Before I begin this piece, I want to keep it 100% with you. This won’t be insightful. I don’t have any new revelations to give, but I do have a bit of humanity to share. My spirit is overwhelmed right now by grief, fear, unknowing and general what-the-fuckery.
I was reading a piece today with a quotation/stat that stood out to me. The phrase stated “I’ve learned that – and this is just one example of many – a Palestinian child has tragically been killed every three days for the past 14 years. That bears repeating, since such deaths are rarely, if ever, given any attention in America: Palestinian parents have had to bury a child every three days for the past 14 years.” I already knew that but here I sit.
I sit here, on my couch, drinking Merlot and watching an HBO special on Public Defenders in the deep, American south. I reread the quote. again. again. Yes, again. I think of my friends that reside in Palestine, Sami, Tamara and many more–as well as those whose families were displaced long before their birth. In a classic act of selfishness, I began to ponder what my life would be like if there were no Sami? Who would challenge me to speak my truths, my multiple (compounded) existences as blaqueer and poor? How would I have found my voice? Would I have known the podium to be a place of freedom and terror-demolition? Would I know my gift—my self–that I was indeed exceedingly excellent by virtue of my survival? Then what of Tamara? How would I have learned the importance of art to humanistic existence and resistance? Would I have known existence as a form of resistance? What of the love she gave me through my ill-fated relationship, the tears she caught from my cheek and the love she pumped into my heart? Then I left Narciss where he belonged–far from this conversation–and began to think about bodies, Palestinian bodies. Bodies born to die.
What can be said to a child who knows death as the most consistent part of their living? No, not death by natural causes but violent, intentional, maiming death of bodies, spirits, hopes, communities and nations? I say death, as opposed to murder, because murder is more kind and is done by seemingly controllable human beings on a small scale. However, death is uncontrollable. There seem to be few deterrents. It is knows no law, no God and no love for humanity. Death lays in wait in the bones to attack the heart who dares to grasp hope. Death does not care, because it doesn’t see–or allow one to realize–humanity. What do we say to the child? How can one go play in the streets, when the sidewalk seems to concocting a plan with death and may ex/implode at any time? How shall we cajole a young lady to go to school, when death and the walls of the school house might indeed crush them beneath their collective weight? Can we tell a child to drink their 64oz of water, when death and the water have mated, and 95% of Gaza’s water is unfit to wet their whistle into living? What do we say to the children of Palestine, besides what they already know: They are not children of the world, but chattel of Death…and Israel.
Many lives have been stolen in Palestine–boys, girls, women and men–and many have been killed in Israel. I’m not quite sure what to do about this, but I will continue to stress and present the humanity of all Palestinians, because their humanity does not seem to be a commonly held fact. We must see the linkages between our humanity and the dehumanization of all other living–and stolen–peoples, lest we continue to lose our grasp on reality and the pulse of our hearts. I hope that I will soon have the opportunity to give my talents to this community of Warrior-Survivors, to aid in their journey toward and freedom and our collective redemption as humans with bloodstained hands.