Steven Aiello

I Wonder: an Israeli-Palestinian Collaborative Poem

Note: The following piece was written collaboratively with a Gazan friend. We wrote responsively–I wrote a line, then he wrote one, then I wrote the next line and then he did, alternating from beginning to end. 

I wonder    

I wonder what life looks like from the other side

I wonder who I would be if I lived on the other side

I wonder if I’d be able to survive living in a society where you can’t say what you think

I wonder if they think of me as a non-human

I wonder if there’s anything I can say to make the situation better for you

I wonder if God tries to bring us closer together, but we can’t see his signs

I wonder how people who are so good could end up with leaders who are so rotten

I wonder why people ignore our anger and despair

I wonder why it’s hard for everyone to see the suffering on both sides

I wonder if my tears are less worth than theirs

I wonder what would happen if we treated each death as a human, without seeing sides

I wonder why Nakba is being denied

I wonder how we can escape the cycle of violence

I wonder how we can start trusting one another

I wonder what we can do to make our future better

I wonder if there’s a future for my people

I wonder if our children will be able to wonder together in person

I wonder why you and me can speak this easily, without hesitation.

We wonder

About the Author
Steven Aiello is the Director of Debate for Peace (, and a board member of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development NY. He has a BA in Economics, MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies, and MA in Islamic Studies. He teaches Model UN for schools throughout Israel. Among his other hats he serves as Regional Coordinator for Creating Friendships for Peace, and Dialogue Officer at Asfar. Steven has also served as Chief of the Middle East Desk Head for Wikistrat, interned for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the American Islamic Congress. His writing has been published in the NY Daily News, Jerusalem Post, Iran Human Rights Review; Berkley Center at Georgetown;, and the Center for Islamic Pluralism. He can be reached via email at
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