Sinner Or Survivor?

In remembrance of those heroes and sheroes who lost their lives in the ocean looking for freedom and peace!

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** A true story…

My city was always called big jail.

A prison with brutal jailers,

and lots of chains and checkpoints on the gates.

Forcing youths to leave, they forced me to too.

I never knew whether they were enemies or friends,

families or acquaintances.

I just didn’t know!

“Life in there was more than confusing,” that’s what I felt.

I watched on movies and read in newspapers about the dream lands,

about freedom!

I heard about peace and harmony, so I decided to escape!

Some smugglers put me on a ‘’death boat’’

after paying them what I got from selling my 30-year-old mother’s wedding necklace.

It was a gift from my grandfather who died ten years ago.

It was everything for her.

It was the only thing reminded mama of her father.

The boat had more than 200 passengers on board.

It was going up and down in the ocean due to the high waves.

While waiting for my unknown destiny on the swinging boat,

I lost my feelings and every emotion I had.

I forgot the memories I had in that jail,

The memories of my childhood and adolescence.

I didn’t know why I escaped from that prison.

What I knew was that I was on a boat waiting for my death.

The boat almost tripped over.

Half of the escapees drowned in that deep ocean,

Which was like a hellfire waiting to eat the sinners!

Maybe I was a sinner after escaping?

I always thought I would be a sinner if I stayed though.

The screams of the escapees broke the silence I had between my mind and my heart.

Kids, women, and elders were screaming asking for help!

“They aren’t sinners, O God,” I sighed.

I wanted to help them, but I could not swim!

I never swam in my city because the sea was polluted,

The pollution came from lack of infrastructure due to destruction after three wars.

Plus, we had no swimming pools,

and my dad wasn’t rich enough to send me to a swimming academy.

I couldn’t help them… so I cursed that jail millions of times.

I believed I wasn’t a sinner to escape.

My family was living there.

Leaving them would be a sin, so I thought I was a sinner.

But I left so I could help them, so I wasn’t a sinner.

Again, the screams stormed into my ears, but they weren’t the screams of others who already died.

It was me screaming asking for help!

The smuggler was laughing like Jafar of Aladdin cartoon film while I was screaming,

The boat was gone, and I was drowned!

Mohammed Arafat

19-09-2018

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I Went to Palestine

I went to my old days, and the history.

I visited the Holy Land!

In you, Palestine, I saw the golden beach and the sea.

Gaza citrus weren’t too salty but pretty sweet.

In you, I saw the wide-eyed gazelles,

parading in your deep woods,

and into the green forests of Jenin.

smelled the milk and the cheese,

of Ramallah mountain goats,

and the cows of Nablus.

Your camels painted Negev dry desert,

with their dark brown skin color,

beside the tents made from chintz and gingham.

And I shook the tired hands of the hard-working Bedouins.

In you, I tasted the bananas of the depths,

the depths of Jericho and Hebron.

In Akka, was located the big ancient mosque of Al-Jazzar my father prayed at.

I saw some churches and some lighted worshipping places.

I touched the 270-year-old walls and the high cliff,

where jumpers jumped into the sea.

I saw Jaffa and Haifa… but in a hurry!

Not forgetting the north or the south,

where God’s exceptional weather settled.

There were breeze, cold, heat, ice, and dew.

There were blond and brunette tourists,

enjoying the scenes and the beauty.

I saw Muslims, Christians and Jews, altogether.

I saw peace,

But…

I saw the Separation Wall,

soldiers with helmets,

and a lot of guns with handcuffs.

I saw chains, jails, oppression and hatred.

I swear I saw hatred!

I could go to the Capital, after many checkpoints.

To the golden rock.

To the beautiful Mosque and the Al-Buraq Wall.

I felt how sad Jerusalem was, and the whole Palestine.

I saw that with my eyes, and felt it with my soul and heart,

Jerusalem wept,

And Palestine did!

Mohammed Arafat

25-08-2018

Palestinians Furious before Trump’s Surprise!

Speaking at a campaign rally in Charleston in West Virginia, American President said that the Palestinians will “get something very good” in return for the embassy move, “because it’s their turn next.”

Until now, American President didn’t offer any details of what Palestinians will get.

In contrast, he also said that Israel will pay a higher price in peace negotiations now that ”Jerusalem is off the table.”

“And if there’s ever going to be peace—remember I said it—with the Palestinians it was a good thing to have done because we took it off the table because every time there were peace talks, they never got past Jerusalem becoming their capital, so I said let’s take it off the table,” Trump said, explaining his strategy.

He criticized the US former presidents who promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying he understood what happened!

“And I understand now what happened. Because every president—many, many presidents—they said ‘we’re going to do it. We’re going to move our embassy to Jerusalem. It’s going to be the capital of Israel. We’re going to do it, we’re going to do it’ and then they don’t do it. Politicians, they don’t do it. So I said I’m going to do it,” the president said.

In response, Palestinians lambasted Trump’s comments on Jerusalem.

Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas condemned the comments, saying that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had removed the key sticking point of future negotiations ‘off the table’

PLO called his comments as ‘continued illusion of the American administration.’

“The continuation of a biased policy in Israel’s favor, and the continued illusion of the American administration that it is possible to achieve the ‘deal of the century’ without Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”

On the other hand, Hamas has called on the Palestinian Authority to break ties with Washington.

