Aleppo.

My mother is a history teacher,
and I was a sixth grader when
she first told me about the World Wars.
Now, as a twelve year old,
blissfully unaware of the crises of the world,
this was a revelation because

I could not understand, however hard I tried,
how anyone could watch and simply see people
killing other people.

Six years later,
desensitized to terrorism
and having learnt the ways of the world,
I realize how wrong I was,
believing that I would never ever be
one of those who could stand see war
tear apart countries.

I have been witnessing a genocide
in Syria for most of my adult life,
and reading the final goodbyes of people
in Aleppo over Twitter today,
never have I been more ashamed
of my own existence.

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Children Of War

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I wish I could pack my bags and leave;
to hug every sobbing child out there,
the thousands of Omrans’ who sit in rescue cars and ambulances
too shocked to know from where the blood
gushes down their face, too terrified, stunned
to even cry; , two, five, seven, nine year olds,
rescued from under the rubble
of five storied buildings, silently
wiping their hands on the seat of the vehicles.

I wish I could reassure them all
that there are people who love them,
that there is a world in which buildings don’t
topple like house of cards, and where
the sounds of winds and clouds are heard,
more often that the sounds of bombs and bullets;
that trees are not always coated with dust and dirt;
that you can watch  movie, you can take a walk
and return, return to your house, not vanish on the way.

I wish I could tell them that the skies,
they are blue, not black from the smoke
the bombs create; that sometimes,
the earth moves and you can see the sunrise;
that at night, it’s not always light
from the rescue operations; and no, not
everyone who looks at you will point a gun at you;
that sometimes, the house will shake
because the earth shakes and not because
something is going up in flames, yet again.

But who am I to say that to them-
to the children of war- who’ve-not trained-
but rather, learnt to shake like a leaf when the skies rumble
day and night, and not a single drop of rain falls;
who’ve learnt that death will always be accompanied
by a broken limb, and  blowed-out brains, and
coated in red, the color of the sun at a sunset
they’ve never seen? Who am I to break their
perfect view of the world in which cancer is
unheard of and AIDS does not exist?

Who am I to tell them that they can dream of a world
without war, a world like one in which I live, where the
problem is the rise in the price of potatoes and not
that my father won’t return for the potato curry dinner,
where the problem is the termite in my house
or the lack of drinking water and not that my house
might get bombarded, and my loved ones killed,
where the problem is the in living and not in surviving-
but who am I to tell them that, to the children of war-
when I was the one who created it?

Boom!

Blithely, I count the purchases on my hand, and feel a rush of excitement
To prepare food for the party at my father’s retirement.
He doesn’t have a clue, I grin with glee,
He will be so happy, we will all see.
A full roast of pork, and the succulent gravy- Boom, boom!
Something blasts, sending shards of metal and glass across the room
The image of my father’s face burned into my memory
And the thought of how his party will happen at the cemetery.

Promise, I did not want to go to the concert, and I did tell my friends.
They persuaded, knowing little that it would bring our end.
And yet, I proceeded, to make them happy.
Not wanting to abandon my friends and then be crappy.
I called my boyfriend’s cell phone and told him of my plans.
He said he’s sick. He did not know it then,
That we had said our ‘I love you’s, our last time it would be
As one of us would be dead before the nocturnal hour in the city of intimacy.

Please, I don’t wish to go,” I begged with my mother to let me skip,
My school, for once in my life, and of course she flipped.
“No, you must go,” she insisted for I had my religion exam today,
And she had painstakingly listened to Prophet’s sermons yesterday.
“Don’t kill, don’t betray, forgive and always be kind,”
These thoughts are going on in my mind,
As during the test, they barged into the room and opened fire in our school (and hearts),
I wish my mother had listened to me from the start.

Mum said to send her pictures of the sea from the hotel roof,
With myself in it, and the lovely evening; I’d agreed, appearing aloof.
Fulfilling her wishes, I was descending to the lobby
Of the hotel, to visit the Gateway next to the Sea,
When I heard the loud noise just across the hall,
And felt myself collapse of the floor with each one and all.
There is something wrong, I feel palpable in the air,
I lose consciousness as I see my mum call on the local number here.

My new job is in the country that hosted the famous Tomatina, 
The first time I am abroad from my home country of Argentina.
I was enchanted and delighted as I stepped in the commuter train
Not exploring the capital city would’ve rendered my visit, vain.
I glanced left and right and in and out and up and about,
And in my occupation, was unaware and didn’t hear what the others doubted.
Suddenly I saw some panic and some people shouted, something had happened,
I was flung to the floor, something on my leg had me shackled.

The entire world sits tensely, for once in solidarity,
As the cries of the wounded and the killed echoes through the air.
We just sit and take in the live news, in horror and in pity,
We sit in front of our screens and stare.
As a thousand lives are destroyed, and they leave a stain,
That refuses to fade away with time; only darkens again,
when something similar happens and we are all dumbfounded,
paralyzed into action, since we and our loved ones are safe and counted.
Yes, there is fear, and there is rage, and yes there is pain for those whose lives have altered,
forever, and nothing can ever bring them to even remotely normal,
we can all pray for them lives and pray for the world,
and pray for the monsters that we have nurtured.
Or we can take a stand and remember to fight,
against what is wrong, and for the right.
We can raise and voice and we can make a change,
in ourselves by making our humanity resurface again,
In spite of the fear and the doubt, we shall fight
Against our blood, united for once, for the right.

Hope.

Source: Humans OF New York
Source: Humans Of New York

We put out our homes- those rolled up bedding
Made of ragged clothes, torn paper, and damp cardboard.
Hopefully, things will be better where we are heading,
Leaving behind our homes, our jobs, our Ford.
Till now, our feet have swollen and are sore,
From walking uncountable miles, to destinations unknown.
Beaten, bullied, tortured to the core,
It’s sufferings that our eyes will shine and have shone.
We fight for a can of water and a morsel of bread,
And there’s hardly any fire to keep us warm,
Hearts went cold from when we saw the river red
Wet the streets used to the dry desert storms.
Memories of all the war grapple us like crabs
Our dreams and nightmares, all woven into one.
You peer in curiosity at the wounds that haven’t even dried yet-scabs.
Relating what we have gone through will leave you stunned.
We come and go, all scarred faces,
We come to strange lands to escape our owns
We come overladen in boats that run in races,
Some of us also drown in the sea lie stones.
Then we may wash up on the sea and you will be horrified,
To see the state the world have come to.
To see brothers kill brothers, to see friends who’ve died,
To see those who have suffered and those who got through.
We may not have a future and we have eradicated our past,
There is not much we can do for our dears.
We are broken and helpless and tired and wouldn’t last
If it weren’t for the hope that’s greater than fear.