⑨ lab ≡ ByteLabs

Poem/I Am You - by Refaat Alareer

ZNetwork is an independent media platform dedicated to advancing vision and strategy for a better world.

This poem has also been published on ZNetwork

A poem from 2012 by prominent Palestinian writer, poet, professor, and activist from the Gaza Strip Dr.Refaat Alareer - murdered by Israeli invaders in Shujaiya, east of Gaza City, on December 6. 1 2

I am you

Two steps: one, two.
Look in the mirror:
The horror, the horror!
The butt of your M-16 on my cheekbone
The yellow patch it left
The bullet-shaped scar expanding
Like a swastika,
Snaking across my face,
The heartache flowing
Out of my eyes dripping
Out of my nostrils piercing
My ears flooding
The place.
Like it did to you
70 years ago
Or so.

I am just you.
I am your past haunting
Your present and your future.
I strive like you did.
I fight like you did.
I resist like you resisted
And for a moment,
I’d take your tenacity
As a model,
Were you not holding
The barrel of the gun
Between my bleeding

One. Two.
The very same gun
The very same bullet
That had killed your Mom
And killed your Dad
Is being used,
Against me,
By you.

Mark this bullet and mark in your gun.
If you sniff it, it has your and my blood.
It has my present and your past.
It has my present.
It has your future.
That’s why we are twins,
Same life track
Same weapon
Same suffering
Same facial expressions drawn
On the face of the killer,
Same everything
Except that in your case
The victim has evolved, backward,
Into a victimizer.
I tell you.
I am you.
Except that I am not the you of now.

I do not hate you.
I want to help you stop hating
And killing me.
I tell you:
The noise of your machine gun
Renders you deaf
The smell of the powder
Beats that of my blood.
The sparks disfigure
My facial expressions.
Would you stop shooting?
For a moment?
Would you?

All you have to do
Is close your eyes
Seeing these days
Blinds our hearts.
Close your eyes, tightly
So that you can see
In your mind’s eye.
Then look into the mirror.
One. Two.
I am you.
I am your past.
And killing me,
You kill you.

  1. Max Blumenthal, ‘If I must die, let it be a tale’: a tribute to Refaat Alareer, The Grayzone, Dec.07 2023. ↩︎

  2. Tamara Nassar, Refaat Alareer was assassinated by Israel, The Electronic Intifada, Dec.9 2023. ↩︎

#Poem #Israel/Palestine