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When you are oppressed, you are not allowed to become yourself– you must become a fighter

Middle East
on 35 Comments

Welcome to Saturday morning in the north of Scotland.

Last night we watched the mini-series ‘Rebellion’. It’s the story of the Irish 1916 Easter Rising. Back in 2016 my partner and I went to Dublin to participate in the celebrations of the Centenary of the Rising. It was incredibly moving to be a part of it and I learned so much not just from museums and ceremonies but from interacting with people and seeing the places where events took place.

It was a bit of a messy uprising, not terribly well organised, with too few and largely untrained and poorly armed ordinary people – turned soldiers by necessity. The uprising was cruelly and relatively easily crushed by the military might and organisation of British colonial forces, fuelled by a typical and pathological sense of entitlement and drunk on power. Large parts of Dublin were left in ruins after the centre of the city with all its landmark buildings was bombed heavily from the River Liffey. Who knows how many people really died and how many were scarred for life because of what they experienced.

Without this rebellion though, things would not have unfolded as they did. Most Irish people did not support the rebellion, but once they witnessed the disproportionate and heavy handed response by the ‘Empire’ that ruled them, opposition to British rule in Ireland grew dramatically. It took a few more painful twists and turns, including a horrendous civil war, before Ireland finally gained full independence from Britain in 1948. (Our Scotland here is still waiting.)

I have only become properly acquainted with the story of Ireland in the past four years since I met my Irish partner. When I asked myself why I knew nothing about Ireland, I realised that we never learned anything about Ireland or about colonialism back when I was growing up in Israel. I did listen and pay attention at school. I was a curious and motivated straight ‘A’ student throughout my primary and secondary education. If they taught us anything, I would have remembered.

We learned two types of history at school in primary and in high school. One was the history of Zionism, which was taught in dedicated classes as a dedicated subject. The other was ‘general history’. Both history subjects we learned were deeply flawed. We learned the state-approved version of Zionism as a benevolent, just, heroic, frontier movement, created just to save us, Jews, from persecution through the creation of a modern, socialist and just Jewish state on ‘our’ ancestral land, the land ‘we returned to after 2000 years of exile’. All nonsense of course, but they made it fit, more or less…

In ‘general history’ we learned nothing about colonialism, about the Americas, about India, Australia, the Vietnam war. We learned about Britain only in Zionist history as the ‘empire’ that oppressed us the Jews in Palestine. We learn about how our ‘brave’ underground movements successfully fought against the British and ‘drove them’ out of Palestine. We learned nothing about British colonialism and settler-colonialism. We learned nothing about what colonialism in general does to people, the injustices that Britain and other colonial states have inflicted on their colonies all over the world. We learned nothing about the colonial slave trade, the suffering of indigenous people or the fight for independence in so many colonised parts of the world. We learned nothing about Africa or Apartheid in South Africa which was still very much on when I was at school. We learned nothing about women’s rights and women’s fight for suffrage and for equality.

I have always believed that the quality of our education (which was very centralised) was good. But was it really that good if it was filled with so many holes, and such big holes at that…? I could not have known that we were educated to know what the powers that ruled us wanted us to know. No more, no less. The job of education was to prepare us to become good little drones who would not question or disobey, and who would be shaped into another generation dedicated to maintaining and continuing the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine. For the most part it was a success. My generation does in Israel or even outside of Israel exactly what it was expected to do. I am one of the failures of that education system and it doesn’t have that many.

Why did we learn nothing about colonialism? Why did we learn nothing about what colonialism does to indigenous people, why did we learn nothing about so many oppressed indigenous people’s fight for liberation? We learned about the Jewish colonists in Palestine’s fight against the British mandate as if it was a just and righteous fight of oppressed against oppressors. It was so twisted. When we learned about our own fight against the British mandate we learned it from a uniquely narrow Jewish Israeli perspective. Why did we not learn anything about the fight against slavery, or the long fight of women for our right to be considered equal human beings?

I suspect this was deliberate. If we learned about what colonialism does to people it would have been only a matter of time before some of us at least might have started to join the dots. If we understood colonialism and what it does to the colonised, there was a risk we might place what was happening to the Palestinians in this context. And it would have been the correct context, except Israel never wanted us to see that Zionism is a settler-colonial movement like any other before it, and that it has been devastating the indigenous people for our ends and purposes just like any other settler-colonial movement before it. Israel never wanted us to see that what the Palestinians were trying to do was what all colonised people have always tried to do: resist. They couldn’t afford for generations of Jewish Israeli children to grow up seeing the truth. I would not have gone so willingly to serve my two years in the military if I had known the truth.

