Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

One year later: Here we are after the war--a poem

Hossam Madhoun | 10-07-2015

Digital art by Basel El Maqosui, Gaza (created for this poem)

And here we are. One year after the war.
Here we are; we who are still alive after the war.
We’re still eating and sleeping.
We’re still going to work, watching TV,
Going out with friends who are still alive,
Visiting family members who survived,
Walking in the streets that don't look like themselves any more.
Meeting people who are not themselves any more.
No one stayed the same.

After the war, Mohammad celebrates
 his daughter’s birthday in the rubble of his house.
 which was bombed in the war.
Remembering a wife and a son,
A wall and a door,
A bed and calm evenings,
And memories that went away with the war.
Samira, the 7-year-old, tries to clutch her doll,
But she can’t; her hand was the price of war.
Ali's mother still prepares food for six people;
Her husband is unable to convince her
  that three of her sons went with the war.
She still believes they will come back,
And when they come back, they will come back hungry…

One year after the war, we still go to the cafe and play cards,
Drinking our coffee without sugar,
Smoking our hubbly bubbly,
Showing our latest selfies on our Facebook pages.
But our photos are not the same as one year ago.
Darkness fell over our photos no matter the light.
Nothing remains the same after the war.

And there are different kinds of wars, my friend.
There is war from the sky, from the land, from the sea.
In the war from the sky, bombardment comes from everywhere;
You cannot predict when and where it will strike,
So you cannot hide, and you stay still,
Waiting for death with a strange, involuntary smile on your face.
In the war by land, you also don’t know when and where the shells will fall.
So again you cannot hide, and you stay still,
Waiting for death.

Wars are a very strange thing, difficult to describe, my friend.
War ends and you believe you survived.
But after a while, you realize that the war is still going on within you,
Chasing you in your dreams, in the destruction around you,
In the funerals and the sad faces in the streets and the markets,
In the sorrow of those who lost their beloved relatives.
Wars do not end or leave simply.
Suddenly your 11-year-old child wets his bed,
  and your wife has nightmares;
You too, but you don't admit it!
Your clever daughter is getting very low marks at school
  and she doesn’t know why.
Suddenly your kind and nice neighbor
  doesn’t stop yelling and shouting at his wife and kids.
Day and night and no one can stop him.
Your eldest son wakes up in panic with any strange sound.
A knock at the door, a cup falls and breaks,
  a fast car’s wheels scream in the street.

After war, nothing remains the same.
Before war, there were no people living in
  half-destroyed homes or sheltering in schools.
Before war there were no children or women
  looking for something to eat in the garbage.
Before war there weren’t thousands of beggars of all ages:
Children, youth, women, men.
Before war there weren’t 50.000 people without homes.
Before war there weren’t 800,000 children
  suffering from fear, nightmares, bed-wetting, sleep disturbance, anxiety.
Before war… before war … before war…
And after the war????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Get updates to your inbox. Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
New server