To the Editor

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    Having just passed through the holidays into a new year, it’s time to think with our hearts as well as our heads. When we look at our world, how do we feel? What do we understand? 

    We must speak out against wrong doing. We are creating the future now. This poem by Hanan Mikha’il ‘Ashrawi, almost four years old, brings it home. 

    This world is our home, the only one we have. These are our children. And the young men and women, the soldiers, the combatants on all sides, are our children, as well. We must change our history of violence and make peace in order to save the future.

    From the Diary of
    Hanan Mikha’il ‘Ashrawi

     
    Tomorrow, the bandages
    will come off. I wonder
    will I see half an orange,
    half an apple, half my
    mother’s face
    with my one remaining eye?
     
    I did not see the bullet
    but felt its pain
    exploding in my head.
    His image did not
    vanish, the soldier
    with a big gun, unsteady
    hands, and a look in
    his eyes
    I could not understand.
     
    If I can see him so clearly
    with my eyes closed,
    it could be that inside our heads
    we each have one spare set
    of eyes
    to make up for the ones we lose.
     
    Next month, on my birthday,
    I’ll have a brand new glass eye,
    maybe things will look round
    and fat in the middle –
    I’ve gazed through all my marbles,
    they made the world look strange.
     
    I hear a nine-month-old
    has also lost an eye,
    I wonder if my soldier
    shot her too – a soldier
    looking for little girls who
    look him in the eye –
    I’m old enough, almost four,
    I’ve seen enough of life,
    but she’s just a baby
    who didn’t know any better. 
     
    Quoted with permission from The Flag of Childhood, poems from the Middle East, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
     
    With concern, Sara and Jay Bremyer
    McPherson, Kan.

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