Now is the summer of our discontent.
Banned bombs,
Made in America,
once again rain down mercilessly
on the world’s largest open-air prison.
Photos of Raggedy Ann dolls
pulled out from Gaza’s burning debris
makes steeliest men sob.

How do middle-class Muslim youth
from Seattle to Srinagar
manage, to the extent they do,
their blind rage,
their helplessness
at the most compelling moral issue
of our generation:
the organized ethnic cleansing
of Palestinians,
as well their land
by the Zionists,
aided by the most mighty democracy?

you arm & enrich a colonial settler state,
inserted into Palestine
by Imperial design,
your cop on the beat in the Mid East
who assures the oil flows smoothly,
& despots keep the subjects quiet.

when will you come to terms
with your global hypocrisy,
your addiction to oil,
your whorish bond
with the world’s most retrogressive,
sexually-transmitted dynasty,
perfectly disorientated
in time, place, & person,
which pays cash for your Hell
Fire missiles, & uses
petrodollars to proselytize
a rigid reading of the Koran?

it saddens me
that so many bright people don’t get
the symbiotic link
between Western imperialism,
& the wretched of the world.
It’s the New Cold War:
their secular opposition,
your imperial despotism,
your suppression campaigns,
your military henchmen,
your gendarme state.
You say, Eisenhower Doctrine.
They say, Imperial Pillage.

It’s just dandy, then, to promote
shoe, underwear, & flight school
amateur chemistry kids
as Soldiers of Al-Qaeda,
“home-grown terrorists,”
sworn to destroy America,
the manicured homeland.

The Voice of Gaza
is a forceful yearning
for Justice,
a plea to the human within us.
Gaza is a mirror,
& perchance when you glance
at yourself, America,
it seems you only echo
that iconic character
Travis Bickle
in the 1976 film Taxi Driver,
“Are you talking to me?”

by Rafiq Kathwari, present winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award