Ghayath Almadhoun is a Palestinian poet, born in a refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, in 1979. He has been living between Berlin and Stockholm since 2008. He has lost 28 members of his Almadhoun family in Gaza, most of them children, killed in the Israeli bombing of Gaza this month. He shared with Outlook a poem he penned during the Israeli bombing of Gaza at the end of 2008. “Nothing has changed in the last 15 years!” Almadhoun says.
Here's 'We' by Ghayath Almahoun:
We, who are strewn about in fragments, whose flesh flies through the air like raindrops, offer our profound apologies to everyone in this civilised world, men, women and children, because we have unintentionally appeared in their peaceful homes without asking permission. We apologise for stamping our severed body parts into their snow-white memory, because we have violated the image of the normal, whole human being in their eyes, because we have had the impertinence to leap suddenly on to news bulletins and the pages of the internet and the press, naked except for our blood and charred remains. We apologise to all those who did not have the courage to look directly at our injuries for fear they would be too horrified, and to those unable to finish their evening meals after they had unexpectedly seen fresh images of us on television. We apologise for the suffering we caused to all who saw us like that, unembellished, with no attempt having been made to put us back together or reassemble our remains before we appeared on their screens. We also apologise to the Israeli soldiers who took the trouble to press the buttons in their aircraft and tanks to blow us to pieces, and we are sorry for how hideous we looked after they aimed their shells and bombs straight at our soft heads, and for the hours they are now going to spend in psychiatrists’ clinics, trying to become human again, like they were before our transformation into repulsive body parts that pursue them whenever they try to sleep. We are the things you have seen on your screens and in the press, and if you made an effort to fit the pieces together, like a jigsaw, you would get a clear picture of us, so clear that you would be unable to do a thing.
(Translated by Catherine Cobham)