• Wafa/Palestinian News Agency.

    “Life Line to Gaza”: A Poem by Ru Freeman

    “Does the world/ know the truth?”

    I just arrived home
    Gaza [insert heart emoji]
    I took my family to the beach
    it was lovely

    [insert no news from the US]
    [insert news from
    Electronic Intifada &
    Al Jazeera]

    I am shocked
    Thank you for asking
    [insert heart emoji]
    I am at home

    We just broke the siege [to]
    Reaffirm our right to resist
    Our right to exist

    I am in Gaza
    Gaza is strong
    Gaza is suffering

    Yes no electricity
    but we still have power
    But soon we will be out
    of electricity

    I am in Gaza
    We are fucked so far
    But we will survive

    I hope we will survive
    The human being
    is a dirty creature

    I am not sure
    if we will come out
    of all this
    Let us see

    I love you
    For asking about me
    [insert two heart emojis]

    This is today
    [insert picture of boy held
    in his father’s arms
    the boy dimples his secure]

    I left the clothes
    I left the house
    I don’t know if I
    [can/will] return
    they are talking about
    a complete demolishing
    of Gaza

    Does the world know
    the truth?
    We have the right to do
    what we have done
    To end the occupation
    To end the siege

    At the end I love Gaza

    I love my life here
    We will build Gaza

    Now as we speak
    there is an attack
    Very close
    I can’t capture it
    It is too dark

    No place to go

    Home is the safest place

    There is no safe place

    I can smell the bombing &

    [insert audio of bombing]
    [insert audio of footsteps
    shifting glass and rubble]

    They attack at night

    I don’t think
    those rallies will stop
    what is going on

    Hello World
    [insert the story of
    Ahamed Handala writing
    from occupied Palestine
    specifically, Gaza]

    [insert story of two
    children and a marriage]

    [insert story of studies abroad
    and return home to Gaza]

    [insert story of a family displaced
    in 1948 from Ashdod]

    [insert story of a family falling
    in love with Gaza]

    What did they expect
    from people living
    under siege?

    This is how we filled up
    water today

    [insert photo of people
    with plastic buckets]

    [insert video of a boy between
    two walls & his father’s voice
    saying: How are you? &
    I love you in English &
    murmuring endearments
    in Arabic]

    [insert video of
    a father’s hand reaching
    to press the cheeks
    of a son]

    There is no way to go
    We have over eighty persons
    in our family building
    They came to Rafah
    from Gaza City

    I wish I can write
    I want to write a post
    for my university in the UK
    and post it on LinkedIn

    I am sitting with my family
    Don’t worry

    They are talking
    about troop invasion
    The warplanes are hovering
    at a very low altitude

    [insert video of 150,000 souls
    marching in the streets of London]

    I hope they can stop the
    troop invasion

    I am still awake
    It is calm now
    This is so strange
    I don’t know what
    is being cooked

    [insert recipients
    new iPhone dying
    for 24 hours after last text]

    [insert the bombing
    of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital]

    [insert reports of the dead]

    [insert no reports of their names]

    I washed after two days
    It is a battle for survival
    in a dystopian world

    I am alive so far

    [insert report of statements
    of support but no support
    from a Crown Prince]

    I can’t think now too much
    This is too much for me to think about

    I am fine and my family is well
    [insert heart emoji]

    [insert well wishes from
    the Pulitzer winning author
    recently cancelled for saying
    the word Palestine]

    Thank you
    Tell him we are strong!

    [insert video of mass funeral
    the people are shouting:
    We are the people
    We will not leave this land
    until the last drop of our blood
    is gone. We are going forward
    with our resistance]

    [insert social media post
    about the speaker of this poem]

    I love you [insert heart emoji]
    I am speechless [insert heart emoji]
    I love what you wrote [insert heart emoji]

    Could you please remove the photo
    of my family? [insert two heart emojis]

    There is someone who commented
    on your post about “civilians”
    Does not this “civilian” know
    that they are living in a colonial state
    that oppresses people in another part?
    Do they not know of the suffering
    of the people of Gaza?
    What do they expect
    from those who are oppressed?
    Are they ignorant?

    This is my friend living close
    to me    He was killed
    along with his daughter & his wife

    [insert photograph of a young man
    his hair is slicked back &
    he has black wire rimmed glasses &
    he sports a neat beard. He is smiling.
    It is a selfie]

    Everything and everyone is
    a target

    Me too
    I don’t trust

    If you want to help
    help Yahya
    He is stuck &
    his home was destroyed

    I hope to stay here for long

    I am so mad
    This is insane

    Thanks for asking

    [insert video of buildings

    [insert image of buildings
    exploding &
    an arrow pointing down]

    Can you see the explosion?
    This is where I lived in Gaza City
    Thankfully I evacuated the apartment
    on the first day [insert sad face emoji]

    I saw the Congress
    They are not going to let
    humanitarian aid in?


    [insert pulsing heart emoji]

    What supplies?
    Nothing has entered yet
    Even though there are so many
    in need of them

    [insert reports of shadow
    blocking & censorship &
    cancelled events & & &]

    Yes yes I know
    they want to block the truth
    This is an existential battle for them
    so they want to destroy everything

    But this battle will go on

    I feel we are in the end of our days

    Every night they only kill children
    [insert crying emoji]

    Now they are attacking
    another hospital

    [insert text from the Director
    of Al-Quds hospital announcing
    orders to evacuate]

    Now they are attacking nearby
    as we speak
    see this

    I used to hang out on that street I love Gaza
    I miss Gaza City
    [Insert crying emoji]
    It has been two weeks

    Inshallah [insert heart emoji]
    They are attacking near
    Rafah border

    Fuck Egypt
    I swear a lot on my FB page
    about Egypt
    In another post I also said
    Fuck you Rishi Sunak

    A UN Peace-Keeping Force?
    I was thinking about this
    Gaza is the responsibility of Israel
    [insert fact: an occupying force
    is entrusted with safeguarding
    a civilian population]
    They consider Gaza as part
    of the Palestinian Authority
    though the Palestinian Authority
    has no authority over Gaza
    Egypt is complicit &
    a UNPKF is between countries

    It is just ink on papers

    [insert photo of NYT announcing
    a small load of aid from Russia]

    Fuck them

    We don’t need this stuff
    It is not enough
    For Gaza

    [insert question about a word
    the speaker of this poem used
    to say when he stayed
    in the home of the writer
    of this poem. The filler-word
    dragged out for the pauses between
    two thoughts.]

    Yani [insert smiling face emoji
    with a drop of sweat]

    I am living inside a crime
    scene I smell only death

    I just lost some of my friends
    just now [insert sad face emoji]
    My imam who taught me
    the Quoran just got killed [
    insert sad face emoji]

    Inshallah I will survive
    I believe everything
    that has happened
    is happening
    and will happen
    has already been written
    in a big book by Allah

    I am no longer afraid

    Ru Freeman
    Ru Freeman
    Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan and American writer, poet, and activist whose work appears internationally in English and in translation. She is the author of Bon Courage: Essays on Inheritance, Citizenship & A Creative Life (2023), the short-story collection, Sleeping Alone (2022), and the widely translated novels A Disobedient Girl (2009) and On Sal Mal Lane (2013), a New York Times Editor's Choice Book. She is the editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine (2015) and co-editor of Indivisible: Global Leaders on Shared Security (2018). She writes for The Guardian, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. She is a winner of the Mariella Gable Award for Fiction, and the JH Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman. She teaches creative writing in the US and abroad.

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