Can you carry your plate of french fries
On your head to your dinner table?
A plate full of tasty french fries
Is a “fast” food in some places,
But it’s not so speedy, here in Egypt,
Where guiding a horse and tilling the field
Is the way potatoes make it to the plate.
Can you see yourself clearing the field,
Collecting them one by one,
From the soil into your bucket?
Just imagine your daily life
Working as a french fry farmer –
No one pulls the bag from the freezer
Without someone harvesting potatoes.
I’m taking part in the Oct. 16, 2014 Blog Action Day activities. The theme for this year is “#Inequality.” Anyone familiar with my blog will recognize that I don’t usually write about politics, but for this post I’m making an exception. Inequality is a theme I hold pretty tightly to my chest, it constricts my heart painfully and chokes off my air, leaving me speechless, angry, depressed, and torn by a whirlwind of sorrowful thoughts.
At the bottom of this post I’ve embedded a YouTube video that broke my heart with no hope of repair. I’ve never seen a better champion for the Palestinian cause. The injustice that the Palestinians are suffering is so offensive that the weight of it is too much for the whole Earth to carry. Inequality is a gross underestimation of the situation. I’m not interested in arguing politics, just sharing my broken heart. Please watch the entire video. My poem is dedicated to the little Palestinian girl you will see in the last few minutes. My loving and beloved husband, Mohamed, wrote the translation in Arabic.
She Was Born In The Respite Between Intifadas
She was born in the respite between intifadas,
كانت مولوده في الهدن بين انتفاضه واخري
Surrounded by toys, and dolls, and sunglasses.
محاطه باللعب والعرايس والنظارات الشمسيه
Adored by her family, she listened, entranced,
محاطه بحب اسرتها تسمع وتتامل
But as she learned to speak, no one spoke of the past –
ولكن عندما كانت تتعلم الكلام لم يحدثها احد عن الماضي
When the sky rained bullets from huge clouds of gas
وعندما امطرت السماء الرصاص من سحاب الفسفور الكثيف
Belching ballistic missiles, spewing blood and death.
يتجشاء الصواريخ الباليستيه يتقياالدم والموت
So she learned to walk, and then went off to school.
عندها تعلمت المشي وبعدها ذهبت للمدرسه
Oblivious to everything, she danced upon the rubble,
دون ان تعلم كل شي رقصت علي حطام الابنيه
Playing with her dolls in places full of danger.
تلعب بعرائسها في اماكن مشحونه بالخطر
She brought such beauty to the place,
اضافت مسحة الجمال علي المكان
They didn’t dream of waking her.
جعلت حلم ايقاظها مستحيل
And so the rains awakened her, when the next storm arrived.
عندئذ ايقظها المطر عندما وصلتها عاصفة المطر التاليه
It didn’t take her life, but it took a very long time,
لم تاخذ روحها ولكن اخذت الكثير من عمرها
Finding her balance, and regaining her strength,
حتى تجد توازنها و وتستعيد قوتها
After the desperate separation of school from education –
بعد ياس افتراق المدرسه من التعليم
Of childhood from race; of neighborhood from faith –
والطفل من جنسه ومجتمع من عقيدته
Of hypocrisy from hate; of fantasy from fate.
والنفاق من الكراهيه واحلام اليقظه من القدر
Imagine, next time you stand at your sink,
In your air conditioned home, with your hot water heater
Delivering comfort and ease to your fingers
As you complain about doing the dishes –
Imagine a life with no running water,
Windows always open to the weather,
Your big stack of dirty dishes waiting
For you to carry them down to the well.
Hurry, your neighbor is watering his field,
He won’t complain about sharing the water
As you get advantage from the gushing machine
To scrub your dirty dishes clean
As you laugh and joke with your neighbor.