Tag Archives Jews

HISTORY LESSON

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Gaza, according to the Old Testament,

was, directly or indirectly,

frequently in receipt of God’s wrath,

most spectacularly when the Jewish giant,

Samson – who had been there whoring – was blinded

by its unsavoury residents, and bound

to the pillars of their heathen temple.

He brought it down around their ears, and his.

Millennia later, John Milton wrote:

‘Gaza still stands, but all its Sons are fall’n’.

 

***

 

Once, when we were learning about some outrage

or other, our history teacher observed

that there were two types of human being:

those we could imagine invading our homes

in the dead of the night, assembling us

in the street, and harrying us onto the trains

for Auschwitz – and those we couldn’t. Though perhaps

some of my peers wondered who they might be

it never occurred to me I would not be

one who felt for the oppressed: for the Jews,

of course, the Irish, Roma, Kurds,

Palestinians – all the migrant

and indigenous peoples of the earth,

defiled, displaced, diminished, denied.

 

***

 

The history of humankind seems to be one

of small tribes continually warring over

small plots of land that might produce

the odd pitcher of milk and honey.

And, it seems, in any particular place

or time, the tribe that gets to write the book gets

to invent the past or tell the truth, gets to

destroy the present or make it, gets to

determine the future.

 

 

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