Tuesday, 12 August 2014

For the children of Gaza - Onslaught Press

I am very honoured and privileged to be included  in this new book published by Onslaught Press, http://onslaughtpress.tumblr.com/trade for the children  of Gaza, with a poem published under my actual name in  an anthology of poems and art work. Great to be part  of a project that has been released so quickly, with  some well chosen  poems, all powerful and moving stirring in their own way. You can  contribute yourself by buying a copy here.http://onslaughtpress.tumblr.com/trade

Below is the preface written by the editors, Mathew Staunton and Rethabile Masilo.


Operation Protective Edge, described  by US Secretary of State John Kerry as "Israel's  appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself" from Hamas rocketeers and tunnel builders, is now in its fourth week. Unfortunately for the  civilian population of Gaza, however, there is little  in this operation that could reasonably be considered  defensive. The destruction of Gaza's civilian infrastructure and its only power station, the targeting of schools, hospitals, mosques, fishing boats, orchards, and the beach  is more about making life intolerable for Gazans than it is about ending  rocket attacks.
The civilian death toll, and the number of child casualties in particular, make  it difficult to see this as anything other than collective punishment. And yet we  are asked everyday to believe that these casualties are ' legitimate, 'unavoidable', appropriate', 'justified', 'necessary', and 'reasonable' and that children are dying because they are being used as 'human shields'.
Suffering is increasingly mediated by diplomats, official spokespeople, broadcasters, news corporations, community leaders, spin doctors, and legal tams, but  usually with no more than a passing commentary. We see more and more pictures of dead children on our screens and in our newspapers but the texts and speeches  that accompany them are  full of ambigious and misleading words, or words with no meaning at all. Sometimes there are so many dead children that it is more expedient to forget about words alltogether and simply use numbers.
The contributors  to this book are  telling the story of our anger and disgust and horror. You will not be surprised to discover that there is darkness in many of the texts that follow. But there is also joy and beauty. Its aim is much less to  accuse than to paint a correct picture of what most of the world seemingly does not see,  or chooses not to see, and we think that a right recognition of the reality  of Gaza today needs to be accompanied by the right remedial action. Such action is in the hands of all of us, even if the leaders of the world, who are indeed in the best position  to act, do not.
What is at stake in Gaza goes well beyond the politics of sides and enters the consideration of crime and of killing. There are many accomplices on both sides and as in any crime, they, too must be held accountable. Bishop Tutu has said that "if you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of  the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." The work presented here  by many artists and writers from all corners of the world attempts, unlike the non-actions of those who actually have political clout and power, to choose the side  of the oppressed.
Suddenly in the face of these killing, it does not matter that tunnels have been dug, or that rockets are being launched at Israeli cities. Even if you are right; what suddenly matters is choosing to kill your opponent, who is weaker.

Mathew D. Staunton & Rethabile Masilo

You can see much more on their facebook page


I can send a PDF too anyone interested.

Link to poem of mine included, originally posted here on this blog:-

The Night is Long Faced


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