The Catastrophe

By Zainab al-Ashkar

The story began on one fateful day

When the new world was born and the old passed away

It was the year of nineteen hundred and forty eight

And the event was the creation of a brand new state

All had seemed well in this bright new world

The realization of humanity’s plans newly unfurled

But little did our fair race realize

The pain and suffering that was to materialize

For this new state had a much darker goal

They seized our ancient homeland and asserted their control

They imported strangers into our land, and thus began our plight

For see these new residents wanted us out of their sight

Then a plan was initiated to make room for the new

Taken straight from Hitler’s playbook, our exodus had ensued

Our children’s future now uncertain, our families without a home

We were forced to bear our burdens and trek the long journey alone

The memories of home was all that remain

For the charred skeletons of our villages now dotted the terrain

In the blink of an eye, we were a nation on the run

Forced to leave our homes and villages at the barrel of a gun

Many an innocent died on this trek into the unknown

The rest were condemned to live in lands that weren’t our own

Meanwhile the world watched this tragedy unfold

The new residents facilitating the displacement of the old

The world cheered them on, ever so sympathetic

The reasons for this were simple yet pathetic

They claimed they were the rightful owners of every rock and tree

In this great land called Israel, because God gave them the key

No longer were we welcome in the land our fathers known

Where ancient culture was fostered and our family trees sown

Now we are strangers in no man’s land, with severed blood and ties

Relinquishing it to immigrants based on a multitude of lies

Lies that were created, developed, exported to the masses

Believed by people of all nations, ages, races, and classes

The world blinded to our suffering, we yearned for a voice

We found it in resistance; we were left with little choice

But the blowback hit us hard, the accusations, labels, and fears

Now deafened the world to our suffering and tears

Little did they care of the spark called Zionism

They dismissed our plight with words like “terrorism”

After six decades, it seems little has changed

The truth may find its way out, but is quickly rearranged

The media, the clerics, the foreign policy makers

They are a lot less like doves, and more like undertakers

The blood of our children is dripping from their hands

As the remnant of our great people are slaughtered in our lands

The world cares not; still they turn a blind eye

Because the preachers, the rabbis, even the imams continue to deny

That the real problem is still the old one, it needs to be stated

Its name is Zionism, it’s a concept long outdated

Religious supremacy and racial elitists dominate the stage

They’re responsible for our oppression and the cause of our rage

One day I know though, that our struggle will prevail

Putting Zionism in its coffin and securing its final nail

Then and only then we be sovereign in our lands

These are our RIGHTS, not our privileges or demands

The land was ours, from the beginning of time

Resistance against the usurpers was far from a crime

It is the only way to ensure a long and lasting peace

Once Zionism is extinguished only then will we cease

I am wholly uncertain that my lifetime will see this through

But I am hopeful that with the generation new

There will be a victory over the oppressors, and in a glorious celebration

We will finally be able to realize the return of our nation

And echoing off the mountains and resounding through time

Will be the eternal words, “Long Live the Free Palestine!”
– Zainab al-Ashkar contributed this poem to

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