Every Day

I think it’s silly that
in a world where
every day
people die senselessly
and suffer needlessly

we are afraid of
love

afraid to love
lest it be unreciprocated
or ill-fated,
truncated by circumstance
or fickle tides

afraid that love
is not what it seems
or does not exist at all,
merely desire masked by delusion
wrapped in egotistical empathy
delivered to broken doorsteps by false prophets.

And so what?

We live in a world where
every day
people die senselessly
and suffer needlessly.

The cruelty of the world
breaks my heart in a million ways
every day.

Why, today,
should I be afraid
to love?

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For Gaza

I wept
as names were read at the die-in
each one punctuated by the gong
and the alternating surges
of booming rage and crackling sorrow
trembling through the reader’s voice.

I wept
as we marched through the streets in protest
and I contemplated the abbreviated life
(twenty-two years)
behind the name I wore around my neck
(Abdelrahman Jamal al-Zamli)
in a noose of remembrance.

I wept
as I read the news of more children slaughtered
in an overcrowded refugee shelter
in the middle of the night
in violation of international law
and of all that is good in this world.

I wept
as I felt my heart swell and choke my breath
knowing that the depth of my pain
was but a mere papercut
beside the wounds of survivors
gutted by the anguish
of loved ones obliterated before their eyes
and the terror of not knowing
who will be next.

I wept
and I weep
and I lose sleep
in disbelief at this
avoidable void of humanity.

NATO Airstrike Killed 8 Afghan Civilians Yesterday

Eight Afghan civilians—a mother, father, and six children—were killed by a NATO air strike yesterday.

Well, the article says it was yesterday, anyway. But it may as well have been any other day of the week or month or year. It’s not like this is anything new or exceptional. Like always, their names are not reported. History has already indexed them as mere tally marks, etched ever closer together on a crowded death toll. What does the tally even mean anymore? It’s hard for indignation to keep up with this level of continuous atrocity. Tragedy has become the norm. What happens to humanity when inhumanity becomes commonplace?

I have cried so many tears for the victims of our wars in the Middle East. But sometimes I feel numb. I see these headlines and it just feels like déjà vu. Didn’t I already cry for these civilians? Because I do not know any of the individuals. Without names or faces or histories, I can only cry for humanity in general. And there is cause to cry for humanity every single day.

Six children were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Today, I will imagine names and faces for these children, and have my own moment of silence for their loss.