Saturday, April 06, 2013

Poetry Month 2013 - Day 6

Point your bullet where ever you like in my body
I will die today, but my homeland will live tomorrow
Be careful, Palestine is a red line.
                                                   - Amer Nassar (d 2013, age 17)

No land is mine
If land belongs to any one
it belongs to God (not that I believe).
The path to peace
is mindset
not history
is not our destiny,
nor is a text
which people wrote
for social control
and self-protection,
not for neighborly love.
Criticize me if you wish (and I know you will)
but, as a Jew, I object when synagogues raise children
to make Aliyah – to occupy land and not make peace
and that a two-state solution
is still
out of reach.

Everyone needs a home,
a roof and food to eat
but home need not
is a religious concept
that fights peace
     - but implicitly -
on all sides.

My beloved aunt, may she rest in peace,
believed the land is “ours. We belong here,”
she told me before she died.
She was wrong,
and I protect her memory by saying so.

When I came home to America
which has always been my home
- and I’m grateful for it -
I was told by some that you just left Home.
To that, I say Bullshit.
I am a middle-class American Jew
with food to eat and medical care.
I have no right to complain
that I am not Home -
or that I don’t have a home -
just because I’m not in eretz yisrael.

As Jews, our place in the world
is to help others -
to perform mitzvot -
not to shoot.
That doesn’t mean we don’t protect ourselves
but as we protect ourselves
we place our arms around others
first and foremost
around a table
in a circle
not in front of
or behind
a red or a blue
or a green line.

As for religion,
how presumptuous to think that I -
or anyone else – male, female,
Christian, Muslim, or Jew -
might know (believer or not) what God wants.

What I do know is that people
want peace -
and not through war
and hatred
and killing.
We are not born to hate
but to seek comfort
and love
and to give it in return.

-Esther Altshul Helfgott


1 comment:

Farid Bitar/poet said...

I don't have words to describe how I feel about your prose-poem,,,it's hard to see a 17 year old youth,,,his life snuffed out of him,,,I witnessed soldiers in Jerusalem and Bethlehem taking the liberty of damage control, including killing Innocent civilians-kids and mothers,,,with my own eyes, sow blood pouring out of a boy and his standing wailing and I had no words to console the woman,,,Palestine is my Homeland and the 17 year old, weather we are alive or dead,,,I say his soul will always visit the land of Zion,,,but the next time around there will be justice and no anger,,,and no red line will ever matter,,,there will never be peace in that tormented land, till all of us have an equal share and fair chance of living a decent life,,,call me what you want, but I lived through 3 Wars and I am still alive, my fellow brothers and sisters are not as lucky,,,one day peace is coming, my father passed and I think I will too before it happens, but even if it takes eternity it will one day happen,,,Israel is very arrogant, and one day Goliath will fall.