Tag Archives: pomegranates

A few notes on “Footnotes To Gaza”

Sometimes the books I enjoy the most are not recommended by a friend or carefully selected from my “to read” list. They are, like “Footnotes in Gaza” by Joe Sacco, random picks from a library or bookstore shelf. I was not even looking at books for myself, I was in the graphic books section searching for something that will rather entertain my oldest son, when I spotted the title that arose my interest. The author’s name seemed vaguely familiar as well. Perhaps I read it in some magazine before -I  am not sure. But the fact that he published in some of my favorites, such as Times and Harper’s , spoke well for the author and  I knew that I had to borrow “Footnotes in Gaza” . I started reading it as soon as  I got home and  I got so absorbed by its lecture that I congratulated myself for following my instincts…

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Yes history is actual, and perhaps there is no place better than Palestine and the Gaza Strip to look at as we try to understand how current events unfold from the old ones. How current conflicts are rooted in old wounds. Sacco notes in his foreword to the book the comment of an witness: « ” I still remember the wailing and tears of my father other his brother;” he said. “I couldn’t sleep for many months after that …It left a wound in my heart that can never heal. […] [T]hey planted hatred in our hearts.”» (p. ix, para. II).The witness was Abed El-Aziz El-Rantisi , a senior official of Hamas, the political wing of the Palestinian resistance movement that is often blamed (and culpable) for terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. Terrorist attacks leading Israelis to intensify their efforts to eliminate the armed militants from Gaza Strip and destroy their connections with the outside world – the paths they use to bring in weapons and  send suicide bombers into Israel. And since rockets and bullets do not make a difference between civilians and militants – the more aggressive are the Israeli attacks,  the more likely to hurt Palestinian civilians.And given that the isolation enforced on the overpopulated Gaza Strip  leads to  less employment and trade opportunities and therefore  more poverty… With each genetation there are more victims, more wounded hearts, more hatred…

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On personal note, one question is following me since I finished reading “Footnotes to Gaza” : How comes  that so many IDF soldiers showed cruelty or at best indifference and lack of human compassion towards civilians? Yes, some where potential enemy soldiers or murderers -yet many of them were old men or boys as young as 15, they were teachers and merchants , some of them were peacemakers, and some had been  living exemplary lives.  Considering the year when the killings happen : 1956, 11 years after the end of WWII  and the average age of active soldiers in the IDF , the Israeli soldiers had to remember the years of Holocaust as something that happened in their own time. The memory of those times when they, the people of Israel, could have faced , and some of them had faced perhaps , humiliation and death. Just because everybody whith those religious beliefs, anyone who belonged to their nation was “the enemy”. No matter what they had done or how they lived as individuals. I think that memory had to be alive in their minds and hearts. And one hopes that the people who belong to a nation surviving so much harm, so much injustice are more likely to act humanly: showing mercy, compassion, acting justly and avoiding the gratuitous humiliation and violence against their prisoners. Yet, in spite of one what might hope, there is perhaps a harsher reality -most of us recall the fear instead. The thought that if they are acting too softly instead of being aggressively in offensive,  they may end up being those oppressed, those victimized… the hopeless ones.

A complete book review is available on my “artsy” blog/page : Anaïs

Happiness with you was a cry of despair

A new pomegranate via Anaïs :

Panic within

the full poetic story starting August 1 on the 3:15 Experiment page. Each year since 1999,  during the month of August, a handful of poets and apprentices set their alarms for 3:15 am and attempt to write poetry in a half-awake, half-asleep state … They are encouraged to let the poems “settle” in their notebooks and only edit them later in order to gain as much awareness of differences from their usual writings, learn their new voices…

My 3:15 am voice came from a raw, more emotional place than ever. I had to try so hard to keep my pen from falling down and my brain from returning to the heaviness of sleep and dreams that all I could capture was the “now”, the raw moment …there is no longer a  previously debated with myself concept, message or an intent, a moral to my writing.

Because in August  I chose to mold the way I felt, the way I acted, what I have done and what I had left undone around that “you”  one can read all nine poems as chapters in a story. I did not intend to write ” a story” – at first there where these short, post-it type notes I was scribbling in a dreamy state of mind. But as this hot summer came to an end I had to cross beyond a finish line….

One line only “my man with his cubicled heart” was edited with the clear intent to stress a connection between the earliest poems and the last three (21,28,31) and the title – my story – was added later. All other editing focused on language and language effects only.

 

 

cubicled (August 2)

( …in a cubicled land with my man.

My man with his cubicled heart)

You and I were living on the brink to illusion.

Else, all was shadow.

Farewell(s)

Seguì siendo y seguiendo (1)
The friend the lover’s portrait,
of whom his friend his lover was fondest, (2)

Mon coeur,
comme de la poussière,
se soulevait derrière vos pas. (3)

The darkness smelled of rain of damp grass
and leaves the gray light
drizzling like rain the honeysuckle coming up
in damp waves, (4)

Note
(1) Pablo Neruda – Adioses
(2) Walt Whitman – Recorders Ages Hence
(3)  Gustave Flaubert – L’Education sentimentale
(4) William Faulkner – The sound and the fury / Quentin’s story

Innocent

 You were caramel cloud

before   they laid you under the ground.

Wedding songs pass over the virgin grave.

                   Fireworks blast.

Your body in pieces  innocent.

Somebody’s young daughter, you were

a girl in the market in a city at war.

somebody’s young sister, you were

a girl in a city at war in the market.

Just lost you were

                                    Innocent.

How many of those who

 you once knew,

             innocent

blown-up by the embrace of a hate hug

before your body could no longer contain

their deeds, germinating anger seeds?

Your rage blasting body is stopped

 before             you can enter the market

But, there is no turning point for you.

Clung to your sister     innocent.

Two  bodies crumbled in pieces.

Note :  the poem (first edit) was  posted here.