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Barukh Hyman Hidvegi
Barukh Hyman Hidvegi

it’s not intentional

death to arabs!
death to arabs!
chanted
a couple hundred
far right israeli demonstrators
one thursday evening in april
at the damascus gate
in jerusalem
to israeli muslims
that gathered to evening prayer
breaking ramadan fast

two weeks after
betzalel smotrich
far right israeli politician
had claimed
that all muslims
should know
that israel
exclusively belonged to jews
and who didn’t accept it
shouldn’t stay here

betzalel smotrich
got voted into knesset
after the march elections
as an ally of bibi netanyahu

if in the upcoming ten days
bibi could have formed a government
betzalel smotrich would have been
a minister
in the israeli government…

it is saturday morning
barukh lies on his couch
reading the novel
septembers of shiraz
written by dalia sofer

a piano player
a socialist professor
and a diamond merchant
walks into the prison shower

after
arrested
imprisoned
and tortured
by the iranian revolutionary guard

they can use the shower
once a week
to wash themselves
and their clothes

the three men are naked
their bodies show signs of torture

burn marks
from cigarettes
pressed into their skins
by interrogators

scars
bruises
and gangrenous feet

before the islamic revolution
the three men had lived
completely different lives

what brought them together
in the prison shower
was the fact that
neither of them
had run away in time
from the fundamentalist terror

the love for their homeland
the good life
the kind of wealth
they couldn’t
quickly convert to cash
kept them in iran

barukh finds this
prison scene
familiar

he read similar stories
written by györgy faludy
the canadian-hungarian author
about hungarian prisons
hungarian interrogators
hungarian burn marks
hungarian bruises
and gangrenous feet

barukh was born in an era
in a country
where
and when
torturers
and tortured
were still alive

barukh knew someone
formerly tortured
who had kept a packed suitcase
under his bed
just in case
he had to make a run for it

so when barukh reads
about the iranian revolution
he can see people
in his mind’s eye
who are not well-tended actors
playing the parts of characters

but hungarian looks
hungarian faces

when he reads about interrogators
he keeps seeing uncle józsi
the greasy
bald
stocky
member of the communist militia
who
with his wife
aunt annush
lived in the neighbouring apartment
in barukh’s childhood

as he thinks of uncle józsi
barukh lowers the book
and his eyes sweep around
the salon in jerusalem

he contemplates
the piano player
the socialist professor
and the diamond merchant

and bibi
and betzalel
and itamar
and the demonstrators
who wish for arabs to die

barukh supposes
he and his family
don’t have
actual valuables
thank god
that couldn’t fit into
a suitcase
or two
that would be painful
to leave behind

if they had to make a run for it…

barukh is not an arab

actually
he is jewish

but he lived enough
to know
that those
who want arabs to die
sooner or later
will demand
the death of troublemakers
slash traitors
like barukh
as well

if they get enough encouragement
from bibi
betzalel
itamar
and others

barukh can’t help it
but on that saturday morning
he starts to pack
hypothetically

this can stay behind
this is essential
this is not necessary
this is not important
this is to be packed

barukh is not moving
he is lying on his couch
the novel
about the iranian revolution
resting on his chest
only his mind is at work

he can’t help it

it’s not intentional

as it’s not intentantional either
that he loves israel
with jews
arabs
muslims
and christians
with street signs
in hebrew
in english
and in arabic

it’s not intentional
that he doesn’t need exclusivity

it’s not intentional
that he doesn’t feel israel
belongs less to him
just because
others make it their own

he loves it
just like
the piano player
the socialist professor
and the diamond merchant
loved iran

just like
faludy loved hungary

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, 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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