Palestine: “I am afraid of the sea”

In reaction to the raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, Gaza blogger Kawther Abu Hani has written a poetic post from the perspective of a child, entitled Sweets Don't Drown.

On her blog Notes of the Night, Kawther writes:

أنا خائفة جدا من البحر
مرة قتلوا هدى غالية على الشاطئ و مرة أصيب جارنا الصياد برصاصة قطعت ذراعه فأكلتها الأسماك..
هذه المرة أنا أكثر خوفا و قلقا من البحر
و أصبحت حذرة من الماء
حتى ماء الصنبور أنا خائفة منه
أمس استهدفوا طيارتي الورقية المحلقة في سماء البحر
و في الصباح اغتالوا أسطول الحرية
أعلن المخيم أن المساعدات تأجلت
I am really afraid of the sea
One time [the family of] Huda Ghalia was killed on the beach, and another time our fisherman neighbour was shot and his arm was severed and was eaten by fish…
O Mother…
This time I am more afraid and anxious about the sea
And I have become wary of water
I'm even afraid of tap water
Yesterday they targeted my paper kite soaring in the sea's sky
In the morning they assassinated the Freedom Flotilla
The camp announced that the aid was delayed
يا إلهي
كم يصدّق الصغار أبسط المبررات
لكنني لا أصدق أن الحلوى التي على متن الأسطول قد نجت من الغرق, حتى و إن لم تغرق فإنها قد اعتقلت و ربما صودرت إلى أطفال يهود..
لماذا الأطفال اليهود محظوظون أكثر منا؟
O God
The young believe the simplest of excuses
But I do not believe that the sweets on board the flotilla escaped from drowning, even if they did not drown but were confiscated and maybe expropriated for Israeli children…
Why are Israeli children luckier than us?
Children on Gaza shore

Children on Gaza shore (photo by Emad Badwan )

تلك المستوطنة التي ترتفع برأسها و عيونها إلى مخيمنا.. تبدو أبشع من غول حكاية جدتي, أعتقد أن الحلوى ذهبت إليهم, يا خسارة.. كان مذاقها سيكون حلوا في فمي و سيذيب مرارة الحصار العالقة في حلقي.. كنتُ أنا و أصدقائي نخطط لجمع قطع الحلوى التي تبحر إلينا و نصنع منها بيتا صغيرا لننتقم به من الخيم, أتظنين يا أمي أنهم سيُرجعون الحلوى إلينا؟ المعلمة أخبرتنا أن الأمهات اليهوديات لا يرضين لأطفالهن بأن يأكلوا حلوى ملوثة, استغربتُ من ذلك و قفزت من مقعدي أسأل المعلمة ” و هل الحلوى التي يحملها الأسطول ملوثة”, لم تجبني المعلمة و راحت تكمل شرح درس الاحتمالات..
صديقي قال لنا أن الحلوى حقا ملوثة, لقد تلوّثت بالرصاص و بالغاز المسيل للدموع, ثم سكت قليلا و قال بفرح ” لكن الدم طهرها “, صديقتنا أمل تقيّأت عندما سمعته يقول ذلك, لم تحتمل تخيل مشهد قطع حلوى مبللة بدم الكبار, أما أنا فابتهجت و اطمأننتُ بشأن الحلوى.. حلوى بطعم الدم و البحر و البلاد الحرة.
That settler who raises her head and her eyes to our camp… She looks uglier than the monster in my grandmother's story. I think the sweets went to them – what a pity… The taste would have been sweet in my mouth, and the bitterness of the blockade in my throat would have melted away… My friends and I were planning on gathering the sweets that were sailing towards us, and making a small house out of them to take revenge for our tents. Mother, do you think that they will return the sweets to us? Our teacher told us that Israeli mothers do not deign to give their children contaminated sweets; I was surprised by that, and I jumped out of my seat to ask her, “Are the sweets carried by the flotilla contaminated?” The teacher did not answer me and she carried on explaining the lesson on probability…
My friend told us that the sweets were really contaminated, that they were contaminated by bullets and tear gas; he was quiet for a moment then said happily, “But blood purifies them.” Our friend Amal vomited when she heard him say that; she could not bear the thought of a sweet wet with the blood of adults. But I was happy and reassured about the sweets… Sweets which have the taste of blood and the sea and free countries.

1 comment

  • mohamed zefzaf

    Terrible; exquisite.

    A net.A sea, faraway, circling the end of the world.
    Flat, immense-mirror.
    Reflections of our deeds.

    Why-the child asks-
    can he not walk on it.
    Here and nowhere.
    Shall I be very old before all is well?
    Stop the madness.

    Live, love.
    Perhaps then the force that binds us all may be with you.
    Terrible; exquisite.
    A net.
    Can it change?

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