The English Lit department at the Islamic University of Gaza asked to feature rose-water syrup during their Great Poetry Fair. They requested that I make a video reading one of my favourite poems from the collection, and presenting a little personal context and explanation.
The choice was easy – I read the conversation we never had, a poem about Israel’s imprisonment of my matrilineal grandfather, as equally as it is a reflection about my relationship with him. (Note that if you are watching this on your mobile phone and are only seeing only half of the video’s width, simply flip your phone to horizontal-scape viewing.)
No Palestinian family is untouched by the criminal (by international legal standards) actions of Israel. Two of my family members have been imprisoned, one of whom left prison with epilepsy because he was beaten on the head so much, a third lost a leg after Israel dropped a bomb on our house while she was sleeping, and all? All experience PTSD.
Again – no one is untouched.
Reading this poem and providing context was far more emotional than I had anticipated. My video, requested to be 3 to 4 minutes, is nearly seven minutes long. I was worried that they might ask for another, but they did not, and they will air this as it was sent to them.
Again, and as mentioned before, at a time when Muslims are under attack – concentration camps in China, ‘Muslim ban’ in the US, and general ignorant fuckery across the world – having this video presented at the Islamic University of Gaza holds a very special meaning for me. I wore this reality all over my heart and face in the video.
What an honour.
Today, I am grateful for:
1. My ACTEOTSI of this day, which is Buddhist literature on the means to presence. Like mentioned yesterday, paying attention to everything around me is what slowed time. Daily writing is mostly responsible, and while I am as of yet undecided how often I will write, I do know that mindfulness and presence activities and brain-retraining are a must.
2. Men who are cautious; you are a kindness. Thank you.
3. Unexpectedly running into old friends.
Ottawa | Day 361 | November 26, 2019