Why? – A Poem

'Why did these men in black steal my house?'

(To the old woman in Jerusalem, who lost everything.)

By George Polley


Why did these men in black steal my house

with all my things in it, saying my house is

theirs, that it belonged to their family before


it belonged to mine? How could that be, as

my great-grandfather Hamid built it, lay

the foundation by hand, then stone by stone


before any of these European Jews appeared

claiming that Palestine was their ancestral home.

And why all my things, family photos, dishes,


everything? “Because they belong with the house”

the man with the beard replied. Then he told me

to leave and not come back or I could be arrested.


Arrested? Why? Because the police are their friends,

and this is their neighborhood, too. More and more,

these people are settling in East Jerusalem.


She sighs, thinking “I have neither clothing nor food,

because they’ve taken everything. Where will I go?

To my daughter’s or my son’s?  I’ll go to my son Hatim’s,


who has room and some of my clothes, ones that

I wear when I’m visiting. It will be wonderful seeing

my grandchildren and my son’s wife. “How could


these men be so cruel?” she asked. “It’s happening

everywhere, Mother, this stealing of property, as these

Jews plan to live in everything that’s liveable, no matter


what they must to do obtain it. Two days ago it was

Abdul’s house, yesterday a Jewish family moved into

Yusuf’s. When he complained to the police, the officer


beat him up.” She looked at her son with tears streaming

down her face, knowing enough to know that the

government would do nothing. After all, they want all


Palestinians to leave, so they can have the whole of

Jerusalem, making it their city alone. The question

“Why?” still lingered, as it would do for the rest of her life.


The answer is a simple one: It is easy to do what these

three men did if we see others as standing in our way, and

exclude them when we want to, shrugging our lack of care.


– George Polley is a novelist and a poet. He is the  author of The Old Man and The Monkey, Grandfather and The Raven, Bear, and, most recently “The City Has Many Faces“. He contributed this poem to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit his blog

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1 Comment

  1. It is not anti-semitism or bigotry to recognise the abominations that Jews in Palestine are inflicting upon the Palestinian Nation, every hour, every day,every week, year upon year without respite. It is not anti-semitism or bigotry to recognise the equally abominable War Crimes and Human Rights atrocities that the Palestinian Peoples are forced to endure at the hands and diabolical minds of their occupier, oppressor, invader. Claims asserted by the Jewish Peoples in Palestine, maintaining their unmatched standards of democratic humanitarian credentials, when considered against their actual psychologically deluded realities, must surely qualify as definitive oxymoron delusions.

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