interrupting Siegfried Sassoon, 1917
—you can tell, can't you, hayk hatha, how the peace is the war they won. Pursuing peace has been the best excuse for making war. That peace of quelling, peace of graveyard, peace of the heaven of the carpet-bombed and altar-bled, peace of the quiet they require. Peace of the weight of chains. Peace of the drowned. Peace of those by their own lives taken. Peace of total surrender. The peace of everything stolen and nothing left to fight for or defend. Peace of evicted homes. Peace of full prisons. Peace of 23 hours in solitary. Peace of checkpoints. Peace of total surveillance. The peace of no dissent or disagreement. Peace of no payment for the workers. Peace of empty farms. Peace of full slaughterhouses. Peace of blood on the slaughterhouse floor. Peace of the empty clip and empty canister. Peace of the tank's tread. Peace of the drone's hum. Peace of the hardshelled fist, of speed and progress, of a more perfect union with the end of the baton. Peace of the long road from the locked city to the village. Peace of the smooth surface of the long wall. Peace of the sniper's perch. Peace of disappearance, peace of kidnapping, peace of trussed and gagged and
no more the din of petition and protest, no more our jokes played, our banners planted on the back of police vans, our murals covering barricades, no more our dances against an audience of riot shields. No noise of the living, noise of the resisting, noise of children chasing each other, no noise of old folks talking story. No noise of groceries delivered, medicines delivered, dinners delivered, of debts loudly cancelled and forgiven. No noise from the painters and poets and musicians, the puppetmakers and sculptors, no more our mics electrified and feasts spread. No more the insurgent sound of us tending each other, making repair, reclaiming houses, derailing train engines to run as generators, so—
RASHA ABDULHADI is a queer Palestinian Southerner who grew up between Damascus, Syria and rural Georgia and cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. Their work is anthologized in Unfettered Hexes, Halal if You Hear Me, Super Stoked, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Rasha is a member of Justice for Muslims Collective, the Radius of Arab American Writers, and Alternate ROOTS. Their chapbook who is owed springtime is available from Neon Hemlock press.