Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Water in Gaza

By MEL FRYKBERG (Middle East Times)

More than 1.4 million Gaza Palestinians are facing an impending health disaster from decaying sewage and water systems that lack vital spare parts, fuel, and maintenance work, due to an Israeli economic siege on the Gaza Strip.

"We are a one-generator-failure away from disaster," Michael Bailey, an Oxfam spokesman, told the Middle East Times.

"The situation is verging on critical. There are 35 sewage pumping stations operational in Gaza. If one of the pumps breaks there is no way to replace it, because of a lack of spare parts," said Bailey, whose organization works with Gaza's Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities. "This would mean sewage backing into homes and onto the streets and the resulting health problems associated with it."

the topic of Israel is so big and complicated.
the topic of war.
the topic of ownership of reparations of belonging of slavery. of what one person can do to another. about how homes and bones and lives are turned to dust one generation after another...

May the people of Gaza be safe. May the people of Gaza be happy.
today even the prayer seems like blasphemy.
that there is war is a tragedy unlike any other.
that what little water we have should be soiled by war
as if the poison from the gas chambers still prevented our breath...
prevents our breath still.


by Czeslaw Milosz

Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun,
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.

Berkeley, 1968

Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Pinsky

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