The New Wailing Wall
There’s a new Wailing Wall:
It’s in Gaza, and here mothers and fathers wail
at the bloody bodies of their children;
children wail at the bloody bodies of parents;
all wail over the bodies of friends and neighbours;
the wailing rises and the tears fall.
At this Wailing Wall,
we wail the mendacity of Israel and the West,
we wail the complicity of the media in the West;
while rockets, shells and bombs rained down upon us
the lies fell faster and thicker than rain,
a torrent of lies that never stopped.
To surge in flood over the bodies of our slain.
You come now with your flag of peace
tramping along the bloodstained road
and up the mountain of our bones
and the rubble of our homes
and offer us business as before
or – bombardment once more.
Now that the bombs have stopped,
we too stop and look around us:
our schools gutted and bloodstained,
mosques and hospitals in ruins,
so many of our buildings rubble,
or with gaping shell-holes,
in the hell-hole
you have made of Gaza.
We had so little and you destroyed so much.
In the days to come, more will sicken and die,
of wounds on flesh and wounds on soul,
of lack of medicine, fuel or food
as even in pause you take your toll.
Many are numb, some try to forget,
some try to live without forgetting,
but there is a begetting,
for in many hearts too,
your phosphorus flakes are snowing,
the embers of hate are glowing,
their machine guns and bombs are mowing
you and your children for generations to come.
Against your Goliath
our slingshots were of no use;
yes, God was with you –
he’s no longer Hebrew or English –
He’s American now;
you shot us down like fish
in the shooting barrel
you made of Gaza.
You wish us to recognise you?
Of course we recognise you –
the imprint of your boots are upon our necks;
we carry them from cradle to the grave.
But we will never agree to accept
or agree that you should keep
what you have stolen and plundered
the land you have sundered
or that you can make us second-class
citizens in our own land.
While we struggle to endure
and to ensure
that you never defeat us
let it be that we do not learn to treat others
as you now treat us.
What did you learn from your oppressors?
If all you learned was how to also
do so much of what they did,
then truly have the six million died in vain
and you mock their memory by invoking them.
Diarmuid, Feabhra 2009