Author's note: My family admires the country of Singapore. It's similar to Gaza in that it is small and has suffered from great poverty. and other difficulties–and yet has managed to rise above the challenges and thrive. One day my mama said, "You know, Omnia? There is so much passion here in Gaza, so much talent that needs to be discovered. If all of our unemployed graduates could use their skills to revive the Gaza Strip, it could be more developed than Singapore. But, the siege is preventing us from capitalizing on this potential!" So I started to imagine Gaza becoming like Singapore…

Gaza citrus
Photo by Bisan Jawad

My beautiful city with skyscrapers,
depot, seaport, airport.
My Gazapore is famous for
its citruses, olives and kenafa,
which I eat every single day.
My hunger can’t be silenced
without their juice
flowing through me.
I’m Gazaporean.

These things run through my veins
instead of my blood!
And oh! The mountains,
green orchards and clear sea.
I can travel outside, but I want to stay.

I have so many pictures of cities
I want to visit, but I don’t want to leave.
Rome, Barcelona, London and New York
are all waiting for me to set foot in them.

No! Gazapore is my homeland, my city
and my refuge. How can I leave?
Do I not have all I need?

My imagination has run wild.
I’ve forgotten that Gaza is no Singapore,
no city open to the world!

We are trapped on four sides!
I lack everything: work, electricity,
water, security . . .  and freedom.
I can’t even see past Erez or the Rafah gates.
Yet my enemies go wherever they like.

I can’t call my country my own,
while my enemies rename every place in it.
Areeha’s citruses wait to be peeled and juiced.

Nasra’s olives are ripe enough to be picked.
Nablus’ kenafa is ready to be tasted.
Al Jaleel Mountains wait for my footsteps.
Haifa’s green orchard greets me.
The Dome of the Rock shines in the sun
and is calling for me.
Where am I, in all of this?

Ah! What’s gotten into me today?
I shouldn’t think that way!
I’ve no right to raise my voice.
I’ve no right to defend my country.
I’ve no right to dream.
Oh, I’ve no right to live!

I’m Gazaporean.
That is all.

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Mentor: Kevin Hadduck

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