Saturday, December 27, 2008


I woke up this morning to news from my family about 200 people killed in Gaza overnight in raids, and clashes happening right now in Ramallah.
I could say, these are two hundred people that had lives, lists of places to visit before they die or a plan for a better life, even a TV show they have been wanting to follow till the end, but it doesn't matter.

All I can think about, are all of those people that are still alive. The millions in the West Bank and Gaza, and in Israel. The millions in America that are sitting in comfortable houses or sleeping on the street, all of us that are witnessing these deaths, but also tracking down our breath and knowing we are alive. My friend Mohammad, who has held me together when other news of massacres in the past two years have bled through my phone, told me today that even the smallest people can do something, can rebuild my broken home or at least learn how to mourn and remember.
But you are not small people, I'm writing to you because you are all really big in love and generosity, and I want to ask you, for me and my people, to do something little today. Write a poem, write to your local newspaper, tell your friends and family to light a candle, research the name of one of the people who was killed last night, or one that was left alive, and keep them with you, make a piece of music, send this email, send any email about whats going on. Do one thing that will ripple through your street, neighborhood, or country, and most importantly, believe that that one little thing will mean something.

I know for most of you these are news items, but this is my home. I have been mad at it for long, and I will continue to be critical and aware, but more importantly, I love it like we all love our messed up families, and the wound that fractures through it hurts me like its in my womb.
Having said that, I hope that you think about it, look in the mirror, and know that this pain is familiar, even if you have never heard gunshots or seen missiles falling.

Last but not least, and for all of those who know about my obsession with James Baldwin, here is a quote I find very important, and relevant today, from a letter James Baldwin wrote to his nephew James
"Well, you were born, here you came, something like fifteen years ago; and though your father and mother and grandmother, looking about the streets through which they were carrying you, staring at the walls into which they brought you, had every reason to be heavyhearted, yet they were not. For there you were, big James, named for me-you were a big baby, I was not-here you were: to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against this loveless world. Remember that: I know how black it looks today, for you. It looked bad that day too, yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other none of us would have survived. And now you must survive because we love you, and for the sake of your children and your children's children"

Tala A.Rahmeh, Palestinian
Washington, DC

1 comment:

  1. Tala -

    Thank you for giving voice to this sadness. I am grateful and sad at the same time.

    Peace, Joseph Ross
    Washington, D.C.