The screams of thousands of mothers farewelling their loved ones.
The tears of children as they watch their parents take their last breath.
The silent sobs of the elders walking past their lands, wishing they could turn back time and take back their lands.
All echo unanimously.
Nader dreamt of his family and the fields of olive trees,
Of the sun kissed beaches of Jaffa and the glistening dome of Al Quds,
The mountains of Ramallah and the sweet knafeh of Nablus;
Deprived of his own land and a family he will never be allowed to see again.
What happened to Lina’s school? What happened to her home?
Where were the children she played with that filled the air with laughter and cheers?
Where was the justice? Where was the peace?
Lina’s body lay scattered on the streets, lost among the remains of her family and friends.
Her wrinkles and scars tell stories of unimaginable horrors,
Of genocide and persecution.
Hands that once baked fresh bread every morning have now become too weak and fragile.
She sits in her corner weaving, hoping that with every stitch she can turn back time and bring us all back together.
“Don’t worry Yommah, we’ll return one day.”
Those words echoed as he stared into the soldiers eyes.
Hassan was not afraid of the soldier before him, nor was he afraid to die.
For when he looked down into the barrel he saw his freedom and promised land.
What more could he want?
He smiled, knowing paradise was waiting for him if he died and the lands of Palestine awaited him if he lived.
They wonder why we fight for our land? They wonder why we haven’t given up?
Yet they don’t realise that we are the land; we can not be separated.
I am the olive tree with my roots firmly grounded, guarding every grain of my soil.
I am the hope and promise of freedom.
I am the reviver of Salahuddine’s legacy.
The blood of martyrs runs deep within my veins.
I have my mother’s courage and my father’s patience.
So ask me again why I fight for my land.
I am the land that prophets lived on;
The land that angels blessed.
I am the footsteps of Jesus that crossed Nazareth.
I am the mother of the martyrs, cradling their bodies and comforting them to ease.
I am the land that has been bombed,
The trees that have been burnt,
The water that has been polluted,
The air that has been contaminated.
My rivers flow of blood and my mountains have turned into graveyards.
My houses have turned to rubble,
And my streets have turned to orphanages.
Yet I will not surrender.
I make flower pots out of grenades that they fire,
And houses from abandoned tanks.
Their weapons don’t scare me, yet my rocks destroy their souls.
Do you see why they’re so scared?
Our infants are born strong, fighting for their life.
Our elders die leaving legacies behind.
Our women raise generations better than any army ever will.
Our sons guard us with their lives leaving behind all their dreams and goals.
Our daughters say goodbye to their lovers not knowing if they will ever see them again, yet smile and stay strong, showing their support through it all.
I am Palestine,
The land of martyrs and heroes;
The land that will not surrender.
I am Palestine, your source of freedom.
By Hoda Saeid
Hoda is a social work student with a strong passion for justice in Palestine.