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The Ballad of the Fleas

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

By John Walker Lindh

The Ballad of the Fleas

It’s said that black death spread by fleas
On backs of rats they rode
One fateful autumn thus they came
With vengeance as their code

Like blight they spread from crags to plains
To hilly dusty turf
To rocky lunar landscapes ‘neath
The rooftop of the earth

They hid behind the highest clouds
To fly as swift as sound
With daisy cutters cluster bombs
And spies upon the ground

*

Their leader stepped out swaggering
Declaring a crusade
He called the world to follow him
And most of them obeyed

For wolves may foam and bark and bite
And gnash and gnaw and hiss
But if a sheep should dare bite back
He’d be a terrorist

The knights of Malta raised their spears
The knights Templars came next
The rabble cheered them in the streets
Priests quoted Bible texts

*

Their quislings all crawled out to them
Each kneeled to give his oath
They squealed and cried “Islam is peace”
But disbelieved in both

They ushered ashen donkeys forth
Jackasses bearing scrolls
They brayed in fervent fever pitch
For dollar bills in rolls

The words they spoke those days were such
That had he known their name
Old Abdullah Ibnu Ubayy
Would cringe and blush in shame

*

They send their drones to level homes
And blow up wedding feasts
They heap more arms in warlords’ hands
To spread democracy

They roam at night to break down doors
To search and strip and rape
To bind and kidnap anyone
To shoot those who escape

With muzzles full of lofty talk
Free speech and human rights
They drive out millions from their land
And say it’s worth the price

*

An aid worker clerk or farmer
Sold like a modern slave
Gets beaten by their boots and guns
And thrown into a cage

He’s sat upon and spat upon
Broke by the brave and free
By brave crusaders brave and bold
As brave as brave can be

If they but knew that with each act
Of torture and abuse
Around the neck of Uncle Sam
They tighten up the noose

*

Mirages in the distance glow
Lads line up in the queue
As one more body bag comes back
Hid from the public view

A blistered bloated jarhead face
Deep purple findernails
A smell seeps out that’s foul enough
To cleanse a man’s entrails

Their rulers lurch and boast and strut
But keep far from the fray
They swoon and quake from fear to tread
Where lurking lions lay

*

As tawheed’s caravan moves on
And marches in the dusk
The crimson wound of one of them
Emits the scent of musk

To rule God’s earth by God’s own law
They sacrifice their lives
They spill their lifeblood willingly
Until God’s help arrives

Although victory entices them
What soothes them even more
Is hope to enter gardens lush
With honey milk and hur

*

Where stars and stripes and Union Jacks
And NATO flags once flew
Black banners rise in Khurasan
In hands of every hue

Just as how warsteeds’ coats are cleaned
And purged of lice and fleas
The cavalcade of martyrs fights
An empire to its knees

All praise and thanks are due to God
To Him alone they bowed
And peace be on His messenger
Whose face beams in his shroud

Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi
Detainee #001

Ramadan 1431

This item was first posted at http://www.cageprisoners.com

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The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our Tears

© giwersworld.org

By Chris Hedges

The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our Tears

Chris Hedges made these remarks Thursday night in New York City at a fundraiser for sponsoring a U.S. boat to break the blockade of Gaza. More information can be found at www.ustogaza.org.

When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.

I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive … you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.

And so tonight, a night when some seek to name names and others seek to hide names, let me do some naming. Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes. “Closures” mean heavily armed soldiers who ring Palestinian ghettos, deny those trapped inside food or basic amenities—including toys, razors, chocolate, fishing rods and musical instruments—and carry out a brutal policy of collective punishment, which is a crime under international law. “Disputed land” means land stolen from the Palestinians. “Clashes” mean, almost always, the killing or wounding of unarmed Palestinians, including children. “Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank” mean fortress-like compounds that serve as military outposts in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. “Targeted assassinations” mean extrajudicial murder. “Air strikes on militant bomb-making posts” mean the dropping of huge iron fragmentation bombs from fighter jets on densely crowded neighborhoods that always leaves scores of dead and wounded, whose only contact with a bomb was the one manufactured in the United States and given to the Israeli Air Force as part of our complicity in the occupation. “The peace process” means the cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people.

These are some names. There are others. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish in the late afternoon of Jan. 16, 2009, had a pair of Israeli tank shells rip through a bedroom in his Gaza apartment, killing three of his daughters—Bessan, Mayar and Aya—along with a niece, Noor.

“I have the right to feel angry,” says Abuelaish. “But I ask, ‘Is this the right way?’ So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate.”

“Whom to hate?” asks the 55-year-old gynecologist, who was born a Palestinian refugee and raised in poverty. “My Israeli friends? My Israeli colleagues? The Israeli babies I have delivered?”

The Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali wrote this in his poem “Revenge”:

At times … I wish

I could meet in a duel

the man who killed my father

and razed our home,

expelling me

into

a narrow country.

And if he killed me,

I’d rest at last,

and if I were ready—

I would take my revenge!

