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

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

From tragedy, comes life

Hanin Alyan Elholy | 12-01-2018


On October 30, 2017, the Israeli military attacked a tunnel being built as a doorway out of Gaza. Seven Palestinian men were killed and 12 more were injured. Among the dead was Ahmad Khalil Abu Armana, a 25-year-old resistance fighter. Two hours after Armana was killed, his pregnant wife was taken to the same hospital as her husband’s body; the news of his death caused her to go into premature labor.  When I read this story in the news, it touched me deeply…and I wrote this poem.

A father of one of the men killed in the attack

It happens that
the loss of one single person
convulses your universe.
You turn numb, robotic, cold.
Then losses fall like hailstones,
until you lose your self.

It happens that
you keep remembering,
longing, remembering, longing,
longing until your mind empties,
your heart bleeds out,
your soul vanishes.
You are done being human.

It happens that
as a stone splits and gushes water,
your heart shatters and pours out,
you curse love, blaspheme passion,
spit out the last joy of life,
and wish to die.

Ahmed's namesake, born two hours after this death

It happened that
as fighters, steady in their striving,
tunneled beneath our Gaza,  
missiles like vampires devoured them.
An aroma of ambergris* rose up from some,
while darkness buried others,
without warning, without ceremony.

It happened
upon that blood-red sunset,
as one martyr rose
into the arms of heaven,
his son bloomed on earth.
His widow ululated
as her sweetheart celebrated in heaven.

It happened, happens and will happen,
yet we will all gather with them
at the first sunrise of paradise.
A man is never lost as long as
his name and deeds are alive.
He is cradled in the land he dies for.

* A substance--surprisingly used when making perfume--released when people die and their bowels release. It sometimes is used as a euphemism for feces.

Posted: January 11, 2018

Mentor: Kevin Hadduck

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