Frustrations of the Comfortable

PART I: Spoken Word Piece inspired by “On the Brink of… for Rachel Corrie” by Suheir Hammad 

Imagine being under intense political conflict for generations, to the point phrases like human rights and morality become meaningless and laughable.

Imagine being told of but denied individual rights and freedoms, because the oppressors and their friends have claimed your land as their own before you even had the chance to breathe.

Imagine if the sound of bombs far away brings relief, because your family can rest easy – one more second – until you realize that death in one place does not ensure life in another, for you and the stranger whose heart just stopped a moment ago are staring at the same bullet-ridden horizon, one that seems to get closer and closer every time.

Now, imagine trying to imagine this reality in the comfort and security of home: Gaza ruins versus Calgarian skyscrapers. The contrast of our worlds reminds us  – once again – of our comfortable existence. We cannot possibly be there for these people through a 2D screen. We can not feel the wind of buildings crashing to the floor and then rush into the ruins and to pull people out. We can not give solace to a crying child on the streets of Gaza because her father, who had once wrapped his arms around her body when the bombs fell nearby, is dead, and she will forever remember how cold it was to sleep without the heat of his love centimeters from her heart.

Because of our helplessness to the powers that be, we are on the brink of submission, feeling that there isn’t anything tangible our hands can reach to bring peace into the hearts of these humans – humans, who have been on the brink of liberation since 1948.

And that is where we are wrong.

Israel Has Made a Habit Out of Bombing Gaza During RamadanBecause for them,

There are no stars, only bombs in the cosmos.

Bombs that rest in the deepest bunkers that the military can build,

only to shoot up into the sky – unforgiving.

So unforgiving, in fact, that they are released during the holiest month of the Muslim calendar.

During Ramadan, parched tongues wait to sit with family and break fast

with dates and water.

Yet, Palestinians are met with

water canons and sound bombs

Have you seen my brother’s daughter?

36 rockets fired from Gaza

This man needs a doctor!

protests in Sheikh Jarra

that journalists refuse to cover.

Rubber bullets for iftaar and

civilians seriously injured for


Tomorrow My Family and Neighbors May Be Forced From Our Homes by Israeli Settlers | The Nation

Armies say they fight for good, GOD knows,

They say “War is peace,” but Orwell knows,

that in a 1984 world, politicians say,

“This is not political,” only to draw borders where they are not needed and

split families and finances between deception and death – only to

catalyze conflict until, we, the people, and we, the tortured, are on the brink of…

On the brink of what?

Palestine has been on the brink of crisis since 1948.

Yet in 2021 they wake to airstrikes on Eid.

On the brink of what?

Kamala says “I pledge to you the Biden-Harris administration will sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

On the brink of what?


Palestinians are on the brink of destruction as a nation but 

Palestinians have learned to smile through the

handcuffs of international policy

teeth shining like stars in the cosmos and 

eyes staring straight into the camera

at us.

Smiling While Being Arrested — Young Palestinians Resist Israeli Protest Suppression - YouTube

Through our screens, they remind us that we can

be there for them when our hearts lock in a promise to

defend what is right.

The killing of little children in Gaza is not right.


We, the people,

have a duty to express dissent,


catalyze massive unrest so that

stars in the night sky are simply

stars in the night sky.

So that children of the next generation only experience wars as bed-time stories,

forgotten by the next morning, in the comfort and protection of home.

We are on the brink of a needle pin,

on the brink of giving Palestinians a chance to breathe after years of suffocation.

We are on the brink of discovering how beautiful human beings can be.

With this piece, I attempted to emulate Hammad’s prose-like poetry and literal language. Her poem, “On the Brink of…for Rachel Corrie” was a tribute to Corrie’s support for the Palestine conflict in the early 2000’s. I was inspired by the line, “There were no stars, only bombs in the cosmos,” to write about how bombs ruin the lives of civilians. Hammad discusses extensively in her poem how war is not natural and politicians using it as a way to justify conflict is unacceptable. She speaks from her roots, while I speak from the viewpoint of an observer – both are needed to keep our politicians accountable and our world citizens safe.


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