When you read about Britain’s colonial rule in Ireland, when you see the images from hundreds of years of colonialism and settler-colonialism, when you read the stories and understand the legacy, it’s easy to see the similarities between what the British were doing in Ireland and what the Zionist movement/Jewish Israelis are doing in Palestine. The same tactics, the same control, the same policy of dehumanisation and elimination, which includes attempting to erase a culture, its stories, language, everything that makes it unique. Without dehumanisation it’s hard to hurt people. If you can see that the other is the same as you, it’s not so easy any more to hurt and do harm. If you can dehumanise the oppressed in the eyes of others, you can also ensure they will not have much support.

I was an abused child who grew up in a highly controlled environment where I lived under my oppressor’s magnifying glass. From when I was a baby I was on the receiving end of violence in all its forms. When I began occasionally to fight back, my oppressor crushed me. It is not hard for an adult to crush a child. I had no rights and no power. She had everything. I couldn’t get away because I was dependent. Even when I was old enough it took a considerable psychological journey to finally break away from the hold and codependency that my oppressor groomed me into.

When you are oppressed you are not allowed to be yourself. Oppression is about power and control. It has no other reason except the desire of one to use another for their own ends. When you are oppressed you are not a person. You are a resource. As a resource you have two choices: Surrender and be whatever your oppressor wants you to be, lose yourself and be destroyed slowly, or rebel and pay the heavy price of using up all your resources just to resist and deal with the backlash, which always comes. Instead of growing, developing and dedicating your resources to living a full life, you become a soldier, a fighter by necessity. The essence of oppression is having no good choices. Psychopaths make sure of it. You either sacrifice everything you are or you are forced into a life of fighting. Either way you can be destroyed.

Avigail Abarbanel, as a girl in Israel

As a fighter, you also have to live with labelling from others, you are a ’terrorist’ or an ‘ungrateful’ and ‘bad’ child… People who are oppressed get little sympathy. I got none. If I was a child now, there is a chance I would be removed from my family. Back then there was no protection for children. Parents were gods and society didn’t intervene in ‘domestics’. Beating up children (and women) was the norm, and sexual abuse of girls in the family, especially by the father, was seen by the psychiatric profession as not only not harmful, but in fact helpful to girls’ development…! (This changed only in the 1980s thanks to one wonderful woman, the psychiatrist Judith L. Herman). I had nowhere to turn to even if I dared to speak up. No one would have believed me. Everyone would have sided with my parents. But I couldn’t say anything anyway, because part of the system of control around me was that I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone about what was going on in the family and the kind of life I had. I had to always present a happy façade and look happy so that my family looked good to others. I think that even if people knew the terror I suffered every single day of my childhood and adolescence no one would have helped.

Being the poorly developed mammals that we are, people gang up against victims rather than help them. We still sacrifice individuals for the pack. We instinctively protect the pack, which we believe we need for our survival. If an individual or a few individuals have to be sacrificed, so be it.

Even now, in late 2018, we’re still struggling to protect children and other oppressed people in our society, and there are plenty whose lives are terrible here and elsewhere in the world. There are children, at least a quarter of girls and we don’t know how many boys, whose daily lives are nothing short of hell of sexual abuse and violence. We are still far away from seeing when a child is suffering, and when we do notice, what is done about it if anything is still woefully inadequate. Despite lip service to the contrary, society still protects the family. In the world in general we still protect oppressors at the expense of their victims. The family is a microcosm of society and society is a microcosm of the world.

