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.