A Poem for Heroes

By Daughter of ’48

(This poem is dedicated to all political prisoners past and present all over the world who seek a life of dignity, freedom, safety, human rights and justice. This poem is dedicated to all Palestinians who remained principled and steadfast in our struggle against the State of Israel and all other forms of oppression. But this poem is also dedicated to the pain locked inside my father’s eyes and caged inside his body. This poem is my heart song that seeks to make you free. Daddy I see you and I see Palestine. One day, I will build again the home that was stolen from you. And I will do it because when they stole your home they stole the whole you from me before I ever met you…And so Daddy Until ’48 ..)

There are hearts here in this land of our ancestors
Buried but not forgotten
Destroyed villages and broken dreams
Close Your Eyes
Listen,
In the midst of stillness there is noise
Memory Is Loud
Your collective heart beats in there, no matter how faint,
Make our collective heartbeats out here, beat faster and even stronger
Grandfathers, fathers, uncles, cousins, husbands and sons, all of you behind prison walls,
Our heroes,
It is you who has resurrected powerful memories we sometimes dare to try to forget
It is all of you who have resuscitated the dreams of our nation unfulfilled
Such is your power, that in there,
Behind Israel’s prison walls, as you make your way closer to death,
Out Here, behind Israel’s Apartheid Walls, you bring us back to life
Sumoud
Allah Maak Habibi

In the silence of suffering you have made noise of withering bodies
You have spoken to our collective conscious which they have tried to lay to make us lay to rest
You order us to rise up
Rise up and tell them you say, that Palestine 1948, 1967 and beyond are alive and well in 2012
Neither memory, nor dream,
She is Palestine
She is hunger
And hunger is everlasting
And so,
Resistance is born and reborn again with each generation
There are keys held and doors to unlock
Today the coo of the dove is a little less peaceful as it soars above prison walls

Today you remind us that, we are children born of stolen pastures of vivid green, born to native land
Today you remind us that, jiddos dispossession from native land was merely physical,
For today, we remain possessed by the inheritance of that land and by its memories as do you

Today you tell the world, that you are kings and that your crown is this memory 
Today you tell the world, that your body is anointed by the golden emerald elixir of spirit,
Today you tell the world, that the golden elixir of spirit is the fruit born of your ancestors olive trees
Today you tell the world, that rise of our nation will be birthed by soldiers of conscious
Today you tell the world, that our soldiers are not born of the death giving spirit of enmity,
Today you tell the world that our soldiers are born of the life affirming spirit of justice and so much love

There are hearts here in this land of our ancestors
Buried but not forgotten
Destroyed villages and broken dreams

Close Your Eyes
Listen,
In the midst of stillness there is noise,
Memory Is Loud

Your collective heart beats in there, behind Israel’s prison walls
And makes our collective heartbeats out here, behind Israel’s Apartheid Walls
Our Hearts beat faster for watching justice rise is exhilarating

Can You Hear, the thunderous beat of applause?
Grandfathers, fathers, uncles, cousins, husbands and sons,
It is for all of you, behind their prison walls who resurrect memories we sometimes try to forget
It is for all of you who resuscitate the dreams of our nation unfulfilled
Such is your power, that in there, behind their prison walls
As you make your way closer to death, out here you bring us back to life
Sumoud
Allah Maak Habibi

Today you beckon that we rise and we tell them what they think we have forgotten,

Tell them that Palestine is not Dayton & Co.
Tell them that dreams of a nation are born within its own borders
Tell them, that Washington is not Palestine
Tell them that AIPAC is not Al-Awdah or Adalah and so money does not trump memory
Tell them that the silence they see on the streets is made of glass, easily shattered
Tell them that their security apparatus is a house of cards, it will fall
Tell them that their lies are no match for our truths and finally,
Tell them that no signs will be erected to warn of our wounds,
Which are minefields over which, they tread ever so less than lightly

Today I tell you that, hell hath no fury like a Palestinian woman scorned,
Lest you render my grandfather, my father, my uncle, my cousin, my husband
Inhuman with your inhumanity behind your prison walls,
Out here behind your Apartheid Walls I shall honor their spirit
For tomorrow I will birth a child and sing OUNADIKUM softly in my newborns ear
Today I tell you that this child will inherit the noise of the silence that you call security
And Tomorrow or the day after my child will silence your noise
And eventually tomorrow will change today
And so, Dear State of Israel do not forget that I told you so lest my child have to remind you

For today there are only cautionary tales to tell
Today I tell you it is time for you to look backward dear friends
Today I tell you look backward so that you may look forward to know your future
Today I beckon you to look to those behind prison walls to warn you that the future is near
Today I beckon you to look to those behind prison walls to warn you that silence is noise
Today I beckon you to look to those behind prison walls so that you may know hunger is everlasting
Today I beckon you to look to those behind prison walls so that you may know,
That your walls are,
MEANINGLESS

The physical is not the spirit
The captor and captive are not born of the same fruit
The oppressed and the oppressor are not anointed of the same elixir
The PA, Dayton and Co, and Washington are not Palestine
DON’T BELIEVE ME, I BECKON YOU TO LOOK TO THOSE BEHIND PRISON WALLS