Oppressors are psychopaths. What other kind of person would enjoy controlling others and abusing power? Only psychopaths in all their varieties enjoy this. Normal people might behave badly sometimes. But they have no need to control others and they would certainly not get pleasure out of having more power than someone else. I will never forget the smirk on my oppressor’s face whenever she succeeded in humiliating me yet again and leaving blood trickling from my face or bruises on my body. She wanted to break my spirit and she enjoyed it whenever she thought that she succeeded. That’s what oppressors do. In my case my oppressor failed. Here I am, writing this and I am well, but not everyone is that lucky…

I have always wondered why the story of Ireland has touched me so deeply. I think I understand it now. It’s because I recognise it from my personal experience. I know what it’s like to be powerless, caught in the grip of psychopathic control. I know what it’s like to try everything to be ‘good’, to please the oppressor, to try to follow the rules they give you because they promise that if you do, all will be well. But soon enough you realise that actually there is nothing you can ever do to make your life better. As the trap slowly closes around you, you realise that there is nothing you can do to control anything because all power and all control are in the hands of your oppressor. You have none. In a psychopathic system the biggest thing you are robbed off is the right to your personal power. Only oppressors are allowed to have power. This is why the Irish rebellion was crushed so horrifically. This is why Israel responds so disproportionately to any sign, including peaceful, harmless signs, of Palestinian resistance. Israel wants to let the Palestinians know that they have no power at all and rob them of any hope that they will ever have any.

When you fight against oppressors, you are labeled as bad and are punished even more. If you try to seek help elsewhere you are called names, are dehumanised and isolated. This is what happened to Irish people and anyone who ever fought a psychopathic system. This is what the Palestinians are experiencing right now. Yes, I am saying that colonialism and settler-colonialism are essentially psychopathic systems.

It is the right of oppressed people to fight back to try to free themselves. It is our duty to help them. Whether they are individuals or groups who are caught in an oppressive psychopathic system, we have a duty to help destroy the power structure that holds them captive, that uses them as a resource and that prevents them from living a full life and developing their unique potential.

I resisted and it cost me, but if I didn’t resist I would be dead or otherwise psychologically destroyed now. I lost the will to live at least twice in my youth and tried to commit suicide. I was fortunate not to die and to be able to recover. The first step was to free myself from the physical and economic hold of my oppressor on me. But it was still a long journey from then to now. I am OK now but my oppressors got away with it and never paid the price (unless you consider the fact that they have to live with themselves and with their ugly reflection in the mirror.)

I watched ‘Rebellion’ last night wondering where I would be and what I would do if I lived in Ireland then. I know that it depends on who I was and what kind of family and social class I came from. I am a female, so that would mean that I would still be at the bottom of the social pecking order. I would like to think that I would have joined the fight to free not just Ireland but also women and poor people from the tyranny of oppression. I would like to think that I would have been prepared to die for this cause.

I am alive and I have a voice now. I would like to contribute to a world that does not allow anyone to waste their life being crushed or by being forced to becoming a fighter.

Have a good weekend everyone. xxx

This post first appeared on Avigail Abarbanel’s site under the headline, “The right of the oppressed to resist & rebel against their oppressors.”

Avigail
About Avigail Abarbanel

Avigail Abarbanel was born and raised in Israel. She moved to Australia in 1991 and now lives in the north of Scotland. She works as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor in private practice and is an activist for Palestinian rights. She is the editor of Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).

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35 Responses

  1. FightTribalism
    FightTribalism
    July 23, 2018, 4:14 pm

    What people often don’t realize about oppressors is that almost all the time they believe that they are the ones who are wronged and threatened by the people they oppress.

    ““If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.””

    – Malcolm X

    • eljay
      eljay
      July 23, 2018, 4:41 pm

      || FightTribalism: What people often don’t realize about oppressors is that almost all the time they believe that they are the ones who are wronged and threatened by the people they oppress. … ||

      Zionists have made it extremely clear that they view themselves as the oppressed. It’s hard work shooting and crying, but no-one ever said aggressor-victimhood wasn’t a tough gig.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        July 23, 2018, 8:10 pm

        Zionist Jews imagine themselves as oppressed by endlessly reliving past events in which Jews really were oppressed. This is quite a common pattern. Serb nationalists also imagine themselves oppressed by reliving the real oppression of Serbs at the hands of the Nazi Ustasha and before that the Ottoman overlords. But it isn’t a universal pattern. The English colonialists did not feel oppressed by the Indians, Irish etc. For them it was pure arrogance.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        July 25, 2018, 12:41 am

        Stephen Shenfield, I agree there are different types of situations. In dealing with individuals, if a person repeatedly has trouble getting along with a variety of others, we look at the possibility of that individual being the source of the pattern of problems. Since they are the common factor that is common sense, as well as good scientific and forensic practice. So in the case of the Jewish community, we might rationally ask whether there is something this community has done that has at least contributed to this pattern. Considering today, surveys are reported finding there is some degree of a rise in anti-Semitism. The logical question would then be: Is there something the community, or prominent members of the community are doing that might be provoking this rise? For example, an arrogant attitude of superiority toward one’s neighbors could contribute to arrogant behaviors toward the neighbors. Since such an attitude of superiority is explicitly stated in the Torah, this possibility can’t be ignored.

