Abrihim Al-Mansi With the Key to His Home, copyright Alan Pogue 2001
Beit Jala, Palestine. The home was taken from him in 1948.
If the earth is alive, then it is sentient and scientists
will summersault for the next thousand years as
the masks we call knowledge fall away, and we try
to understand what sort of creature our living universe
could be, what part of it we are, perhaps a cancer, or
the funny bone, dust, or an aberrant sort of water.
Perhaps ownership will fall away, and with it stealing,
and with that, government, and then atrocity.
Perhaps in a kinder world, human beings will draw energy
from stars, from wind and there will be enough for everyone.
Perhaps wealth will be distributed fairly, and healthcare
and education. Perhaps all children will have parents who are kind.
Perhaps human beings will celebrate their differences, tolerate
strange ideas and stranger gods.
For now, Grandfather Jabber holds a survey of his land in one hand,
huge muscular hands that have worked the land, know it grain by grain.
In the other hand he holds a deed that is three-hundred years old.
A fifty-year-old treaty pre-empts his deed. Israel has ordered
a demolation. Bulldozers will level his home, rip up the orchard.
Old men in Palestine wear huge keys around their necks to symbolize
the homes and land that was taken from them at the end of the last war
by victors intent on planting seeds for the next clash of civilizations
deep into the soul of the earth. There are issues here.
The land belongs to Grandfather Jabber.
The people who now own it are the historical owners of land stolen
in turn from them by people who can't imagine giving holocaust
survivors back their homes, land, property. My country sits on land
stolen from people who did not believe human beings could own
the earth. They thought it was a free and sacred being.
©Susan Bright, 2006
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
Grandfather Jabber, (Alan Pogue) 1998, Hebron, Palestine.
Israel ran two four-lane highways through their orchards, offering them $60 in compensation. The Jabber family refused the money. They have lost 13 properties to settlement expansion. He is holding a survey to the family property and a deed from the Ottoman Empire. Alan Pogue
* Poems and photographs from The Layers of Our Seeing by Susan Bright, Muna Hamzeh and Alan Pogue. Plain View Press, 2001. Presently in it's 4 edition, this collection grows as the world it mirrors changes. Each print run is different.