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Barukh Hyman Hidvegi
Barukh Hyman Hidvegi

All the alarms

it’s not gone
and it’s not going away

those words of john oliver
echo inside barukh’s head

 

fucking war crime!!!

screamed with a reddened face
the television comedian
one of the coolest
half a year ago
on his program
on hbo

fucking war crime!!!

in those days
war was going on
between israel and hamas

hamas fired
say
five thousand rockets
on israeli civilians
while the israeli air force
executed air strikes
on hamas targets
in a number of waves

in gaza
two hundred and fifty-six people died
fighters
and civilians
in israel
thanks to
the iron dome
the air defense system
thirteen

two hundred and fifty-six there
thirteen here

as if not all lives count

all deaths

gazan
israeli

as if here and there
weren’t the same place —

while the war was raging
jews were lynching arabs
and arabs were lynching jews
on israeli streets

two thousand years
of middle east history
jews
romans
persians
crusaders
arabs
muslims
christians
turks
british
palestinians
formed a volatile mix
during those eleven days
and exploded
in this land
the size of
wales
or new jersey

and just as in the past
two thousand years
there are no winners
now either

there is only suspicion
and fear

and ego
testosterone
power
money

and pain

on both sides

yes
on both sides —

fucking war crime!!!

screamed john oliver
and what he meant was
he knew who committed it:

israel
israel was the fucking war criminal

for five minutes
he announced and declared
repeated and screamed
all the arguments
his reasoning
why israel was guilty
in this war

and as barukh watched john oliver
all the alarms went off in his head

all the alarms

that still blare

because barukh saw a white man
four thousand miles from him
screaming with a reddened face
a rich white man
a graying
bespectacled
heterosexual
rich
white man
with a british accent
on american tv

and a thousand-year-old
european history
brought
barukh’s soul
to a howl

goodbye jews!
goodbye jews!

shouted
the little polish girl
with a kerchief on her head
with a reddened face
with a british accent
in the movie
schindler’s list
shouted to the jews of krakow
who were just being herded
behind ghetto walls
by german soldiers

barukh remembers
when he saw the movie
for the first time
how strange it felt
how off it sounded
that british accent
from the lips
of that jew-hating little polish girl

and now
thirty years later
how adequate
how authentic
the same accent sounds

fucking war crime!!!

barukh feels nauseated
and tastes vomit in his throat —

he reads again
for the umpteenth time
rich cohen’s book
about the lithuanian jewish partisans

that’s where he found the poster
that the SS sticked on
vilnius street walls
in nineteen forty-one
detailing rules for jews

the last sentence of the poster reads:

the obligation to obey the rules
lies with the whole jewish community!

if any one jew broke
only one rule
the SS considered
all jews
guilty
and punished
the whole community

fucking war crime!!!

nausea
and the taste of vomit —

it was thirty years ago
the last time
there was war
on the brinks of western europe
with tanks
fighter planes
bombings
and mass killings

then
when mass genocide was ordered
during the balkans war
by one or another general
never
the serbian
croatian
or bosnian
people
were called war criminals
by the western media

the international court
searched for
and found the suspects
held a criminal trial
passed a ruling
and locked up the soldiers
they found guilty
of war crimes

in the case of israel
john oliver
and other influencers
hold a trial
in a jiffy
by themselves
on the basis of
true
and false
and misunderstood facts
and after five minutes
scream the ruling into the camera:

fucking war crime!!!

the responsibility lies
with the whole jewish community!

goodbye jews!

inside barukh’s head
all the alarms blare
as he watches
this confident
angry
white man
on the screen
this super-privileged individual
of the human race
as he condemns
not only the government
of barukh’s country
but all its people
including
barukh
his family
his neighbours
and his friends

john oliver was born
a heterosexual white male
as a citizen of a country
that used to be the ruler
of the biggest colonial empire
the world has ever seen
the country that
until this very day
still occupies
three of its neighbouring countries
and other overseas dominions

john oliver
who has been living
for years in
and now already has become
citizen of
the united states of america
the strongest military power
in the world

but for the war crimes
the US has committed
since its existence
and commits
until this very day
nobody
never
calls him to account

if it did happen
john oliver
would probably scream
with an even redder face
indignant
resentful
to be called
to account collectively responsible
for whatever
american politicians
and military leaders did

this
british-american
john oliver speaks
with the arrogant carelessness
of colonizing white people
about israelis
and palestinians

this john oliver
does not mention
one individual by name
one individual victim
one individual suspect

on either side

he has the right for his name
and the presumption of his innocence

exotic middle eastern people don’t

they are natives
savages

they are a mass

either israelis
or palestinians

just as all other former subjects
of the british empire
africans
indians
native americans
caribbeans
southeast-asians
aboriginal australians
used to be seen
through sahib john oliver’s eyes

barukh is not angry
that john oliver
four thousand miles from him
condemns him
along with the government
that barukh has voted against
three times

he’s not angry
it would be pointless
to be angry

barukh is just one
of the natives
the savages
the exotic

he has no right
to be angry
to have a name
to the presumption of innocence —

barukh is not angry
he just got carried away

the alarm blaring inside his head
drowns out all other sound

About the Author
two years after his aliya barukh started to write and publish poems on his facebook page. he writes about his new life in israel and his old life in hungary, his adhd and asd, his sweet little almighty, war and coexistence in israel, europe and the middle east. hundreds of his poems are available in hungarian, and in a weekly increasing number also in english. “self-appointed poet” (“önjelölt költő”), his first book of poems was published in budapest in 2021. barukh lives in the kurdish suburbs of jerusalem with his wife and two sons.
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