Today, the world starts a three-day mourning for the victims of the Israel-authored 2009 Gaza Massacre that claimed the lives of innocent civilians, many of them children.

No one from the authors of the massacres has been made to pay. Meantime, Palestinian children are languishing inside prison walls. Their crime: they were forced to grow up too quickly to the horrors of a war without a cause committed on their parents, their relatives, their neighbors, their playmates, themselves.

Dodo is 3. He is my friend's nephew. He lives in Gaza. He can tell the difference between the sound coming from an air strike and a baby's holler. When the planes strike, he knows he must seek cover. For him and the other children in his situation, I wrote this poem inspired by news on the prosecution of young Palestinians forwarded by Dildora.

(for Dodo)

(A)n average of 9,000 Palestinians are prosecuted in two Israeli military courts in the West Bank each year, among them an average of 700 children, some of them as young as 12.
-Maan News Agency, 2 November 2009

While they were sleeping
Under covers of innocence
You abstracted their dreams
Of legends that spring from grandmothers’ laps
The smell of milk from their mothers’ breasts
The fishing trips with their fathers
Eager to see their sons grow into men
You smuggled nightmares
Into the depth of their slumbers
Screaming they awoke in the night
The lullabyes were drowned
By exploding bombs and shouts of rage
Infancy leapt past midmorning
Into the burning heat of an angry noon

Tell me: How does a three year old
Come to comprehend death
Before he knows how to count his age?
How does a boy learn to pull the trigger of a gun
Before his hand can write his name?
Why does he know the killing fields so well
But does not know how a karaoke bar looks?

I see tired old men in young boys’ gawky bodies
March slowly till they disappear inside prison walls
Shadows fading away from the wall
When the lights are turned out suddenly
Helpless without the guns thrust into their arms
By your politics strange to conscience
Victims who must suffer the guilt
Of boundless power that bloodshed never sates.

/ chyt daytec, 5nov09