They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
"I used to wonder why some Palestinian people would engage in actions that could only provoke the aggressor further. Then I realized that to ask a people to live quietly, while they have no justice and no freedom, is to ask them to live "peacefully" as slaves. "Peace" without justice or freedom is slavery. It’s like asking a battered woman to live "peacefully" with her abuse. We all want the bloodshed to stop. But what about the daily humiliation and institutionalized oppression?
I was reminded of a part in “The Hunger Games” when Katniss considers abandoning the resistance against the oppressor, in exchange for “safety”. Gale’s response was telling. He said: “Safe to do what? Starve? Work like slaves? Send their kids to the reaping?”
Consider this: If a woman is being raped, things would be a lot more “peaceful” if she didn’t resist. But, asking her not to resist—just because her attacker is physically stronger—is asking her to accept her own abuse and oppression for the sake of “peace”. This is what the world is asking Palestinians to do.
And sometimes what seems to the world as just ineffective tactics, like throwing a rock at a tank, is in fact an act of resistance. It is a powerful statement to the oppressor—and the world—that they refuse to be enslaved. That dignity and self-respect are even more beloved to them than their own lives.
It is a statement that you can take their lives. But not their freedom.”