Sunday, January 25, 2009

Armed with nothing but love and hope (redux)

This is my last post on Gaza for a while. It's Holocaust Day this week, and the irony is profound. It is hard not to think of what the Israeli army has done to the people of Gaza as anything but a holocaust. And the siege of Gaza continues. The Israelis will not let sufficient aid get into Gaza.

However, I am going to make my last post on Gaza end on a positive note. Jeni Edwards, a friend at my Quaker meeting, wrote this poem last week, after she had taken part in a peace vigil in Dorset. She has given me permission to post the poem here.

Bridport - 17th January 2009 - 12 noon

We stood in a circle in Buckydoo Square,
fifty, then sixty, then seventy, men, women and children,
creating a powerful pool of silence.
But elsewhere -
      in Gaza frightened children wake screaming,
      in Darfur raped women cry out,
      and Iraq is shaken with the shouting of bombed men.
Into this great lake of noise and pain,
      the silence pours a balm of solidarity and love.

Around us, in this unplanned timeless street,
the Saturday market stalls gather men, women and children
creating a normal and beloved scene.
But elsewhere -
      children are sold into bondage,
      women cook too little on stoves in tents,
      and unemployed men prowl away their strength.
And through this nightmare of devastation and despair,
      they maintain the right to dream the dream of a normal day.

Down the hill, behind the church, a community orchard
of apple trees is being planted by men, women and children,
working together for a future harvest.
But elsewhere -
      spoilt brats learn careless abuse,
      coutured women pose before the camera,
      and well-oiled men grease palms for gain -
Comfortable with the stench of corruption and decay
      they resist the winds of change which blow to clear the air.

For beyond the town there are spring lambs and early daffodils,
and across the sea a leader has been elected by due process
saying “Yes we can” and “Change must come”.
And these small things -
      pools of silence,
      a normal day,
      some apple trees,
      and a ballot box -
            these are our weapons of peace.

Jeni Edwards 1.09

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