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 24, 2018, 4:27 am

      @FightTribalism — Your screen name/ID is enough to make me happy. Your Malcolm X quote is spot on. Of course he would have known all about it…

      • Avigail
        Avigail
        July 24, 2018, 4:30 am

        @Stpehen Shenfield — of course it’s not an identical model. However, I think you will find that when Indians rebelled and fought back and there was an incident of some kind, that the reporting would have presented the rebels as dangerous monsters and the colonial British as poor victims… It might not be always a part of the bigger ideology, but it’s there nonetheless. When the victims rebel they are threatening the poor little colonials…

  2. Xpat
    Xpat
    July 23, 2018, 7:59 pm

    “The job of education was to prepare us to become good little drones who would not question or disobey, and who would be shaped into another generation dedicated to maintaining and continuing the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine.”

    I went through the Israeli education system and am now experiencing the American educational system. So far, I don’t see much difference. In fact, in some ways, it is worse. The school flies the national flag as if it were an arm of the state or a federal agency; kids are expected to recite a statement of loyalty to the government known as “The Pledge of Allegiance”; coloring the national flag is a classroom activity. I was shamed by a teacher for privately expressing concern to my child; European settlers are celebrated; they kids learn very little, if at all, about the native populations that predated the settlers; there is no Howard Zinn or anything close in the curriculum and so on. The most edgy topic they take on is racism. Colonialism is ignored or actively promoted. And I live in what is considered a liberal area, akin, perhaps, to your high-achieving school in Israel.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      July 24, 2018, 2:13 am

      The pledge of allegiance must be on the way out at this stage.
      It came from a time when treason meant giving comfort to the enemy. For years it made sense given the GOP stance on national security. But that was before Trump.

      https://youtu.be/W2SpIsrc09M

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 24, 2018, 4:26 am

      @Elliot, Thank you for your comment. I have long suspected that the same exists in the US’s education system. It’s the same mantra always: our ‘tribe’ ahead of everyone else. “American first”, Jewish people/Jewishness/Israel ahead of everything else… It’s all the same tribal, ancient mammal dangerous nonsense. It’s time for humanity to grow up.

  3. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    July 24, 2018, 2:32 am

    For years under occupation the Irish were told that they were not rational. The English were rational.

    This was a while before Brexit .

    The Israelis tell themselves they are rational. And that the Palestinians are vermin.

    “They lie to us and then lie to themselves about lying to us” John Trudell.

    Oppression is about preventing people from being themselves. People resist any way they can. Sometimes it may not be possible to find peace in this or the next generation.

    https://youtu.be/RhLatWoWrKA

    In Ireland’s case we still have the music

    https://youtu.be/Nl_xmIIU3Hw

    Jer the Rigger is at 9.00

    Israel will collapse earlier than the British Empire did because Zionism is trauma drivenue rather than based on the economy.

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 25, 2018, 6:00 am

      @Maghlawatan — I feel the same. I think it will collapse sooner than we think.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 26, 2018, 8:48 am

        They gave up the education of their kids for the settlers. They gave up the Geneva convention for the settlers. They gave up billions in social spending for the settlers . They gave up their democracy for the settlers.
        Israel isn’t strong . It’s pathetically weak.

  4. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    July 24, 2018, 7:51 am

    “Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations. The Zionists have worked well in secret and in the open. They think that they have pacified Palestine. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools!– they have left us our Palestinian dead; and while Palestine holds these graves, Palestine unfree shall never be at peace”

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 25, 2018, 6:01 am

      @Ossinev — where is this amazing quote from? I am assuming it is a quote…

  5. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    July 24, 2018, 11:05 am

    Latest commentary by Professor Lawrence Davidson:

    http://www.tothepointanalyses.com/

    “The Faulty Logic Behind the Zionist Attack on BDS—An Analysis” (24 July 2018) by Lawrence Davidson

    EXCERPTS:
    “If you search the topic boycotts on Google you immediately realize how historically common they are. There are a lot to choose from, and one of the first listed is the 1769 boycott instituted by the First Continental Congress against Great Britain over the issue of ‘taxation without representation.’ That makes a boycott against a perceived oppressive power an integral part of American heritage.

