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Poem: Palestinian Madonna in Flowing White

Palestinian Madonna in Flowing White *

By Genevieve Cora Fraser

A Palestinian Madonna
In a mantle of white
Faced the brute force
Of Israeli state terror
Tonight inside the sanctuary
Oh her home soldiers aimed
Their assault rifles and roamed
Troops of muddy boots
On pristine Arabic tile
With babe in arms
Another hid behind
She proudly faced them
Stood her ground
As they prowled around
And plunked themselves
Down an ambush
For her tired husband
Who left for work at 4
Before dawn to stand
At the checkpoint
Waiting, tired, hungry
Anxious to get to hospital
Tanks had been roaming
Snipers shooting children
Throwing stones
A doctor made criminal
For treating his patients
Like humans deserving
His care a colleague
Had been shot
Attempting to get
To a man in need
Of an emergency
Operation made to wait
He gestured and said
Please, I must get to my patient
You see he has a bad heart
That doctor is no longer
A surgeon his shoulders
Shot he fell and broke
His hands as they kicked
Him aside for provoking
The Almighty Wrath
Of a 21 year old
Israeli in charge
Of enforced waiting
Mandated to delay
Entry Exit
In all matters
To Israeli Will
Is required the penalty
For impatience
Is corporal punishment
Possible internment
Or death the doctor
Is out his wife waits
As the soldiers
Eye her Semite beauty
Draped in white she shudders
And prays for deliverance
From her enemies
Israelis kill to prove
Their Right to Kill
They rape to defile
Her husband
Is at hospital
She tells them
They will wait
What has he done
That deserves
An unprovoked
Raid he has treated
All with respect
Never held a gun
Never harmed
A key scrapes
Inserted the bolt
Pulls back
As the soldiers
Cock their weapons
She screams
And sees red

* The story is a composite inspired by photos, articles, conversations with Palestinians and a story I heard from members of the American Friends Service Committee who spent time in Palestine with a man who can no longer practice surgery. It is dedicated to the noble citizens of Nablus whose ancient city is being devastated and lives victimized by Israeli State Terrorism once again.

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