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POETRY AGAINST OCCUPATION

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THEN WE DIDN'T YET KNOW by Dalia Falah

Translated to English by Rachel Tzvia Back, to Norwegian by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Read by Selma Joner

 

Then we didn’t yet know

that the Occupation would be forever.

Even when it would be forcibly extracted like a tooth

and tossed behind electric fences

and magnetic crossings

while cement and petrol magnates

traveled from Ramallah to Gaza –

even then it would be remembered longingly –

how young it was, the Occupation,

composed only of Arab women bent over tomatoes

in Jewish fields, men with nylon bags

waiting forwork at the Ashkelon junction,

jumping into grey service Peugeots, 

and the Secret Service men who lived three to a villa in Afridar

actually changing their license plates before

going off to work, so they wouldn’t be identified.

It was young. In the restaurants they peeled vegetables into large tins, then 

fried them, built on scaffolds. There were many organizations.

And they too were young:

volunteers with Chinese weapons, poets,

but the Occupation did not recognize them,

because it was busy arguing in the classrooms wether to return territories or not,

and Ofer P., whose father was wounded in the Battle of Jenin,

and had shrapnel stuck in his back

said: ”In any case there’ll be another war.”

Thats what his father taught him.

That’s how young the Occupation was,

and look at it now.

 

   

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LANGUAGE by Nathan Zach

Translated to English by Rachel Tzvia Back, to Norwegian by Terje Nordby

Read by Thomas Hildebrand

                             Confirming a kill                           -     A bullet to the head

                             Exposing the enemy                     -     Uprooting olive groves

                             Collateral Damage                        -     Every neighbor’s life imperiled

                             Encirclement                                  -     A city under siege

                             Closure                                           -     Jailing civilians in their homes

                             Targeted Eliminations                   -     Killing the good with the bad

                             Administrative Detention              -     Imprisonment without trial

                             Bargaining Chips                           -    Toying with human life

                             Roadblocks                                    -     Breaking a people’s spirit

                             Delimiting Village Expansion       -     Banishing a man to the wilderness

                             Family Unification Plan                -     Separating husbands from their wives

                             Trial                                                -     Distinguishing between blood and blood

                             Emigration Directorate                  -     Arresting men in their sleep

                             Human Resource Company          -     Robbing the foreigner of his livelihood

                             Urban Development                       -    Building new prisons

                             Settlement Outposts                      -     Deluding the world

                             An Isolationist Nation                    -     Sonic bombs over neighboring countries

                             Geneva Accords                             -     The murder of a seven-year-old boy

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A MOTHER IS WALKING AROUND by Dahlia Ravikovitch

Translated to English by Rachel Tzvia Back, to Norwegian by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Read by Henning Farner 

A mother is walking around with a dead child in her belly.

This child hasn’t been born yet.

On the day of his birth, the dead child will be born

head first, then back and buttocks

and he won’t wave his arms about

or cry his first cry

and they won’t tap his bottom

or put drops in his eyes

and they won’t swaddle him

after washing his body.

He’ll be nothing like a living child.

And his mother won’t be calm and proud after giving birth

she also won’t be worried about his future,

she won’t ask herself how will she support him

and does she have enough milk

and enough clothes

and how will she fit another cradle into the room.

The child is wholly righteous,

unmade ere he was ever made.

And he’ll have his own little grave at the edge of the cemetery

and a little memorial  day

and very little to remember him by.

This is the history of the child

who was killed in his mother’s belly

in the month of January 1988

for reasons relating to national security.

 

 

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THE TARGET by Tal Nizan

Translated to English by Tal Nizan and Vivian Eden, to Norwegian by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Read by Liv Aakvik

 

They closed their non-aiming eye

and watched the target

and chose an aiming point

and brought the edge of the blade

to the notch of the rear sight

with all the gunsights upright

and leaving a white thread

they fired.

But missed.

They did manage to kill Muhammad El-Hayk, 24,

And severly wound his father Abdalla, 64,

all “as necessary and according to procedures,”

but missed Maisun El-Hayk, only slightly wounding her

in spite of her big belly

that happened to be a perfect aiming point

(but hadn’t they made her undress at the roadblock before

to ensure the belly was a belly indeed

and the labor pains-labor pains

before it occurred to them

to proceed with

suspect arrest-procedure”?)

and also failed to hit 

her fetus daughter

and send her to heaven

before she came into this world

-must have overlooked that white thread-

but did manage to inseparably seam

her birth day to her father’s burial day

and reinforce the promise

“In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”

- there has been no greater sorrow!-

as the shooting ceased

and Maisun called out for Muhammad

and the terror or the excruciating pain

twisted her voice

(“Breathe slowly and deeply

find the most comfortable position,

think of something nice and pleasant,

ask your partner to dim the lights,

play your favourite music,

gently massage your lower back”)

and he, suddenly, stopped answering,

for if you haven’t seen Maisun’s photo,

her hands quivering over her daughter,

pink, calm , innocent

the way newborn babies are

-but wasn’t she lucky

to have given birth to her in a hospital bed

rather than crouching like her sisters before her

like an animal in front of the soldiers

and then stumbling ten kilometres,

walking and bleeding,

carrying the dead infant as an offering-

whoever hasn’t opened a non-aiming eye

to look into Maisun el-Hayk’s face,

has never seen what it means

to bring forth children in sorrow.

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IN ENEMY TERRITORY by Maxim Ghilan

Translated to English by Rachel Tzvia Back, to Norwegian by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Read by Thomas Hildebrand

 

From enemy territory i am writing

coded messages, writing as though

to the resistance. Like a hostage held

in a sombre city, loving the enemy.

 

I write here and they say  sit there –

I write there and they say soon –

ripping up the words, and not just them,

setting lyrics to a graceless tune.

 

I write in sorrow. Sometimes hatred

descends on my palate as at a feast of riches

a stew of revenge and reverence

before what might have been here, once.

 

I write also in happiness, but not gloating.

I write with precision, I write as a witness.

Not part of  the fair. Representative exhibit.

Present-absentee. Most unfashionably.

 

But also as a returnee,

Looking hard all around

With vain hope I see

The enemy everywhere. Even in me.

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TO MAXIM GILAN by Uri Weiss

Translated to English by Dena Shunra, to Norwegian by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Read by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Cry out, Maxim.

This no time to be dead. Occupation's 

Walls still weigh down

The necks of children. A man 

Born when you left will be oppressed

Without you even once raising your voice to protest.

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DOWN IN STRAWBERRY FIELDS by Uri Weiss

Translated to English by Dena Shunra, to Norwegian by Marius Kolbenstvedt

Read by Marius Kolbenstvedt

When thirteen year-old Issa reaches his 

Hands down

He looks as though he had his

Hands up.

If a picture had been given in pieces, 

The leg would be standing. But

Since the whole picture is given

We can see that Issa is not whole

After the occupation army

Took him down

In Strawberry Fields.