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Where should the birds fly after the last sky?

November 10, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Children release balloons into the sky for their Palestinian peers who lost their lives in the Israeli attacks on Gaza at July 15 Democracy and Martyrs Park in Mardin, Turkiye on November 09, 2023. [Halil İbrahim Sincar – Anadolu Agency]

Where should the birds fly after the last sky?

Where should we go after the last sky? 

In the haunting verses of Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry, the tragic tale of Gaza unfolds—a narrative of shattered hopes, enduring resistance and the stark reality of life under Israeli occupation. Darwish’s words transcend the boundaries of literature, reaching into the core of a crisis that demands our attention and condemnation. As the world closes in on the Palestinian people, life in the Gaza Strip morphs into an agonising reality. Israeli bombardments, like thunderous echoes, shatter the dreams and lives of those trapped in this open-air prison. Blood flows beneath the rubble, a silent testimony to the wounds inflicted upon a people confined in a cage where access to basic necessities—food, water and electricity—is ruthlessly denied.

The dignity of life is trampled under the weight of colonial occupation. The siege tightens, ushering in a cruel fate of hunger, thirst and the unyielding descent of missiles upon residential areas, hospitals, schools and mosques. The world, however, seems content to watch this unfolding tragedy as if it were a mere spectacle in a circus, where actors play their roles, crafting a narrative that leaves the metaphorical birds grounded, denied the freedom to soar. A looming ground assault threatens millions with the dire choice of leaving their homes or facing murder and uprooting. In the face of this unfolding genocide, world leaders remain unmoved, their indifference casting a shadow on the inevitable suffering of Palestinians that will persist until the occupation concludes.

History echoes through the ages as 1948, 1967 and 2014 witnessed the world turning a blind eye to Palestinian suffering. Once again, as Israelis prepare for a ground invasion in Gaza, the world watches silently. The Palestinians find themselves caught in a tragic dilemma—to be bombed or to seek refuge away from their homes, facing another Nakba, another catastrophe that threatens the uprooting, displacement and killing of two million people defending their right to exist. The ultimate aim of the Zionists, to carve out a greater Israel on Palestinian land, unfolds as a tragic circus. A disconcerting parallel emerges as the media and the West, in the context of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, label Palestinians defending their homeland as “terrorists”, while Ukrainian fighters are seen as “defenders”. The identity of the oppressed is chased and knocked down in the relentless pursuit of an apartheid regime.

Genocide in Gaza: Luxury at what cost? 

In the heart-wrenching reality of Gaza, where babies, women and elders are ruthlessly murdered by Israeli bombs, the unfolding tragedy paints a stark contrast that renders even mourning a luxury for the surviving families. Amidst the unrelenting assault, the desperate search for the deceased beneath the rubble becomes a symbol of last hopes, a haunting reminder of lives lost in a struggle for survival. In this dire landscape, the people of Gaza find themselves torn between the agony of mourning their dead and the pressing need to secure shelter and food. The constant cycle of grief and survival defines their existence, a testament to the unimaginable challenges faced by a population caught in the crossfire. As this grave genocide unfolds, the world’s collective conscience is put to the test. A crisis demands condemnation, yet the West’s historical unkindness to the East and the repercussions of colonial projects that endanger the lives of the poor persist.

The silence of Muslim leaders in the face of desolation becomes a glaring question. Those who once voiced justice and stood against oppression now stand silent, leaving the oppressed to face their plight alone. The silence, like an echo, reverberates through the rubble of nations, hurting oppressed Muslims and condemning them to further suffering. A stark warning emerges against supporting Israel and the US in wiping out the people of Gaza. The consequences are foreseen—a world in ruins, where the broken wings of metaphorical birds and sealed borders pose existential questions with no easy answers. In the face of such tragedy, where the wings of a bird are broken, where should it fly? If the borders are sealed, where should we go?

These questions resonate, demanding urgent action, compassion and an unwavering commitment to justice. As the world ignores the continuous onslaught, the question looms heavy: how can the global conscience rest when an entire population is subjected to the merciless hands of destruction, enduring the horrors of days and nights stained by relentless violence? The world’s silence becomes a deafening echo, resonating with the cries of a people in desperate need of empathy, solidarity and an end to their harrowing ordeal.

We will die here, here in the last passage.

Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.

Mahmoud Darwish

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.