Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib

There Is Still Hope

For many years, I have had a special place in my heart for poetry, and I’m fascinated by making words rhyme while conveying complex ideas. Though I kept my poems private, a special friend who is a close confidante has recently inspired me to go public with my writings, which she loves and appreciates. I offer this poem about my perspective of Gaza’s situation, and refusal to give up hope. In the near future, I’ll be writing more about myself, background, work, and ambitions for peace and prosperity between the Palestinians and Israelis.

There is Still Hope

I never tried writing poems on the topic of Israel and Palestine –

I can already speculate how many people are going to whine –

Accusing me of kissing up to the “enemy”, saying that I don’t have a spine –

I’ve already experienced lots of hatred, I’m used to being likened to a swine –

But despite all the negativity, my spirits are steadfast, and are doing just fine –

My poem isn’t about hatred, blame is not something I like to assign –

Though I wish to share a few serious thoughts, which are along a critical line –

Some things may be uncomfortable, but they are necessary so that peace can hopefully shine –

I’ll be focusing on Gaza, which is my native homeland –

It’s a place of tragedy, it has a terrible global brand –

My beautiful people are labeled as terrorists because of the actions of a few, something that I really can’t stand –

If you talk to most folks in the Strip, they will start by kindly shaking your hand –

Welcoming you to their home, a tasty meal for you they will have planned –

They might be poor, they may have to serve you meat that is canned –

Despite their hardships, they won’t just draw a line in the sand –

Against people who are different, they won’t just have you banned –

Yes, there is ignorance, hatred, and incitement, but that’s just one strand –

Of misunderstanding and resentment, mainly due to suffering which is quite grand –

We can’t expect people in Gaza to be perfect, given their isolation, hardships, and all the problems of that land –

Politically speaking, their circumstances are a horrible story –

The details are gruesome, some parts are quite gory –

The Israeli and Egyptian restrictions have created excuses for the Palestinian leaders, and despite that, they still claim glory –

Not saying it’s all their fault, but the amount of justifications will fill up a giant lorry –

Despite their failures to do something meaningful, and the fact that their incompetence turned Gaza into a quarry –

A place full of rubble, there’s no shortage of broken stones and debris’ flurry –

Hamas thinks that it has a viable program –

To both govern in Gaza, and at the same time, Israel it seeks to militarily slam –

Its approach has failed the people, who are trapped like a lost lamb –

Its actions resulted in a deadly blockade, which has people encircled in a tight clam –

How could a jewel on the Mediterranean not have a good economy or an airport –

Those responsible for this tragedy should be brought to court –

Then there’s the role of the Palestinian Authority –

When they first came to Gaza, they enjoyed a large majority –

They did some good things, they thought their program was a national priority –

Though ultimately, they became corrupt, and evolved into an impotent minority –

Their actions resulted in Hamas’ electoral victory, and then they lost political seniority –

The Authority missed chances to outmaneuver Hamas –

They turned Gaza into an all or nothing zero sum game, and wanted to take over like a boss –

But Hamas isn’t stupid, control over the Strip there weren’t about to toss –

Out the window and without a political price, otherwise that’d be considered a total loss –

All of this, while the Palestinian people are caught in between –

Two competing forces, which are often quite mean –

Each with nationalistic claims, one has a yellow banner, while the other’s is green –

People in Gaza are tired, they want to loudly scream –

To say stop this madness, we want to start with a fresh slate that is totally clean –

After the 2005 Israeli withdrawal, there was a missed opportunity –

To invest in peace, and turn the Strip into a vibrant community –

Instead, incompetent players took over and began acting with impunity –

My people became fractured, the name of the game was disunity –

Israel isn’t innocent either; its policies are quite tough –

Restrictions on movement and exchanges have made things really difficult and rough –

It’s not just impacting militants who have smuggling routes, but regular people can’t get lots of stuff –

Their lives and future hang in the balance, their hopes are placed in a giant cuff –

Is it really fair, does it make sense –

That Egypt closes its borders to Gazans almost permanently, even when Sinai isn’t tense –

Most Arab countries have abandoned Gaza, and say it’s Israel’s responsibility –

Even though they have the resources, and possess the necessary capability –

To make life in Gaza better, and help improve its conditions –

It’s easy to abdicate responsibility, and claim they don’t have necessary permissions –

From my perspective, the only way forward is peace and that will require persistence –

Many have criticized me, and accused me of treachery for recognizing Israel’s existence –

I never understood how denying that will make a difference –

In the lives of Palestinians, some of whom have an irrational insistence –

One thing is clear, and should be recognized right way –

Israel isn’t going anywhere; our Jewish neighbors are here to stay –

Denying that will not help, global opinion it will not sway –

Yes, occupation is a problem, and it will definitely end one day –

Its continuation will absolutely slay –

Any chance for coexistence, and it will smother any hopeful ray –

That peace will shine, and Israelis and Palestinians will live together, so that the sky is blue, not grey –

I strongly believe that peace is possible, and that there is still a way –

To breed mutual respect and understanding, and to invest in creating a peaceful bay –

Of Arabs and Jews who refuse to be permanent enemies, and for loving kindness they want to pray –

We should not give up, and I personally don’t want to be defined by a nationalistic robe –

I am a peaceful, loving, kind human being, I support co-existence with my Jewish neighbors, and refuse to give up hope –

Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib, San Francisco Bay Area, 2016
Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib, San Francisco Bay Area, 2016
About the Author
Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib is a nonprofit administrator who is a naturalized American citizen from Gaza City and provides analysis and opinions on the Gaza Strip’s affairs and politics.
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