I read news about four little boys being killed at a beach in Gaza City a couple of days ago.
Call me slow, but that was when the intensity of the situation in Gaza hit me. I was trying to discuss with Su and Anand about whom to support, Israel or Palestine, and was quite confused. As I have said before, I am easily influenced and if an intelligent person argues and convinces me sufficiently about something, I might just agree. But in this case, I wasn’t. I’m a peace lover (who isn’t eh?) and I don’t want war. I don’t want innocent people dying while going about their daily lives. So I can’t possibly pick sides because people are simply dying at the end of the day.
That’s when a beautiful write-up my friend wrote put things into perspective for me. His name is Varun Ram Iyer and he writes really well. Here’s what he wrote.
Will you come home tonight Papa ?!
There are big rockets in the sky,
Mother says I must hide quick under the cot.
And that I cannot go out onto the street,
And play with my friends,
Although its pleasant, if smoke filled, but she says its too hot.
I haven’t been to school all week,
Teacher will be angry.
I want to go, sit beside Salma, and laugh.
I want to do my homework, I’m hungy,
But ammi, has not cooked ghosht since you have gone.
All we have is bread now, Yasser and myself,
We sit under the table and split each slice into half.
There’s no electricity, no cartoons, no songs,
And the lights don’t come on in the night.
Wahad says they’re not firecrackers, but balls of fire that kill people,
He says that we must pick up a gun and fight.
But who are we fighting, papa, why are they killing us ?
I’ve been a good boy like you’ve told me to.
All I do is my math, and sleep at ten, and wake early,
And prepare for school – wear my uniform, comb my hair wet, and polish my shoe.
I don’t even kick soda cans at Arif the mongrel,
Because you told me that man must be nice to the animal kind.
Perhaps that doesn’t apply to humans after all,
They’re intelligent creatures with a far more evolved mind.
Papa, what is this promised land that they talk about,
And say that there is eternal peace for them to take.
But how will they celebrate over the corpses of hundreds.
After we’re all dead, will they say a prayer for their sake.
They say we started it, papa, I promise I didn’t,
I didn’t launch a Scud, I didn’t even peep out to have a look.
I’ve been sitting in my corner, all night, hungry and naked,
Witth ammi crying by my side, and reading a book.
Come home papa, we miss you, they told me,
You’ve gone to Allah, when they wrapped you in white, and took you yesterday.
There’s no water to wash the sheet, but I have a feeling,
That it wouldn’t make a difference, I don’t think those red stains will go away.
I miss you, but its alright, I’ll be a good boy,
If you’re up there with Allah, ask him a question for me if you could.
Whether this is a jihad, and whether we’re being attacked,
And is there something we must do, retailate if we should ?
Because I don’t know if I want to,
Kill other people, whoever they are,
I don’t want children on the other side, to see their fathers in a blood pool.
I’m sure they’re just as afraid,
just as hungry, just as lonely,
I’m sure they too want this to end,
So they can just wake up and go to school.
One day we will record these events in history,
And teach them to children in classrooms,
As our stories past.
But there maybe none.
No history. No classrooms .No children.
If we continue to butter our bread with bombs at breakfast.
I’ll leave you with that.