Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Apologies to All the People in Lebanon


I didn't know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway? 

They said you shot the London Ambassador
and when that wasn't true 

they said so 
what 
They said you shelled their northern villages 
and when UN. forces reported that was not true 
because your side of the cease-fire was holding 
since more than a year before 
what 
They said they wanted simply to carve 
a 25 mile buffer zone and then 
they ravaged your 
water supplies your electricity your 
hospitals your schools your highways and byways all 
the way north to Beirut because they said this 
was their quest for peace 
They blew up your homes and demolished the grocery 
stores and blocked the Red Cross and took away doctors 
to jail and they cluster-bombed girls and boys 
whose bodies 
swelled purple and black into twice the original size 
and tore the buttocks from a four month old baby 
and then 
they said this was brilliant 
military accomplishment and this was done 
they said in the name of self-defense they said 
that is the noblest concept 
of mankind isn't that obvious? 
They said something about never again and then 
they made close to one million human beings homeless 
in less than three weeks and they killed or maimed 
40,000 of your men and your women and your children 

But I didn't know and nobody told me and what 
could I do or say, anyway? 

Arabs.
They called your apartments and gardens guerrilla 
strongholds. 
They called the screaming devastation 
that they created the rubble. 

Then they told you to leave, didn't they?

Didn't you read the leaflets that they dropped 
from their hotshot fighter jets? 
They told you to go. 
One hundred and thirty-five thousand 
Palestinians in Beirut and why 
didn't you take the hint? 
There was the Mediterranean: You 
could walk into the water and stay 
there. 
What was the problem? 

I didn't know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway? 

Yes, I did know it was the money I earned as a poet that
paid 
for the bombs and the planes and the tanks 
that they used to massacre your family 

But I am not an evil person
The people of my country aren't so bad 

You can expect but so much
from those of us who have to pay taxes and watch 
American TV 

You see my point;

I'm sorry.
I really am sorry.

 ~June Jordan

Picture: Trista in Southern Lebanon in 1996 with her beloved nephews

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