Mahmoud Ghanim
Pacifism is a cliché, I shoot people with my camera, cut their heads in Photoshop
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I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; not to kill Iyad Hallaq

I am an Arab. I have a special need to be alive. I have a special need not to be afraid.
Police guard near the scene where a Palestinian man was shot dead by police earlier in the day at the Lions Gate in Jerusalem Old City on May 30, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Police guard near the scene where a Palestinian man was shot dead by police earlier in the day at the Lions Gate in Jerusalem Old City on May 30, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

You call me a person of color

And you call yourself white

When you are cold you turn blue

When you are hot you turn red

When you are sick you turn yellow

When you are sad you turn grey

When you are angry your heart becomes dark

And after all of this, you call me a person of color

I am sick, afraid, hot, cold, angry, sad.

I am a breathless Person.

When I am an Arab you are suspicious

When I am afraid I run

When you are afraid you shoot

When I am angry I outrage

When you are angry you shoot

I walk alone

You walk in groups

I have a special need to be alive

I have a special need not to be afraid

A special need to walk peacefully

A special need to go to school without harassment

I don’t need 7 bullets in my poor body

You have a special need to love

A special need to be a human

I am an Arab when I am angry

I am an Arab when I am generous

I am an Arab when I dance Dabke

An Arab when I host strangers.

An Arab when I feed others.

I am an Arab with dignity

I might not have a citizenship, or legs or Arms,

You might prevent me from traveling,

Imped my movement, you might cut the water, try to block the sun, demolish my house. Even cut my breath.

But I am a heavenly citizen who has a loving soul. My spirit swims in the space.

When we both die we both turn back to dust.

But when I rise up from the dead, I want you to be in heaven with me.

“In the courts of the house of the LORD

In your midst Jerusalem.”

“Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem? Who will mourn for you? Who will stop to ask how you are?”

“Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?”

“Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate, so no one can live in it.”

“Awake, awake

Shake off your dust;

Rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck”

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.

You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest,

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

About the Author
Mahmoud Ghanim, 29, Bethlehem/Palestine: a peace and environmental activist. A poet and writer part of Yala Young leaders for citizen Journalism a project of Peres center for peace and innovation, which connects young leaders from across the middle east and north Africa online.
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