*

But if it came to light,

when my rival appeared,

that he had a mother

waiting for him,

or a father who’d put

his right hand over

the heart’s place in his chest

whenever his son was late

even by just a quarter-hour

for a meeting they’d set—

then I would not kill him,

even if I could.

*

Likewise … I

would not murder him

if it were soon made clear

that he had a brother or sisters

who loved him and constantly longed to see him.

Or if he had a wife to greet him

and children who

couldn’t bear his absence

and whom his gifts would thrill.

Or if he had

friends or companions,

neighbors he knew

or allies from prison

or a hospital room,

or classmates from his school …

asking about him

and sending him regards.

*

But if he turned

out to be on his own—

cut off like a branch from a tree—

without a mother or father,

with neither a brother nor sister,

wifeless, without a child,

and without kin or neighbors or friends,

colleagues or companions,

then I’d add not a thing to his pain

within that aloneness—

not the torment of death,

and not the sorrow of passing away.

Instead I’d be content

to ignore him when I passed him by

on the street—as I

convinced myself

that paying him no attention

in itself was a kind of revenge.

And if these words are what it means to be a Muslim, and I believe it does, name me too a Muslim, a follower of the prophet, peace be upon him.

The boat to Gaza will be named “The Audacity of Hope.” But these are not Barack Obama’s words. These are the words of my friend the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. They are borrowed words. And Jerry Wright is not afraid to speak the truth, not afraid to tell us to stop confusing God with America. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands [killed] in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Or the words of Edward Said:

Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.

For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.

And some of the last words of Rachel Corrie to her parents:

I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside. When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

And if this is what it means to be a Christian, and I believe it does, to speak in the voice of Jeremiah Wright, Edward Said or Rachel Corrie, to remember and take upon us the pain and injustice of others, then name me a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

And what of the long line of Jewish prophets that run from Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos to Hannah Arendt, who reminded the world when the state of Israel was founded that the injustice meted out to the Jews could not be rectified by an injustice meted out to the Palestinians, what of our own prophets, Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, outcasts like all prophets, what of Uri Avnery or the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, who writes in his poem “Rypin,” the Polish town his father escaped from during the Holocaust, these words:

These creatures in helmets and khakis,

I say to myself, aren’t Jews,

In the truest sense of the word. A Jew

Doesn’t dress himself up with weapons like jewelry,

Doesn’t believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,

But in the thumb of the child who was shot at—

In the house through which he comes and goes,

Not in the charge that blows it apart.

The coarse soul and iron first

He scorns by nature.

He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier

With his finger on the trigger—but to justice,

And he cries out for compassion.

Therefore, he won’t steal land from its people

And will not starve them in camps.

The voice calling for expulsion

Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressor—

A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country

And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city.

Because of voices like these, father

At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin;

Now here Rypin is your son.

And if to be Jew means this, and I believe it does, name me a Jew. Name us all Muslims and Christians and Jews. Name us as human beings who believe that when one of us suffers all of us suffer, that we never have to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us all, that the tears of the mother in Gaza are our tears, that the wails of the bloodied children in Al Shifa Hospital are the wails of our own children.

Let me close tonight with one last name. Let me name those who send these tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside, let me name those who deny children the right to a childhood and the sick a right to care, those who torture, those who carry out assassinations in hotel rooms in Dubai and on the streets of Gaza City, those who deny the hungry food, the oppressed justice and foul the truth with official propaganda and state lies. Let me call them, not by their honorific titles and positions of power, but by the name they have earned for themselves by draining the blood of the innocent into the sands of Gaza. Let me name them for who they are: terrorists.

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C.

View additional photos of Gaza Massacres: http://giwersworld.org/antisem/GAZA-pics/index.html

The Alchemist: Stirring the Brew

By Jon Bourn

Editor of Jericho Rendezvous Blog
Stirring the Brew, a Dose of Vitamin D?

The house of the alchemist is like the manubrium, but as the mandala, its power tends to be natal, the old ecliptic signal remains.

Like a hankering discontent of a worm hole, the signal is made into the den for the lion, a priest among edified men.

The mind can create anything it wants, the choices of memory divide for the sleeping lion, warlocks to the magma, or clinging sandhi to the wind.

But the choices are many, numerous, even caduceus pulsating on their own, tic-toc tic-toc, scampering and reduviid for more.

Assembly brings a human right, independent of the den where the demon power flies as a magnet in the ash of a cloud, or the blastoderm modus vivendi.

As in event of a deepwater horizon, and the oil of hatred spilled, a harmony naught navigable, foreign as the cleaning of machine fodder.

In the panacea of working the metal, the mental rainbow of mensa, the soul is the sun not the spiritual rain, the maker of market in the field.

One cannot reign oneself for the hamadryad, her spirit must be free of the senses of heat, aid to the wormwood in the barrel of a gun.

A rank descent no one returns from, of the father, of the sun, and the circumspected ones where peace does not wither or run.

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