A Father’s Story

Masafer Yatta familyThis poem was inspired by one of my first visits to the South Hebron hills (Firing Zone). Our host took us around to different places in the village and told us stories about the accidental injuries and deaths, usually of children because of  Israeli weapons testing in the area. The poem is a compilation of a few of the stories I heard. I post it now because yesterday the court proceeding began, and within 60 days the fate of this family and 7 other villages will be determined. (For more information click here)

A Father’s Story

I still smell the air, I can feel the sun

I can see the smile on Khalil, my eldest one

He rode away, hooves clip-clop on stony ground

All of a sudden I hear the most terrible sound

The horse stepped on a rocket of Israel’s leaving

Today I sit remembering, grieving


I talked to the soldiers: How can this be?

You fire your rockets for my children and me

to happen upon them collaterally?

I need an answer, do you hear what I’m saying

Why is my boy in the ground laying?


The soldier stood tall and unashamedly replied

It’s not our fault your son haphazardly died

The fault falls on you, don’t try to blame us

You should have left your home without any fuss

Don’t you get it you backward Palestinian

We need your land to practice killing


I’ve lived on this land since I was a kid

I plant my crops here like my grandfather did

Now your telling me it’s my fault the rockets keep coming?

I should leave all I have and let my kids starve while I’m bumming?

No! I’ll still harvest these fields, and I’ll raise my boys

and we won’t be afraid of your bombing noise

As for your sins we’ll start forgiving

Because this is our land! And we practice living.