Selections from the 2011/5771 Jewish Voice for Peace Haggadah

Freedom

In remembrance of the 2011 protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Gabon, Bahrain, Libya, and
elsewhere.
Liberation comes when people gather
by the tens and by the thousands
demanding that the despot who’s held the reins
step down, and in between the slogans
they dish out lentils cooked over open flame,
and homes open up so the protestors can shower
and members of one faith link hands
to protect members of another faith at prayer.
Liberation comes at a cost: not only
the horses and chariots swept away, but
innocents gunned down by their own army,
panicked children lost in the roiling crowds
activists imprisoned for speaking freely,
and when the world stops watching
they may be beaten—or worse.
It’s upon us to at least pay attention
on mobile phones and computer screens
as real people rise up to say
we have the right to congregate and to speak
we will not be silenced, we are not afraid.
—Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, from the Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach

———————————————-

REVENGE By Taha Muhammed Ali
At times … I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
into
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
Iʼd rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!

But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father whoʼd put
his right hand over
the heartʼs place in his chest
whenever his son was late

even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting theyʼd set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.

Likewise … I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed
to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldnʼt bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.

Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.
But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or
friends,
colleagues or companions,
then Iʼd add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.

Instead Iʼd be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention

in itself was a kind of revenge.

Advertisements
, , , ,

About W

Wissam, Wesley, or simply W, is an educator, writer, entrepreneur, engineer, activist, ex-Imam, humanist, liberal thinker with interest and mediocre attempt at many takes of life. A modern confused Renaissance man, who uses doubt as a path for emancipation and science as a road towards enlightenment.

View all posts by W

CONNECT TO IRSHAD

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: