This is cross-posted from my other blog. But I mentioned (I think) in my last blog the podcast "Crossing the Line" so I thought I'd share here the post from July 30 on my other blog (which isn't as writerly most days).
Crossing the Line (7/30/2008)
Something in me snapped and got me wanting to write about Palestine again. I don't know what happened. Maybe I realized that I was just sitting around and not doing anything but writing about myself, which is useless. Maybe I realized that I have a potential -- a real potential -- publisher for it, and I know about being handed a baton and knowing to run at full speed as soon as it lands safely in your hands. I consider the first publication to be the baton handed over to me, and I have some work to do.
I started listening to this podcast. I don't have a TV, don't judge me. Anyways, this podcast is called "Crossing the line" in which it seeks to give voice to the voiceless. You can find it here: http://ctl.libsyn.com/index.php?post_year=2008&post_month=07
Anyways, so something powerful happened to me about 2am while I was listening to this. I was interested in the interview that was going on about al Naksa (or the 6-day war or the war of 1967) and what happened..trying to write a poem about it, right. And at the end of the hour or so segment, they were reporting on the War in Iraq. And it made me think of Aracelis Girmay's brilliant poem, "Arroz Poetica" in which she speaks on the atrocities of war, and how the civilians in any country that is being attacked will never be called out, their names, I mean. And there's this turn that she makes where the poem starts to dig into your center, and she says:
....The radio will go on, shouting
the names &, I promise you,
they will not call your name, Hassna
Ali Sabah, age 30, killed by a missile in Al-Bassra, or you,
Ibrahim Al-Yussuf, or the sons of Sa'id Shahish
on a farm outside of Baghdad, or Ibrahim, age 12,
as if your blood were any less red, as if the skins
that melted were any less skin, and the bones
that broke were any less bone,
as if your eradication were any less absolute, any less
eradication from this earth where you were
not a president or a military soldier.
So anyways. This radio podcast...called out the names of the people fallen that week. Including Iraqis. And I thought, how powerful. How sad. How sad, even, to think of the American soldiers dying -- almost all of them that week (of June, 2007) were between 20-30...many of them from places I've been. And you find yourself listening for a name you recognize, though I know no one in the war. But you still listen. Then you realize some of these people fighting are younger than you are. And I'm not that old. And then you get enraged. And you want to stop listening, but you feel like to turn off would be to disrespect the dead, because they fell and all we got from other news stations was/were/are numbers, and no names. And you listen. And you hear the places they left from, the cities they lived and loved. And the families. And I wonder if the families know that this exists? That there is a place where their name is being called out, and remembered. And people will hear it.