Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Middle East School

Pablo Picasso, Guernica


Small bits of sense float to the top
of the chaos, the idea, for instance,
that peace comes moment to moment,
in small breaths as people
know each other, respect each other —
are free to speak, across borders,
in small groups, when we share
small things, gardens, children, song,
food, a joke, hope.

Whole populations are running for their lives –
fast death blasting from
an angry sky.

Small bits of sense surface.
An Israeli Air Force captain refuses to commit
war crimes, a Fatah soldier joins him,
Israeli and Palestinian enlisted men and women
begin Combatants for Peace.

Yesterday, some good news.
Michael Provence, whose letter from Beruit was
forwarded to us by one of our readers,
is safe in Paris, with wife and child,
soon to return home.

He is, we find, a Middle East scholar --
The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism

"The Great Syrian Revolt of 1925 was the largest and longest-lasting anti-colonial insurgency in the inter-war Arab East. Mobilizing peasants, workers, and army veterans, rather than urban elites and nationalist intellectuals, it was the first mass movement against colonial rule in the Middle East. The revolt failed to liberate Syria from French occupation, but it provided a model of popular nationalism and resistance that remains potent in the Middle East today."

Whole populations are running for their lives –
fast death blasting from
an angry sky.

Hezbollah is heir to that nationalist movement against
colonialism and to the gruesome occupation of Palestine.

Let’s all go to Middle East School, shall we?

©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.

Note: Follow this link to read Michael's third letter, the story of his trip with wife and small child out of Lebanon by bus.


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