Kalima
The soul of my soul

The soul of my soul

Artwork: Zakiya R

You are far from me. Around three thousand five hundred and ninety-seven kilometres away.

You are teeming with life. With heart. With love.

So much love.

But. You are bleeding. Heavily.

You’re drowning in rivers of red.

Thick. Oozing. Metallic. Cold.

I can see it. So clearly. So painfully.

I see it every day.

You don’t want to bleed. To shed blood. Mountains of it.

You don’t want to hear the screams of grief

fill the lungs of the people you so cherish.

You don’t want to watch your green grounds

burn to ash grey.

Your buildings oliterated to mere piles of

debris and rubble.

You don’t…you really don’t

want to see

a hand

an arm

a limb

peek through

these perilous layers

of gray.

I know it pains you. To see the piles of the

freshly wrapped corpses

pile atop

another freshly wrapped

pile

of corpses,

concealing empty faces

of people you knew

to live

to laugh

to dance

to sing

to joke

to smile

to take their first steps atop the grainy soil

of your land…

of their home.

But you know. So fiercely. So ardently.

That the love of your people for you

will never die.

No matter how many you lose. No matter how many you bury. No matter how many homes schools churches mosques universities hospitals flatten and dissolve within you.

They will remain with you.

I know this.

As I sit

around three thousand five hundred and ninety-seven kilometres away from you

watching through the screen of my phone

a son

fiercely declare his buried mother

a “martyr”

while in the same breath say he is fine and there is nothing wrong with him

having no time to grieve.

As I sit, listening

To a grandfather

gently, softly,

without a single tear travelling down his face

say his granddaughter

“is the soul of my soul”

His granddaughter

who he cradles in his arms

her hair in two ponies

her body eerily still.

As I sit, crying

with a girl no more than ten

sobbing for her father

who no longer remains by her side

as she covers her grief

with her small palm

her face wearied and drained

the blue necklace around her neck

dainty and delicate

just like her.

You are strong. You are courageous. You are beautiful. You are full.

You are bleeding. You are burying. You are grieving. You are screaming.

But you are not dying.

SubhanAllah.

I know this. The entire Ummah knows this.

We feel this within us so deeply.

Because while one grieves,

while one lets go

while one buries

their mother

father

son

daughter

grandfather

grandmother

grandson

granddaughter

friend

husband

wife

baby

baby

baby

another says ‘Alhamdulilah’.

Another cries “they’re martyrs!”

Another screams “we are Gaza!”

Another. Smiles.

They know

and you know

and I know

that another home awaits for them.

Spilling with life. With heart. With love.

So much incredible gorgeous peaceful love.

And that those who they have lost. Are watching over us.

Listening to us. Smiling at us.

From above.

But they return to that home

having fought for you

having cried for you

having died

for you.

They love you. So much.

I love you. So much.

And we will never

let you die.

“I will remain steadfast on my land until the last drop of my soul, until my last breath…then I will be buried in my land, buried under the house plants…Palestinian children don’t abandon her. As the song says: my blood is Palestinian blood. And me, my blood is Palestinian blood.’

a little girl, no more than ten, from Gaza (source: @eye.on.palestine)

Assalamu Alaikum, 

I’m Fatimah, a 22 year old living in East London. Just like you, I have been deeply affected by what we see every day in Palestine, but I’ve managed to find some small form of sanctuary in writing. 

I wrote this poem during a poetry workshop I attended recently. The theme chosen for the workshop was ‘love’, and all I could think about was the love of the Palestinians for their land and their people, and how despite the endless grief they endure, they still choose to remain in their homeland. SubhanAllah. The title of this poem, ‘The Soul of My Soul’, is quoted directly from the purest love that shattered us all: the love of the gentle, kind-hearted grandfather, Khaled, for his beautiful granddaughter, Reem. We have lost courageous, talented, kind people to an oppressive, brutal state. Yet the Palestinians consistently stand tall in their faith in Allah, just as we see with Khaled, teaching us resilience, affection and strength in the most awful environments. 

The background of my phone is Refaat Alareer’s final poem before he was targeted and killed by an Israeli airstrike. The poem begins with three lines which motivates me to use my pen as a voice for the Palestinians: If I must die/you must live/to tell my story. 

May we live to share the stories of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, their stories of grief, their stories of love, their stories of courage, and their stories of Iman (Faith).

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