Statuses and Headlines: Dedicated to the tireless social media activist

Words scatter

Attention span expands

between statuses and headlines

I frame my perils of wisdom

on cyber walls

I denounce

I declare

I divulge my soul

I offer solidarity

and pass verdicts like delusional royalty

My virtual life a parody

my profile page an imaginary throne.

 

Newsfeed filled with corpses

Attention span expands

between statuses and headlines

We protest discrimination

famines and wars

140 characters to tear down the walls

140 characters to stop genocide

140 characters to expose a politician who lied

140 to give voice to the voiceless

to affirm a life

branded worthless

Nameless

children die everyday

Nameless

mothers grief everyday

Nameless

fathers bury their sons everyday

Nameless

mass graves are dug everyday

Nameless

insignificant refugees

threaten our peace of mind

Nameless

faceless detainees

out of sight out of mind

Nameless

women sell their bodies

sell their babies

sell their organs to survive

No dignity in poverty

Populations stripped of humanity

Only atrocities bare names

Military operations romanticized

‘enduring freedom’

‘desert shield’

‘pillar of clouds’

‘cast lead’

air strikes idealized

Minds stalled paralyzed

War on terror

War of terror

War for terror…

terror…

terror…

terror…

terror…

we grow numb desensitized

News feed jammed with hasbaranitzes

Government agents paid for lies

They ‘like’ and ‘share’ what we despise.

 

Morals in peril

Attention span expands

between statuses and headlines

140 characters to liberate Palestine

140 characters for gender equality

140 characters to raise money for charity

140 characters

I am wearing thin

140 characters

where do I begin?

 

Thoughts scatter

Attention span expands

BEYOND statuses and headlines.

 

Imra’a: For my sisters in the Arab world and beyond

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I

am

woman

Imra’a

Whole

Not a fragment of your shadow

Not a rib torn out of your torso

Not a mail order

Not a house slave

Not a fairytale princess

Not a damsel in distress

Not a genie in a bottle

Not a saint

Not scattered

Not arranged

Not lacking in brain or piety

Not a fountain of propriety

I am eternity

Lived in an instant

I am constant

Randomness

I am chaos in stability

In songs you ache for me

I am your refuge and your refugee

Your barren desert and your fertile field

Your homeland

Your ‘watan’

My womb yields the fruit of life

I am your daughter

Mother

Sister

Wife

A prince of poetry wrote of me

 “Alommo madrasaton…”

A mother is a school

 When well prepared

You prepare a well-mannered nation

A thousand and one Arabian nights

I am inspiration

In the holy scriptures

I am temptation

I am your Eve in the Garden of Eden

My qualities revealed in the holy Quran

‘inna kaydahonna azeem’

I am your dream

Your ‘hoor alayn’

Your seduction

Your redemption

Your struggle

Your salvation

I am your strengths and weaknesses

All rolled into one

I am your lived reality

And all that you refuse to see

I am what you cannot define

Cannot confine

To a fantasy

I am human

Of flesh and blood

My virtue unquantifiable

My faults monumental

I am neither a reflection of you nor on you

Your ticket to paradise does not begin with my virtue

Your redemption does not begin with my submission

Your peace of mind does not begin with my conformity

Your honor is not defined by my chastity

Your vice is your own

Your honor is your own

Your fantasies are your own

For I can barely carry

My own burden

Alone

I am

woman

Imra’a

Whole

Written by Samah Sabawi February 18, 2013

Reliving Gaza 2009: Searching for Words!

In January 2009 when Israel bombarded Gaza for three weeks, they called their assault ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Amnesty International had a better way to describe it; they called it ’22 Days of Death and Destruction’.  Today, we are reliving that nightmare once again, and once again I find myself searching for words…

Searching for words

Gaza…I search desperately
For words… for definitions
To tell the story of ammunitions
Exploding in a child’s body
I try to shout my indignation
But I am lost in vocabulary
Drowned in phrases as old as me
And I am as old as the Occupation
I need new words

How hard it is to find
Definitions that can restore
Humanity to a small strip of land
Along the Mediterranean shore
Siege, starvation collective misery
Familiar words in my head they linger
Bombs fall from the sky every day
Powerless words I can’t use any longer
I need new words

“Palestine is occupied….”
These are now hollow words…
“Palestinians are oppressed…”
These are now daily words…
“Palestinians are dispossessed”
These are now…tired words
“Palestinians….have a right to exist”
Words often spoken…worn out words
I need new words

Gaza…my home city
My earliest memory of Jasmine flowers and  meramiah tea
My first taste of sour lemon dipped in salt
My first climb on an almond tree
Gaza, my destiny
My father’s heart sky and sea
My mother’s first love
My sister’s first breath
My pride and dignity

Gaza is under fire
Obliterated by hate
Strangled by a demonic desire
To erase my history
Gaza is in pieces
And I…the writer…
I’m speechless
What language can possibly save me?
What words?

Samah Sabawi January 2009