Newly published by Onslaught Press is for the children of Gaza, an anthology of poems and art work. An incredible feat to get it out so quickly and the poems are well chosen and all are marvellous. You can ask me to send you a pdf or you can contribute by buying a copy from them
You can see much more on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/onslaughtpress.
Below is the preface written by the editors, Matthew Staunton and Rethabile Masilo followed by a sample poem from Maggie Harris.
Operation Protective Edge, described by US Secretary
of State John Kerry as “Israel’s appropriate
and legitimate effort to defend itself” from Hamas
rocketeers and tunnel builders, is now in its fourth
week. Unfortunately for the civilian population
of Gaza, however, there is little in this operation
that could reasonably be considered defensive.
The destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure
and its only power station, the targeting of schools,
hospitals, mosques, fishing boats, orchards, and
the beach is more about making life intolerable
for Gazans than it is about ending rocket attacks.
The civilian death toll, and the number of child
casualties in particular, make it difficult to see
this as anything other than collective punishment.
And yet we are asked every day to believe that these
casualties are ‘legitimate’, ‘unavoidable’, ‘appropriate’,
‘justified’, ‘necessary’, and ‘reasonable’ and
that children are dying because they are being
used as ‘human shields’.
Suffering is increasingly mediated by diplomats,
official spokespeople, broadcasters, news corporations,
community leaders, spin doctors, and
legal teams, but usually with no more than a
passing commentary. We see more and more
pictures of dead children on our screens and in
our newspapers but the texts and speeches that
accompany them are full of ambiguous and misleading
words, or words with no meaning at all.
Sometimes there are so many dead children
that it is more expedient to forget about words
altogether and simply use numbers.
The contributors to this book are telling the
story of our anger and disgust and horror. You
will not be surprised to discover that there is
darkness in many of the texts that follow. But
there is also joy and beauty. Its aim is much less
to accuse than to paint a correct picture of what
most of the world seemingly does not see, or
chooses not to see, and we think that a right
recognition of the reality of Gaza today needs to
be accompanied by the right remedial action.
Such action is in the hands of all of us, even if
the leaders of the world, who are indeed in the
best position to act, do not.
What is at stake in Gaza goes well beyond the
politics of sides and enters the consideration of
crime and of killing. There are many accomplices
on both sides and as in any crime, they, too,
must be held accountable. Bishop Tutu has said
that “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you
have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant
has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that
you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your
neutrality.” The work presented here by many
artists and writers from all corners of the world
attempts, unlike the non-actions of those who
actually have political clout and power, to choose
the side of the oppressed.
Suddenly, in the face of these killings, it does not
matter that tunnels have been dug, or that rockets
are being launched at Israeli cities. Even if you
are right, what suddenly matters is choosing to
kill your opponent, who is weaker.
Mathew D. Staunton & Rethabile Masilo
Consider the Shape of Things
Consider the shape of things:
the round earth, the sun, the moon,
a mother’s arms, the cradle of her womb.
Consider a hug, nestling against a heart,
a tiny fist
opening like a desert flower.
Consider childhood, the hope, the teens:
all our tomorrows
planted in their footsteps.
There is no room here
for guns and bombs,
the crazy run of vengeance.
Is it a given we can do no more than wring our hands
and watch TV,
grateful for our children in the back yard?
if we do not stand up for Gaza’s children,
who will stand up for ours?