“The authority should break all contacts, including security contacts, with the American administration,” Hamas said in a statement.

“Trump’s declarations, according to which Jerusalem is off the negotiation table, are audacious and dangerous and the right response would be to cancel the Palestinian Authority’s recognition of the State of Israel, and cease all security coordination with Israel,” the statement added.

It’s obvious that Palestinians will get something as a ‘surprise’ from the American President. Yet, it’s still unknown. However, Palestinians are furious wether ‘Trump’s gift’ is valuable or not because they don’t want a Palestinian State without Jerusalem as its Capital.

Mohammed Arafat

22-08-2018

Palestinians: Truce Deal or Reconciliation?

The Palestinian people of Gaza are now between two options, either lifting the decade-long siege through indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas or having the Palestinian-Palestinian reconciliation achieved. They more likely will have only one of them in the coming few days.

The Egypt backed-negotiations between Israel and Palestinian factions of Gaza have started since few weeks. Egyptian Security source has stated that Egypt is finalizing details of a long-term truce deal between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip amid easing tensions on the border of the enclave where some two million Palestinians live.

“We are putting the final touches to the terms of the truce that will be signed by all sides, and we expect to announce the terms next week if Fatah helps us to do so,” the source said, referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s mainstream party which dominates the occupied West Bank.

This truce, if were a success, could pave the way for talks on other issues, including the easing of the blockade that has crippled Gaza’s economy and allowing a possible swap of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

Lebanese TV channels said that the truce would establish a cargo shipping connection between Gaza and Cyprus. Israel will have security control over the sea traffic between the Palestinian coastal enclave and Cyprus.

On the other hand, officials from Fatah have not joined Cairo negotiations. Israeli source said that Palestinian President will impose more sanctions on Hamas-held Gaza if Hamas reaches a deal with Israel, saying ‘we are not a bank for Hamas’.

Fatah is worried that Hamas signs this deal without the acceptance of the Palestinian President.

In an interview with a Palestinian radio station, Azzam al-Ahmad, Fatah Official, said that any such agreement should be signed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), not Hamas.

“The Egypt-brokered Israel-Hamas truce deal currently being finalized represents a betrayal of the Palestinian people and its cause.”

Amid news about a very close truce deal between Hamas and Israel and about an almost-impossible reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, Palestinians are waiting for good news from Cairo to end their 11 years of suffering, whether it can be through a truce deal or a reconciliation.

Mohammed Arafat

17-08-2018

The Story of a Dreamer

Life in there was very tough.

I waited for good, but I said enough.

This brutally killed that, that bombed this.

Palestine was pained, in need to a hug or a kiss.

Carelessly, I left her, with no farewell.

Selfishly, I thought she was fine and well.

I went out Crossing the border.

She thought my absence would be shorter.

I took longer, longer and long.

She though to another country I will belong.

They offered me a nationality to stay,

trying to make me forget Palestine everyday.

They offered a car, a job and a blond wife,

trying to change my whole being and my life.

Athere, Palestine, was alone and lifeless,

waiting for a poem from me or even less:

“I never forget you, I will never do!” I said,

“I will never leave you as I already did,”

“To you I belong, and to you I will return,”

“Not to leave you again I will always learn.”

Mohammed Arafat

15-08-2018

The Story of my Grandmother

I went to my old days, and the history.

I went to the Holy Land!

In you, Palestine, I saw the golden beach and the sea.

Gaza citrus weren’t too salty but pretty sweet.

In you, I saw the wide-eyed gazelles,

parading in your deep woods,

and into the green forests of Jenin.

I smelled the milk and the cheese,

of Ramallah mountain goats,

and the cows of Nablus.

Your camels painted Negev dry desert,

with their dark brown skin color,

beside the tents made from chintz and gingham.

And I shook the tired hands of the hard-working Bedouins.

In you, I tasted the bananas of the depths,

the depths of Jericho and Hebron.

In Akka, was located the big ancient mosque of Al-Jazzar my father prayed at.

I touched the 270-year-old walls and the high cliff,

where jumpers jumped into the sea.

I saw Jaffa and Haifa… but in a hurry!

Not forgetting the north or the south,

where God’s exceptional weather settled.

There were breeze, cold, heat, ice, and dew.

There were blond and brunette tourists,

enjoying the scenes and the beauty.

I saw Muslims, Christians and Jews, altogether.

But…

I saw the Separation Wall,

soldiers with helmets,

and a lot of guns with handcuffs.

I saw chains, jails, oppression and hatred.

I swear I saw hatred!

I could go to the Capital, after many checkpoints.

To the golden rock.

To the beautiful Mosque and the Al-Buraq Wall.

I felt how sad Jerusalem was, and the whole Palestine.

I saw that with my eyes, and felt it with my soul.

Jerusalem wept,

And Palestine did!

Mohammed Arafat

01-08-2018

I am finally out but not free, Ahed

In her release, the whole Palestine smiled,

Mothers and fathers, of happiness, weeped,

She was no danger, but a little child,

In her jail, bravery and steadfastness she reaped,

Ahed, the Palestinian girl, became a symbol,

With her patient mother, and the good dad,

Like a dove, she flee out, she is nimble,

Palestine felt free, and became glad,

Mohammed Arafat

29-07-2018