Sumud

by Mark Chmiel

Another sunny Ramadan morning in Rafah
We head out to meet some people in Block J
It, too, had been battered during Israel’s Operation Root Canal
A few weeks before we internationals arrived

We attract the attention of rambunctious kids
Whose idea of fun is playing
Amidst the rubble of Rafah
That used to be some people’s homes

A middle-aged man approaches us
He doesn’t have much to say to us, just this:
“Even if they want to destroy the house over my head
I will not leave…

I will die here”

Rafa, Gaza, Palestine; November 2003

Rafa, Gaza, Palestine; November 2003

Sumud: state of perseverance
Samid = the steadfast, the persevering, masculine form
Samdeh = feminine form
Samidin = plural
–Raja Shehadeh, The Third Way: A Journal of Life in the West Bank

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