Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 17 May 2018






We are pleased to present a new poem from Alan Gibbons


We are all Palestinians

Because in the Gaza bombing of 2014
2,300 Palestinians and seventy-one Israelis died,
Women, children, men,
The elderly, the helpless, the infirm,
The innocents, the fighters, the brave, the fearful,
The dreamers, traders, makers,
Because of them,
We are all Palestinians.
Because over ten thousand people were wounded,
Flesh torn, bones broken, limbs rendered useless,
Because lives changed forever,
Hopes, dreams, aspirations were shattered
Like flesh and bone,
Trickled like fresh blood into the gutter,
We are all Palestinians.
Because one in four houses were
Rendered uninhabitable,
Because walls cracked and shattered,
Because schools, hospitals, mosques, homes
And the only power plant,
Were slit open like ripe figs,
Because shell holes gaped
Like vacant eye sockets,
Because the remnants of lives lay under rubble,
Those photographs, mementoes, books and toys,
We are all Palestinians.
Because fighter aircraft screamed
Over miles of stunted olive trees,
barbed wire, beaches and graffitied walls,
Because tanks chewed tracks
And growled dust through pitiless dawns and dusks,
Because drones filled cloudless skies,
Because the oppressed in infamous words
Chose self-genocide,
We are all Palestinians.
Because in 2018, over thirty more Palestinians have died
And hundreds injured
In the Great March of Return,
Because the Israeli Defence Force
Says it knows where every bullet landed,
Because enduring conflict is written
In blood in the bleak hinterland
Behind coils of wire,
We are all Palestinians.
Because, on May 14th, 58 people were shot dead
by IDF troops in an act of horrific, disproportionate violence.
Because a people has endured through day after day
The grinding, crushing, asymmetric horror
And a decades-old consensus maintaining
The heinous lie that those who resist
A mighty military state
Are somehow the sole, causal agent of conflict,
Because those people endure
And because we are human and capable
Of empathy, because for God’s sake
We have hearts and souls
And believe that one day Israeli and Palestinian
Can at long last live in peace and security,
We are all Palestinians.

Alan Gibbons 2018