International

A Poem For Healthcare Workers Braving Israeli Bombing In Gaza

The healthcare system in the Gaza Strip has been ransacked amid the Israeli War on Gaza. The doctors and healthcare workers are, however, braving the bombardment and scarce supplies to treat the sick and wounded Palestinians.

Photo: Getty Images
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With several hospitals becoming graveyards in the Gaza Strip, this poem has been penned by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, named Doctors Without Borders in English) Head of Missions for Gaza, Helen Ottens-Patterson, in honour of the healthcare workers who chose to stay back amid violence and provide medical care to thousands in need without care for their safety or well being.  

The Gaza Fellowship 

Under fire and threat of armed expulsion 
With little more than bare hands 
You will learn how to keep alive 
The world’s last living patient 
Match the wristband with the consent paper 
You read to your colleague the name ‘Hope’ 
She is bloodied and shrapnel punctured 
Her limbs are somewhere under the rubble 
Of Jabaliya 
She is no longer whole 
Yet she carries in her arms 
The unborn 
And the ghosts of Al Shifa 
And the shattered hearts of the bereaved 
And the empty hands of orphans 
Tiny fingers 
Seeking to curl themselves around 
The hand they will always sense 
But never know 
And and and on and in into infinity 
Yet she breathes 
Because you will not leave your patient 
It’s not because of medicine 
Because you learned that 
When the medicine runs out 
When the blood banks run dry 
When the gauze is deleted 
When the light goes out 
She still breathes 
By your healing hands 
By your resolve 
To push your breath into her lungs 
And stay by her side 

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