Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Abby Zimet: On Stomping Into A Bone-Dry Forest With A Naked Flame

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Sign of the enraged times. Twitter photo.

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It took only hours after Trump’s heedless “act of diplomatic arson” against Palestinian rights and hopes for furious protests to break out in Gaza, the West Bank and around the world. As Palestinian officials denounced  the abrupt Jerusalem edict as “declaring war on 1.5 billion Muslims and hundreds of millions of Christians,” many thousands of Palestinians took up marches, burnings of Israeli flags and photos of Trump, chants that “America is the mother of terror,” warnings “a storm is coming” and plans for a general strike and three days of  rage. Online, under hashtags like #HandsOffJerusalem and Palestinians over and over insisted, “Jerusalem will forever be the capital of Palestine.” Meanwhile, the unanimous international consensus is that the ever-crassly-motivated Trump’s barging into “this delicate thicket” of history and faith that is the Middle East was a stupid, ill-informed, pointlessly incendiary act in a conflict where symbols matter, deeply – an act, wrote one analyst, akin to “walking into a bone-dry forest with a naked flame.” Trump has no clue what he’s unleashed. God help the Palestinians, and us all.

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I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…..

Mahmoud Darwish
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First published in Common Dreams.
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In Istanbul. Reuters photo
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2 comments on “Abby Zimet: On Stomping Into A Bone-Dry Forest With A Naked Flame

  1. Daniel Burston
    December 8, 2017

    On further reflection, it dawns on me that despite its dire consequences, Trump’s reckless geopolitical initiative is really motivated by a desire to shore up support among Evangelicals at home, most of whom are ecstatic about his decision. This move – which can only cause more bloodshed and complicate, if not torpedo, all prospects for peace and a two state solution once and for all – will insure that they continue to support Roy Moore in Alabama, and ignore Trump’s own sexual misconduct down the road in 2020.

    Apart from his well known animus toward Muslims, this demonstrates a desperate desire to cling to power, and an appalling indifference to the loss of human life. As a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas – a former Palestinian ambassador – put it, move is gift to terrorists everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel Burston
    December 8, 2017

    Abby Zimet has this right. Trump’s foolish and incendiary gamble may go down in history as the worst American foreign policy gamble since the second Iraq invasion.

    Liked by 1 person

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