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    IFLAC is a voluntary Association that strives for peace by building bridges of understanding and peace through culture, literature and communication. IFLAC is founded and directed by Egyptian-born Israeli writer Ada Aharoni (Ph.D), since 1999.


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    Poem of the Month, August 2011

     

    GUNS AND VEGETABLES: MARKET DAY IN HEBRON

    By Susan Evangelista (1997)

    I am just a simple woman
    From a small village in the Philippines
    Where we have a market only twice a week:
    Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    I go there to buy vegetables,
    And a few shrimps to cook with them,
    Sometimes a bit of meat.
    (I raise my own chickens
    And they give me eggs too.)
     
    I like to market:
    I buy shrimps from my friend Lina –
    Her husband is a fisherman.
    I know the women who sell greens too,
    And always stand chatting with them.
    They usually have news from other towns.
    I find out who is getting married
    And whose baby has come.
    And I return home feeling
    That Life is full.
     
    I wonder what it is like
    To be a Jewish settler woman
    And to go to the market in Hebron
    With an Israeli soldier beside me
    With a gun.
    Could I enjoy a friendly chat?
    Could I endure the hostile gaze,
    The sullen thrust of merchandise for money?
    Could there be any bargaining?
    Would the exchange include friendly information?
    Could I meet the vendor’s eye?
     
    I suppose I would get good prices that way
    And surely spend less time.
    But no woman wants to market like that
    In a marketplace with ghosts of pain
    Under armed escort
    As a threat to all who go there.
     
    Israeli women, Palestinian women:
    Free them from politics, from ideologies,
    So that they may enjoy marketing
    Like normal women
    And go home again
    Feeling that life is full!

     

    This poem was first published in Horizon No. 2, IFLAC’s online magazine (1997-2002).



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