Military Targets

Military Targets

by Walidah Imarisha

They say they only bomb military targets. 
Only military targets
they coo soothingly. 
We are not terrorists, 
setting bombs
and stealing planes
and stabbing at the night
which asphyxiates and poisons. 
We have clean shirts
and clean hands
and we sterilize our instruments
before we operate. 

Israeli soldiers invaded Ramallah today. 
I only know this because a white activist told me so. 
He said
Israeli soldiers invaded Ramallah today
and I am so depressed, 
I can’t go out to dinner with you guys. 
He would rather sit in his room in silent contemplation
of a jack daniels bottle. 
I told him to remember to pour out a little liquor for our Palestinian homeys. 
He told me
my humor at a time like this
was inappropriate. 

Liberals shake their heads
and from towers of privilege
cluck the appropriate nothings
that run from their lips like diarrhea: 
It is so sad
It is a tragedy
There must be peace
We must stop the violence in the Middle East!
Which rose from…? 
like a mushroom cloud
without memory
no culpability     no anger
only depression. 

In a space where people turn their bodies into bombs
rather than have their tongues ripped asunder, 
your depression
is inappropriate. 
When the Israeli army
uses foreign journalists as target practice
to further a media whiteout, 
your depression
is inappropriate. 
When children protect their homes
against tanks, 
armed only with rocks and righteous rage, 
your depression
at a time like this
is inappropriate.

Toni Cade Bambara
depression is collaboration with the enemy. 
Then again,
you never have decided
which side you’re on. 
You better choose now
because as you keep telling me, 
we are at war. 
No middle ground.     No time for sappy sentiments. 
We are at war. 
We are at war
with terrorism-- 
Islam brown people justice self-determination freedom dissent
and don’t forget about the war on drugs. 
We’re close to winning that one soon,.
Bring our boys home
from slum streets and ghetto gaza strips
where children are
armed with rocks and glocks
and mis-directed righteous rage. 

Double speak is the word of the day, 
obscuring the difference between martyr
and murderer. 
We didn’t come here to kill
We came to die. 
Whispers ofLolita Lebron
for we are the already dead, 
slaughtered child soldiers
bullet-ridden refugees
tortured freedom fighters. 
We refuse to lie silent in our mass unmarked graves
hidden the harsh light of history. 

Trust us, 
they say. 
Give history to us, 
they say. 
Give history to our blood-stained hands
and we will purify it, 
burn it clean with our bleach. 
It’s a simple procedure, really: 
Deny the creation and you deny the occupation.
Deny the existence and the resistance.
Deny the innocent who died
and you deny the genocide.
Deny the war games
Deny the names
(they were too difficult for newscasters to pronounce, anyway).
Most of all, 
deny the guns branded u.s.a. 

If you can’t deny, 
never forget the pass word/catch word/code words
military targets
we only bomb military targets
a blip on the screen
the beat of a heart
the cry of a child
the slip of a trigger
the push of a button
the slip of a dollar
can melt a 10 year old’s decapitated body
lying in the rubble and remnants
of a ruptured hospital
into a military target.