronic yearning to a past you never knew
And to future you would never know
 

 
When you are a Palestinian
Words of love would not matter to you
Nor the stock market
Nor festival celebrations here and there
It would not matter to you if nights became endless
Or if days disappeared forever
It would not matter to you if the year is twelve months
Or twelve watermelons
 
 
 
It would not matter to you if people ascended to the moon
Or if the moon descended to them
It would not matter to you if a party loses the election and another wins
It would not matter to you if a country is triumphant and another defeated
All what matters to you is that PALESTINE WAS STOLEN
And IT MUST BE OBTAINED BACK
 

 

When you are a Palestinian
You would abruptly stop talking
And leave the story unfinished
The poem without an ending
As most likely the ideas in your head would become overcrowded
So much so that they’d run over each other
And you’d have to stop writing or talking immediately
To attend the funeral of those thoughts which have been squashed
And died before even being born
 
 
 
Therefore
I will cut short my speech
Leave to give my condolences in exile
Where thoughts pass away
Because they refuse to survive
Without a HOMELAND
 
 

Legal | Contact | © 2012 othersite.org

Scroll to top