Aharon Shabtai: As We Were Marching

By Aharon Shabtai, from War & Love, Love & War
Translated from the Hebrew by Peter Cole
New Directions Books – 2010

Aharon Shabtai: As We Were Marching

Two days ago in Rafi’ah
nine Arabs were killed,
yesterday six
were killed in Hebron,
and today — just two.
Last year
as we were marching
from Shenkin Street,
a man on a motorcycle
shouted toward us:
“Death to the Arabs!”
At the Corner of Labor
opposite the Bezalel Market,
next to Braun’s
butcher shop,
and at the corner of Bograshov:
“Death to the Arabs!”
For a full year
this poem was lying
on the sidewalk
along King George Street,
and today
I lift it up and compose
its final line:
Life to the Arabs!”


To the publisher’s book page


IOA Editor: Aharon Shabtai is one of the Hebrew language’s leading poets, as well as a translator of Greek drama into Hebrew.

Shabtai is an outspoken critic of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, and of human rights violations against Palestinians. In 2006, he refused to participate in the Eizenberg Shalom International Poetry Festival in Jerusalem, writing that he opposed “an international poetry festival in a city in which the Arab inhabitants are oppressed systematically and cruelly imprisoned between walls, deprived of their rights and living spaces, humiliated in checkpoints and [in which] the international laws are violated.” In the summer of 2006 he opposed Israel’s bombing raids against Lebanon. He was married to the linguist and political activist Professor Tanya Reinhart until her death in 2007.  (from Wikipedia.)


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