    “As you move into the modern era, a reaction against racism also becomes a noticeable motivating factor for many boycotts. The Chinese instituted a boycott against the United States over the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1892 and 1904. Then, in 1933, the American Jewish Congress declared a boycott of Nazi Germany in protest to its racially motivated oppression of the German Jewish community. In the 1940s, Ghandi would encourage Indians to boycott imperial Britain. In the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans would boycott segregated institutions in the U.S. South. In the 1960s through the 1990s, much of the world would boycott South Africa over issue of apartheid. And this is but a short list.

    “In 2005, 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, including unions, refugee networks, women’s organizations, and political parties, put out a call for a boycott of Israel. This was to be a non-violent effort to pressure the Zionist state to conform to international law and cease its oppression of the Palestinians. The call was also for divestment from Israel and all entities that assisted and profited from its behavior, as well as for eventual sanctions. This is known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, or BDS for short.”

    “Part II—Redefining Anti-Semitism

    “Even though Jews had suffered from Nazi persecution and ethnic cleansing during World War II and had used boycott as a weapon against their oppressors, the Israelis and their Zionist supporters have taken great umbrage at the call for boycott by the Palestinians. They see it as ‘anti-Semitic.’

    “For instance, in the U.S. the Zionist Anti-Defamation League has this to say about the BDS campaign on its website:
    ‘Many of the founding goals of the BDS movement, including denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination … are anti-Semitic. Many individuals involved in BDS campaigns are driven by opposition to Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state. … And, all too often, BDS advocates employ anti-Semitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel.’

    This statement expresses the ‘official’ Israeli/Zionist position, and at its core is a purposeful conflation of the Jewish people and the Israeli state. By insisting on this identification of Israel and all Jews, the Zionists are able to redefine anti-Semitism. Indeed, they take a very old and well-understood phenomenon and give it a radically new, and quite suspect, definition.”

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      July 25, 2018, 12:46 am

      Like ALL Zionist apologists, they make NO MENTION of the people they are slaughtering and robbing. This universal and perpetual Zionist tactic is proof they are not trying to have a true discussion, and have no integrity. They deserve no respect. Their attitude is a plague on humanity.

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 25, 2018, 6:04 am

      @Misterioso — thank you for these quotes and the reference. It’s a great resource and I appreciate it a great deal. I will be very useful.

  6. amigo
    amigo
    July 24, 2018, 6:46 pm

    England is rebuilding it,s former Empire .Theresa May refers to it as , “Global Britain ,part 2 ” but first they must take back their sovereignty , ie , remove the EU yoke from around their neck.

    Maybe the Irish Gov should rethink it,s policy on having a hard border . We don,t want to go through another 600 years of British colonialism . Fool us once , shame on you , fool us twice , shame on us.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 25, 2018, 12:06 am

      May refers to it as , “Global Britain ,part 2 ” but first they must take back their sovereignty , ie , remove the EU yoke from around their neck.

      EU yoke? Why, it’s never a problem for this American Overseas Territory.
      Don’t start swallowing camels whole while you strain at a gnat, please.

  7. amigo
    amigo
    July 24, 2018, 7:37 pm

    Israeli supporters might be well advised to study the image at top of thread.The Irish “Terrrrrorreeests” are armed only with 303 enfield rifles and the odd Thompson machine gun with which to fight the mighty Empire ,( armed with Tanks /Gunships /artillery etc) and eventually extract a ceasefire and a negotiated peace and ultimately freedom.

    You cannot kill a cause and one day the Palestinians will prevail and the Rogue State of Israel will wither away in the bin of history in the company of all the other 1000 year empires.

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 25, 2018, 6:05 am

      @amigo — great comments, thanks! I love your last two lines: “You cannot kill a cause and one day the Palestinians will prevail and the Rogue State of Israel will wither away in the bin of history in the company of all the other 1000 year empires.” I totally agree with them. You can kill people but you can’t kill a cause and that certainly was the case in Ireland.

  8. JWalters
    JWalters
    July 25, 2018, 12:02 am

    Thank you for this article clearly equating the different forms of oppression! Oppression is oppression is oppression.

    Men need to wake up to oppression against women. Adults need to wake up to oppression against children. Jews need to wake up to oppression against Palestinians. Whites need to wake up to oppression against blacks. etc. No exceptions.

