70th Anniversary of Nakba: Bint Nakba

Musallam Bseiso

By Jehan Bseiso

For Mohammed El Dura who died in his father’s arms in Gaza, in front of the whole world.

Bint Nakba

And don’t ever forget it, my grandfather warned me.

“Nakba daughter”, one among millions dispossessed.

This time last year I was a guest at home(land).

For hours,

Waiting, for permission and approval,

For the “private security company” to give me back my passport.

Wishing, I could walk through the metal gate, rip the barbed wire with two hands.

Beyond the entitled occupiers with their big guns and yellow smiles.

Something about May in Palestine is all waiting and loss.

In Ramallah, streets were covered with slogans and banners declaring:

“we have the right to return”

Could a march to Palestine begin from Palestine?

I think of all the cities I can hold in one breath

Inhale: Amman, Beirut, Cairo.

Exhale: All the layers of refuge and return.

In Hebron, I asked a shop keeper: How far?

He said: Gaza is as far as all these checkpoints,

armed settlers

and 10 years of siege.

In Amman, I am holding two photos in my hands.

In this one the sea is black and white, Jido and his friend look at the camera wet and grinning.

(1929, Gaza)

Older in a leather jacket, standing alone at the beach. Silver hair perfectly parted.

(1994, Gaza)

The border is a frontline where thousands march for their right to exist and resist.

A doctor explains: The snipers target the back of the knee, to force amputation.

And If we lose our legs?

we will crawl,

on our hands and elbows.

(2018, Gaza)

Something about the end of apartheid and occupation in my lifetime.

Photo Credit: Sima Diab

Jehan Bseiso is a Palestenian poet, researcher and aid worker. She has been working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières since 2009. Bseiso co-authored I Remember My Name, winner of the Palestine Book Award (2016). Some poems can be found online on various sites including Mada Masr, Warscapes and The Electronic Intifada.