No Subject

Julio Pino jpino at
Mon Oct 9 13:57:15 MDT 2000

 The following is an excerpt from a poem that caused a sensation
> when it was read at Tel Aviv marking the first year of the
> Intifada. The poet is an Israeli professor of Hebrew literature
> and he is famous throughout Occupied Palestine as a lyricist and
> TV show host. He was commissioned by the Israeli government to
> write many of its military songs.
> ____
> We Shoot Children Too, Don't We
> by Dan Almagor
> Most of these people truly desire
> To harvest their olive trees
> As they have for hundreds of years.
> Most of these people truly desire to raise their kids
> Not to throw stones
> Or Molotov cocktails,
> But to study in peace,
> To play in peace,
> And to raise a flag.
> Their own flag.
> And facing that flag, to cry
> As we did, that night, then, excited as we were.
> And we have no, have no, have no
> Right in the world
> To rob them of this desire.
> This flag,
> These tears.
> These tears, which always, always
> Come after all the others.
> Let us start preparing our defense.
> We will need it soon enough.
> All those who actually did it,
> And those who still do.
> And those who hushed it up,
> And those who still do.
> And those who said nothing,
> And those who clucked their tongues, saying
> "Something must be done, really;
> (But not tonight. I have a concert,
> A gala,A birthday!)"
> Yes, we'll all get our summons one day
> For the Colonels' trials.
> The Colonel's trials are coming,
> Their time will come, it must be so.
> The trials of the Generals, the Colonels,
> The division, the battalion,
> And the platoon commanders.
> There is no escaping it.
> This is how history works.
> What shall we say?
> What will the Colonels, the Captains, the
> Corporals say?
> What will they say
> Of those terrible beatings,
> The brutality,
> Of houses blown up,
> And most of all, the humiliation.
> That humiliation.
> Of patients forced to wipe the writing
> off the walls.
> Of old men forced to take down a flag
> From an electric pole,
> Who were electrocuted, or fell
> And broke their legs.
> Of the old water carrier
> Whom soldiers ordered off his donkey
> And rode on his back, just for fun.
> Mean, arrogant, and dumb.
> Who do we think we are?
> Who gave us the right
> To be so deaf, so dumb?
> Ignoring the obvious: They are as human
> As we are, as we are.
> At least as human as we used to be
> Only forty-one years ago.
> No less diligent, no less smart.
> As sensitive, as full of hope.
> They love their wives and children
> As we do, no less.
> And our children now shoot theirs
> With lead, plastic bullets, and gas.
> The Palestinian state will come to pass.
> It will.
> Not a poet wrote this.
> History will.
> And seasons may come, and seasons may go,
> And life goes on as we very well know.
> Weddings, and births, and deaths all the same-
> But just the shame of it. The shame.

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