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A Night in Wadi Hummus

 - by Faryn Borella, USA -

We awaken at three in the morning to a loud knock on the door
Twenty bodies rise simultaneously from the prostration of sleepless sleep
Springing forward at the hips like cogs
To sit at attention.

A young boy enters the room
“غي خيش?”
The army is here?
The boy confirms.
A bus full.

We sprint down the road under a waning moon
toward the tallest of eleven buildings slated for destruction.
A slew of armored vehicles are gathered.
At the center: an Egged bus
And I feel I can almost hear:
“התחנה הבאה: הריסה”
Next stop: Destruction.

We posture for every inch of space
A well-known dance between us and the soldiers.
Every inch closer sacred.
Every inch closer a bruise to the fragile military ego.
Every inch closer three inches back.
With the command “אחורה”.
For to control us is to win.
And it is very clear:
They intend to win.

Streams of Magavnikim
Faces masked in black
Climb a mountain of rubble
Guns pointed
To enter the building
A line of ants
Systematically scouring each floor
Their pathway mapped only by the light they exude,
As if fairies wander the halls
Seeking a place to lay their heads for the evening.

An hour passes before the call of the muezzin reaches our ears
It is time for Fajr.
For Prayer.

A new commander arrives
Huffing and puffing
Spreading his tail feathers
To make his presence

He attempts to dispel us immediately
But acquiesces to the demand of our leader
With a grunt
And a flick of the hand:
חמש דקות!״”

Eight men form a line
arms humbly crossed,
armed only with only their prayers.

Forty soldiers face them,
Armed with AK47s
Masked faces
And obscured identities--
Dissolution into the homogenous whole of power.

They watch
As eight men about to lose everything
Prostrate themselves
Kiss the ground
Give thanks to Allah
In quiet
Pouring forth from their lips like honey
As a crane
Lit by a spotlight
Slowly lifts a crate of dynamite
Into their homes.

The final prostration of pious men signals to the commander
The end of an irritating delay
The gnat in his ear
now to be swatted with vigor.

The devotees rise
Their lips fresh with dirt
and we are immediately surrounded
And removed from the scene.

As the light of dawn begins to caress the sky
In comes
Brimming with soldiers of different stripes and colors
Hurdling toward the houses on the far hill
Where just yesterday
a 17-year old died
While self-demolishing a home
At the behest of the IDF.

The buses a royal procession
Or maybe a funeral procession
Or perhaps rather some sick Holy Land Tour
For many of the buses still sport signs
Indicating the last tour group they spirited away to
One of this land’s oh so holy sites.

And as the bus passes inches past my face
I see the lolling tongue of 18-year old boys
Fast asleep
Cheeks pressed against the window pane.
Israel’s heroes
Here to protect the state
From those terrorists
For how dare they legally build homes
In which to house their children?

The sun begins to peak over the horizon
And I hear the piercing scream of women and children
Echoing off the valley below

Our comrades begin to be carried out of homes
A soldier to each extremity
And dropped in our collective lap
Some bruised and bloodied
Some unscathed.

A man is carried out nearly unconscious
His wife and children closely in tow
Shrieking with fear
Embraced by total strangers
Tears stinging their eyes
At that which they were forced
To bear witness.

We are slowly gathered from all four corners of the village in which we resist
Palestinians, Israelis, Internationals
And placed in a central location where we are most easily maintained.
The ingathering of the exiles.
And then we are pushed back.
Building by building
And with each passing building
All Palestinians who reside therein are forced inside
To lock themselves in
Behind their own iron gate
As the home
Three houses down
Is rammed again and again with a bulldozer.

They are here to set a new precedent.
To take on a new mandate.
To be as God.

One lone, white horse runs in circles around town
Heralding the dawn of this new era.

Meanwhile, we wait.
We drink tea
And we watch the sun rise over


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  1. Superb accounting gracefully and forcefully told

  2. A good account of tragic event that takes place every day in the occupied Palestine.


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