Sunday 31 December 2023


Write. What shall I write of? 
Sleep? When shall I sleep?

These last few months have seen Dad fall, enter and leave hospital. And then Mum had a cyst burst at the back of her knee. She entered and left hospital. At home, I happily wear the crown of Angel daughter, exhausted but knowing I can escape to a warm bed in between cooking and cleaning and helping with this and that …

But write? What shall I write of?
And sleep? When my dreams are part of my waking hours of images of children in Gaza, victims of a genocidal video game player. Remote button massacre with changes in ingredients … sometimes white phosphorus which burns straight to the bone… or changes in style and type of amputation. Not shattered messily, but sliced so neatly, Professor Ghassan Abu Sittah has never seen the like in all his years of being a surgeon. The Israeli government apologised: sorry for your recent loss, we dropped the wrong sort of bomb on your refugee camp. We meant to drop the other one. 

We managed to get the lights up … mum on the Christmas tree and across the windows in the rooms downstairs, me on my bedroom window and along the corridor outside. Any light will do to see me through.

I wished my brothers in their far away different time zone lands a happy new year. We give thanks for each other. All ok? All ok. Or to use the Arabic word - ‘tayyib?’ In so many of the clips I have seen on social media, I have heard Palestinians ask each other, ‘Tayyib?’ It’s used across the Middle East. From the word ‘Tayyab’ meaning Good. So in honour of my grandfather’s name, bestowed upon so many of us dotted around the globe, I try to uphold the virtue of goodness. Such a small word, ‘good’. Like ‘kind’. The small word, the small act, of truth and goodness, are the only way forward. But wait, what is truth? We live in a world in which each person, each community, holds fast to a different truth. And sometimes, will kill to prove their word is the truer word. With the better bomb. The right bomb.

So goodbye to another year. Much will be forgotten. Do we have the energy for 2024? The numbers look so strange to me. They make no sense at all. Haven’t we all been here far far longer than a mere two thousand and twenty three years? There goes one truth. Never mind. Shall we meet at the end of the road as it curves into 2025? What will be our losses then? What will we have learned? Ask me what I wrote. I hope to have an answer for my own question by then.

Ps: the title ‘God Is A Refugee’ is from a poem by Rashid Hussein. He also wrote a few words 

On Poetry

Sing what you like, but…

Let everybody understand.

You have become ink and words.

So why do you talk?

Poet, produce!

But let the worker and the peasant understand.

Let the murdered understand.

And let the fighter understand.