There are hearts here in this land of our ancestors
Buried but not forgotten
Destroyed villages and broken dreams
Close Your Eyes
Listen,
In the midst of stillness there is noise
Memory Is Loud
Your collective heart beats in there no matter how faint,
Make our collective heartbeats out here beat faster and even stronger
Hear, the thunderous beat of applause
Grandfathers, fathers, uncles, cousins, husbands and sons, all of you behind prison walls,
Our heroes,
It is all of you, behind prison walls who have resurrect memories we sometimes dare try to forget
It is all of you who have resuscitated the dreams of our nation unfulfilled
Such is your power, that in there, behind Israel’s prison walls, as you make your way closer to death,
Out Here, behind Israel’s Apartheid Walls, you bring us back to life
Sumoud
Allah Maak Habibi

You remind us that Palestine transcends the limitations of an impoverished imagination
Indeed We Dream of Nation Rising
Dear Prisoners, Dear Heroes you have dared make it so and thus,
Nation of Palestine from behind their walls meant to keep you away from us your hunger has reached us
Nation of Palestine your hunger feeds us, feeds our spirit and our moral imagination
Nation of Palestine your hunger nourishes our memories and births resistance
Nation of Palestine your hunger behind those walls unites us and creates an even deeper rooting than the sacred Olive Trees to which we were born

Oh My Brother how do I make them understand?
How do I make them understand that they can build walls to encase your physical being,
But that they cannot make walls high enough, nor prisons big enough,
To keep us apart, To keep us from loving each other and dreaming with one another
Oh My Brother how do I make them understand?
Make them understand that, our love conceives justice as memory

And so,
Our Nation Is but a Matter of Time for It Is A Matter of Heart and Mind
Our love is born of noble beginnings
Our Love Is Greater than the hate they have for us
Our nightmares will end and so too will their dreams
Oh My Brother how do I make them understand that Palestine is not geography?
Oh My Brother, how do I make them understand that Palestine is biology plus magic?
An equation they shall never understand
Their homes built on shattered dreams,
Ghosts linger and hearts haunt as they beat into eternity
And the arithmetic of these hearts does not belong to text
But time immemorial…

Taytuh is gone my brother but I have inherited her work worn hands
She toiled in the richness of our soil now stolen,
And now, I toil too, in the richness of her memory and that of our nation
It was that equation I speak of that they don’t understand,
Theft plus memory of theft equals inheritance
Biology plus magic equals writer and so I will forever labour with pen in hand and try to write justice
But I cannot claim this gift as mine for these words do not belong to me
They only move through me and so my brother today on behalf of Nation to be,
I just wanted to send special greetings to all of you behind prison walls in the form of a poem
A POEM FOR HEROES

And to the world we say…
There are hearts behind those prison walls built on the stolen land of our ancestors
Buried but not forgotten are our ancestors and destroyed villages
Thus, in the midst of stillness they hear noise because memory is loud
And the plea for justice and the promise to one day make it so becomes louder still

We believe that in part this is what keeps our HEROES strong, for they are housed in their land of birth…
Your prisons are built on the land of our peoples ancestors,
It is conceivable Dear Colonizer that it is that very soil that seeps into their being
It is conceivable Dear Colonizer that your Prisoners, Our Heroes,
are fertilized and thus nourished by the memories over which they reside
and that the ghosts that linger and hearts haunt as they beat into eternity
have made their way inside your prisons,
Resistance springs eternal because remember the arithmetic of these hearts does not belong to text
But time immemorial

Heroes, you grow
With each passing day you grow stronger, though your body may seem weaker
Yet, who can be stronger than the one who boldly marches towards death in order to resurrect life?
Israel is no foe for such mighty warriors
Their battle was born of weapons and yours of blood
And so, Our Heroes
Until Jerusalem

The world turns away, never to have looked
And we Palestinians close our eyes too,
But only, so that we may listen and see clearly with our minds eye,
See what HEROES look like,
Hear what HEROES sound like,
Know what the promise of freedom might taste like
And so their tongues savour hunger everlasting
For we have rewarded them with the promise that we will satiate this hunger

We tell the world that we hear the noise of their collective heartbeat,
We tell the world that their collective heartbeat beats in sync with the dreams of a nation
Our Hearts beating against each other creates a clapping chorus,
It rings of the sound of a nation that defies boundaries and impoverished imaginations
We tell the world that it is our Grandfathers, fathers, uncles, cousins, husbands and sons,
Those behind prison walls, who have resurrected painful memories we sometimes try to forget
We tell the world and with them include,
Those among us who sip café lattes in false castles in a city in Palestine, not the nation of Palestine
We tell those among us born of foreign blood money not fertile crescent that a café latte in Ramallah,
Is no antidote against memory,
Is no antidote against the golden elixir of spirit, that is born of the fruit born of our ancestors olive trees
That freedom is not free
And it is most certainly not for sale

Our nation is born of the transcendent capacity of memory and the magical equation of justice
And the arithmetic of these hearts does not belong to text
But time immemorial…

We tell the world that our prisoners are our heroes and they have resuscitated the dreams of nation
We tell the world that our prisoners are living monuments to resistance of the purest kind
Such is their power behind Israel’s prison walls that are behind Israel’s Apartheid Walls
And though they may make their way closer to death over there,
Their hunger has not been wasted for they bring us closer to life over here
We ingratiate our nation’s prisoners, our nation’s heroes with a thunderous beat of applause
We turn our gaze to them eyes beaming with pride and we salute them
And in unison,
And in solidarity,
We say,
This poem is for you,
A Poem For Heroes
Sumoud
Allah Maak Habibi

– "Daughter of ’48" contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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