Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do


The belief that peace could be sustained in the world was greatly shaken once again in July when still another war between Israeli's Defence Force and Hamas started and which left after 50 days of fighting over 2000 Palestinians dead, 67 Israelis (four civilians) killed and so many more wounded and traumatized by war on both sides. However, it has also to be said that the civilian population in Gaza suffered disproportionately more as over 70 000 houses were destroyed and nearly one third of the population displaced. They had to seek refuge in UN shelters where they were not always safe since even these well marked places of refuge came under attack.


Even before the Israeli Defence Forces started their incursion into Gaza on July 17th, the World Poetry Movement issued the following declaration:


Declaration of World Poetry Movement for Palestine


Man of my time you are still that one of slingshot and stone


May we ask: Genocide once again? Or: it is again Sabra and Shatila? Maybe it is even worst: all this is the ongoing of genocide, some kind of Sabra and Shatila that never ends. Hasn’t be enough of tolls, seals, barbed wire, walls that would remember the great genocide of XX Century XX?

They have transformed Palestine in a ghetto: What follows is extermination, the Final Solution? What was finished in 1944 and what had begun in 1948?

We cannot admit it; we reject the silence face to the ongoing of an aggression that we do not accept as unending.

While World Poetry Movement brings forward 500 global actions for Global Peace in more than 50 countries of the Planet this month of July, the State of Israel call up 40,000 reservists in order to persuade them kills the Palestinian people.

And that blood smells alike to that one of the day when the brother 

Told the other brother: Let’s go to the field”

No more! The World Poetry Movement reject and repudiate this new but ancient aggression against Palestinian People, and convokes in a yearn and forthright way to speak out for the peace of the World. “


Coordinating Committee of World Poetry Movement

Fernando Rendón, director of Medellin International Poetry Festival, Alternative Nobel Prize 2006.

Rati Saxena, director of International Poetry Festival of Krytia, India.

Juan Manuel Roca, Colombian Poet. 


Once this declaration was made, there came different responses by poets around the world, one of them being by Amir Or, poet in Israel.



Dear brothers,

This is a terrible time for the people of our region, a region which cries out for healing.

I was sorry in my heart to read these talk about genocide, ghetto and extermination.

Everywhere, and more so in our region which is in dire need of love, false statements breed only more hate.

No hate is ever removed by hate. Love alone can remove it.


Amir Or

Note: This letter was written only two days before the Israeli Defence Forces started their incursion on the ground into Gaza on 17.07.2014

In “search for peace”, Amir Or examines the meaning of 'Togetherness' not merely between Israelis and Palestinians, but amongst Israelis themselves. His poem allows one to imagine standing with other Israelis at a bus stop. It seems that uneasiness is written over many faces of those waiting. They do not know if the stranger standing beside them can really be trusted. That mistrust or insecurity goes further than merely skin deep, since it can never be known if one of them is a suicide bomber ready to take everyone near him down while he also sacrifices his life for some cause. Fanaticism is virulent in a world where beliefs matter more than strong words of human reason.

So what would a real change have to look like if to alter something in situations ruled by all kinds of extremism? For one, if a poem allows putting oneself in the place of the other and ask what would one do if born in Israel and not in Gaza, then some empathy may make possible a delicate dialogue with the other.

A dialogue does need a prior an agreement, safe to overcome silence as negative resistance. It is only when realizing that all of us are born out of silence as potential poets, then words will matter. For words have a way to show a common human destiny prevails since there is always this longing for a true love, and likewise the fear the shadow may grow larger than what can be faced. This is the case when war looms on the horizon. Already in Ancient Greece historians observed a correlation between a change in the weather and an approaching disaster.

Thus if human compassion is to prevail people have to be brought together they way they used to gather around an open fire and listen to the one who could tell such stories which manage to capture the imagination of everyone. Homer narrated things in a way that he bestowed upon everyone confidence. This is needed again today, so that war can be overcome and peace a self understanding shared by all. It would have to be an all inclusive concept of peace, and not the kind of schizophrenic one with one part of humanity bleeding, while another part enjoys life in luxury and seemingly oblivious of what others have to go through at the same time.

Amir Or addresses still something more when he responds to the declaration, for he states that the use of such a term as 'genocide' adds fuel to hate when love as only solution is needed. Certainly poets should be careful what terms they use to designate a political position. Only when they avoid over exaggeration and are truly to the point, then they begin to show a human understanding for those in conflict. Like the term 'Fascism', 'Holocaust', also 'genocide' has a specific meaning. We think immediately of Rwanda and know what is meant by this massive killing of an ethnic group. Definitely the occupation policy followed by Israel is brutal and the death more than 2000 civilians inexcusable, but it is not genocide but something in need to be given new terms if the world is to understand really what is going on in Gaza and the Middle East.

Likewise of interest is that Amir Or would challenge the position Tuku took by comparing Israel with South Africa when still ruled by the apartheid regime. He thinks that is not comparable with what Israel faces in the Middle East. Consequently if something is to change, then the way analogies are used to make a point as a moral judgement should serve but the purpose of outright condemnation. That would exceed the need for political analysis in order to know what difference can be made compared to what had not been learned in the past.

Still, bishop Tuku believes Israel will only stop the inhuman treatment of Palestinians especially at the border crossings under Israeli control when the world boycotts Israel while internally a group of capable men and women do put their heads together to ensure a peaceful transition. It would already mean an end to an 18 year old Israeli soldier being able to humiliate a Palestinian family by ordering to stay put in the car with the windows closes, and this in the middle of the day when a scorching sun boils up the heat inside the car, and all this while the soldier takes his time to check their the papers inside a guard house with a cooling system functioning. At times such little acts aiming to humiliate is what adds up in the long run to grievances piling up in silence until one day they boil over and only for outsiders it comes to a sudden revolt. Yet these uprising happen because Palestinians cannot take it any more. It is like a rabbit being chased by dogs and which suddenly faces its perpetrators rather than run any further.

Indeed, poets and all other people should contribute towards such a turning around to face violence but with the art of saying 'no' to violent actions. Such human reasoning is best done by finding the right words which can sober up the other. For words which touch people and make possible self critical reflections will allow a realization what is really happening.

Naturally it is much more difficult to face a tank driver on the ground and to persuade him not to drive the tank on. There was this brave peace activist from the USA who did not budge and was then run over and killed by an Israeli tank. The incidence reminds what the Palestinian poet Darwish who said all along, namely that Israeli soldiers risk to make tanks into their permanent homes. If the case, then it would underline the fact that Israelis have not managed as of yet to really settle down, and this can only mean one thing, namely to live in peace with their neighbours, the Palestinian people. Consequently some lessons can be derived from Ancient Greek poets who pondered about what moral rules everyone should follow as part of a good neighbourhood policy. It would have to mean the trust that the doors of the own home can be left open so that anyone can come in at any time and be welcomed as expected, equally unexpected guest. And did not Andre Malraux say it that we are all just guests passing by in this life on earth?

Hatto Fischer


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