  9. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    July 25, 2018, 6:57 am

    This NYT article is astonishing.

    Israel has abandoned democracy. It gets the kid gloves treatment.
    Israel is on a par with Senegal and well behind Tunisia in terms of strength of its democracy.
    The same forces that gave rise to Nazism are now at work in Israel.

    I wonder when the NYT will turn away from the monster it has supported since 1948
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/22/world/middleeast/israel-jewish-state-nationality-law.html

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      July 25, 2018, 8:34 am

      So Tunisia, an arab country, is more democratic than Israel. That’s a blow for Hasbara.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 25, 2018, 1:05 pm

        Isn’t it just?
        And that beacon of US liberalism, the NYT, is up to its neck in illiberal Israeli sewage.

  10. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    July 25, 2018, 8:14 am

    @Avigail Abarbanel
    The quote is based on the graveside funeral oration to a leading Irish Republican O`Donovan Rossa given by a fellow Irish Republican Padraig Pearse in 1915. Pearse himself was executed by the British the following year for having taken part in the Easter Uprising:
    http://www.easter1916.net/oration.htm

    • gamal
      gamal
      July 25, 2018, 8:32 am

      “a leading Irish Republican O`Donovan Rossa”

      He was born in Roscarberrry ( Ros Ó gCairbre : Carberries Wood) about a 20 minute drive from where I live, he is huge around here, like Michael Collins who was from Clonakilty, like the Kilmichael Ambush just up the road or the famine burial sites all over…..empire is awful and bloody.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 25, 2018, 8:48 am

        and a little later Tom Barrys’ 310 men of the flying column defeated 12500 British occupation troops,

        Cork,

        The Rebel County.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 25, 2018, 5:36 pm

        Eliahu Burrit was a US visitor to Skibbereen in 1847. He saw a small building in the graveyard where people went to die. Even children. Laissez mourir was the British attitude .

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 27, 2018, 4:36 pm

      Thank you very much @Ossinev! I appreciate it.

  11. gamal
    gamal
    July 25, 2018, 6:43 pm

    “Eliahu Burrit was a US visitor to Skibbereen in 1847”

    and people wonder, do they, why they sing “revenge for Skibbereen” in the old song, thats why I like them they will give you the shirt from their back if you ask and if you like trouble they will give that to you to, tough people but beautiful and kind. In the end you know Skibbereeen, my local town proved unconquerable, god bless them.

    https://youtu.be/zup_-iFp4tQ

  12. gamal
    gamal
    July 27, 2018, 5:04 pm

    Dear Avigail,

    i been thinking of your title Ahmed had a comment Abbas’ story, what is it black Americans say you have to represent when you are the bottom of the pile…what ghetto dweller or woman for that matter doesn’t know Abbas’s story…we don’t have any respect for people who can’t defend themselves, it’s a tough world

    Abbas behind the barricades
    Alert, awake, attentive
    Since the years of the Islamic conquests he has been polishing his sword
    And his mustache also, waiting clutching his teddybear
    A thief swallowed one part of the country
    Abbas was at a loss
    Abbas was at sixes and sevens
    (The other part of the country remained)
    Abbas gathered his ammunition and his barricade
    And went on polishing his sword
    The thief crossed over to him and entered his home
    (Now he was his guest)
    Abbas served him coffee, and went on polishing his sword
    Abbas’ wife cried: “Your children are dead, Abbas
    Your guest is harassing me, Abbas
    Come and save me, Abbas.”
    Abbas – the awake, the attentive – alertly heard nothing
    (His wife is a gossip).
    His wife cried: “Abbas, the guest is stealing our sheep.”
    Abbas was at a loss, Abbas was at sixes and sevens,
    He sent a threatening letter
    “So why polish your sword, Abbas?”
    (For times of need)
    Then go on polishing your sword, Abbas.

    Ahmed Matar

    • Avigail
      Avigail
      July 28, 2018, 6:05 am

      Wow @gamal, this is an incredible poem. Very powerful. Can I share it on Facebook? I am sure many of my FB friends would appreciate it! Thank you!

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 28, 2018, 7:30 am

        of course Madame, I got it off poem hunters, publish widely, it is always worth googling Ahmed Matar or Sa’adi Yousseff, whose America America is the poem of this age.

        all the best.
        g

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