Unbalanced circles : a response to Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is a native American poet and musician. She is currently visiting Israel, where she was invited by Tel Aviv University. She accepted the invitation, despite many appeals to her to cancel the performance.

I googled her name and just came upon her latest entry on her blog, which reads as follows: Down.  I will be taking Facebook down tonight for awhile. Thanks to my supporters. Thanks to those who disagreed with my stance but were willing to dialogue with civility. We live in a circle. A circle has no sides. Maybe the circle of life on this earth has been broken. Maybe not–Either way, I do not condone killing of anyone. Never have…

In me it created the following response.  I have submitted it to her comment section, and perhaps she will ‘approve’ it. In the meantime I will also post it here.

To Joy:

“We live in a circle. A circle has no sides.”

How nice this sounds.

But there are different kinds of circles. And some circles need to be broken. Have you not considered that?

The Palestinian people are caught in a circle that needs to be broken. A circle of perpetuate injustice, of collective punishments, of continued deprivation of their rights. And ultimately, in a circle of violence. Children are born into this circle, grow up in it, and many die within it. But you know this, Joy!

The boycott-divestment-sanctions movement seeks to break this destructive circle by non-violent means.

Together we have the power to help restore harmony in that part of the world that you are visiting right now. Your visit to only one “side”  (there are sides!) tilts the weight to the side that already has all the power, all the military might. And even claims to have all the moral weight. While it kills children with its bombs.

I hope in the future you will join those who seek to shift the weight to restore a circle where all can live with dignity. A circle that is inclusive of Palestinians, and everyone, regardless of religion and ethnicity.

It takes courage to make circles change.








(Source of circles.)


Music for Gaza! No more sound of bullets, bombs or drones please!

People tonight are celebrating in Gaza!

But the dead are not all buried. The wounded are still there. Many lives have been devastated. Many lives still hang in uncertainty. Hundreds of houses and infra structure were destroyed. The crime was committed. The perpetrators must be prosecuted.

And more importantly, justice to Palestinians must be restored after decades of injustice. The killing for now stops (insh’allah). But the work is only beginning.

We will continue to be with you.

We are Gaza! We are Palestine!

Here I post a few spontaneous remarks that came in (hoping that the senders won’t object):

From our friend Ayah:

We are still alive!!!! People are celebrating like Eid’s days! “Allah Akbar” every where! I wish our men stop firing in the air, my ears can’t hear more bullets! I want to hear music or at least no sound.

BTW, I can still hear the drones, or am I imagining? No, it is still the drones.
Can’t believe “no more siege”, really!!!

Ayah asks me add this :  “Yes we love life, but we will never forget or forgive for breaking our hearts. Justice!”   She also informs me that they can still here the drones!


In from our friend Ziad (it appears Israel managed to raise the death toll up to the last 2 minutes before the ceasefire — quelle horreur! quelle tristesse!)

Mercredi 21 novembre 2012

En direct de Gaza

Il est 22h

La trêve est entrée en figure à 21h

La population civile est soulagée malgré les morts et la destruction massive

Gaza fête sa résistance, sa patience et son attachement à sa terre

On espère un respect israélien de cette trêve et des garanties internationales

Huitième journée de l’agression israélienne contre Gaza

L’aviation israélienne a continué à bombarder Gaza jusqu’à la dernière minute, plus de 25 raids israéliens entre 8h50 et 21h avant l’entrée en figure de cette trêve.

2 martyrs et 3 blessés à 20h58.

22 martyrs et 45 blessé aujourd’hui, le huitième jour de l’agression israélienne

Le bilan de ces huit jours de l’offensive militaire israélienne est lourd : 160 martyrs dont 42 enfants, 12 femmes et 20 personnes âgées, plus de 1200 blessés, et destruction de plus de 300 maisons et immeubles appartiennent à des civils, et 120 bâtiments publics.

Gaza restera toujours debout

Vive Gaza, vive la Palestine, vive la mobilisation populaire et citoyenne internationale pour notre cause noble

Amitiés de Gaza la courageuse, Gaza la vie, Gaza l’espoir et Gaza le sang de nos martyrs.

And from Akram:

This just to say that all of you did great job either by wring and posting, reading or sharing  a post or comment. All of you have been part of media campaign that intended to spread reality about the new massacres that took place against the Palestinians. Your cooperation and your solidarity was one of the reasons that led to the defeat of the aggressors. Here I would like to mention with sincere gratitude all the foreigners who supported the Palestinians. In less than an hour the Palestinians will proudly celebrate this stunning victory against a cowardly enemy who was targeting only civilians. We hope after that we continue this kind of resistance until the criminals are brought to justice and executed according to the international law.

 Long live Palestine,

Long live Palestine,

Long live Palestine !.

As David put it in a response:

It was an honour (as well as a human duty) to do what we could, when we could, to help you and other Palestinians in Gaza. We only hope that the ceasefire holds, and that the international community comes to see the injustice of Israeli occupation more broadly.
Now, to end that blockade!  (my highlight, mn)
ma3a salaam,

“Have you not thought” (a poem by Sameeha Elwan on numbers)

Have you not thought

While writing down statistics

While raising the number of victims

While reporting an explosion

Whose sound has not your ears pierced

your stomach hurt, the inner bones

to which you’ve not jumped once

or twice, and shouted for life

before you realize

it is still not you

Have not you thought

that maybe i’m not a figure

not a number

not a statistic

to add to your record of experience

to add to ur lecture on human rights

to address your audience of intellect

~Sameeha Elwan

for Rama Al Chandi (intro + poem from Akram Habeeb)

(from our IUG colleague Akram Habeeb: one more heartbreaking story among far far too many…).

It is terrible when you lose sense of time. In Gaza we started not recognize the days of the week or even the boundaries between day and night. All what we see and recognize are the terrible scenes of devastation caused by the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the ribbed bodies of killed children. Today  I was devastated when I saw the dead body of the one year and a half – baby, Ram

a Al Chandi. Rama was killed by an Israeli attack on an old, already destroyed governmental prison called Al Sarayaa. Rama, who was dressed in red pullover was killed while she was sleeping in her purple room. When you drop a 1MT ton bomb on a place adjacent to residential places, you verily know that the neighboring houses will be destroyed and people will be k

illed. This is what is happening in Gaza. The Israelis are targeting deserted and previously destroyed buildings and the results are very devastating; more victims are added to the death toll of the real holocaust the Palestinian people in Gaza are exposed to. When I saw doctors cuffing the hand of Rama, I understood that Rama was no more among us. However, I imagined Rama assuming Lazarus figure and questioning president Obama about the gift he sent for her. Here it goes:

It was dark when I had suddenly seen

What, later, I knew the Phantom F 16

I smiled for the lovely gift,
It might be a doll?Uncle Sam finds for me fit.

A swing,

for me to push and pull?

It roared down as a hell

I never heard of or smell.

First, I thought it July 4th

When fireworks are sent forth,

It might be then my birthday,

Ah, but it is not yet Good Friday

Tell me Uncle Sam what I have seen

Is it a doll or the hideous F 16?

(adaptation of an image from Picasso's Guernica)

To Uncle Jacob you gave for free

To end my Lovely and Rosy Reverie.