Remi Kanazi’s new poem talks plain truth to the denial of justice for Palestinians

This Divestment Bill Hurts My Feelings
Remi Kanazi

this divestment bill
hurts my feelings

that Caterpillar bulldozer ended life
in the body of an American citizen
drove her bones into the ground
while a company cashed in
on the sale

the claws of D-9 bulldozers
unearth the livelihood
of occupied Palestinians
uprooting their graveyards
to make way
for illegal settlements

but we need
a positive
campus climate

while HP’s stock rises on division
producing technology
to segregate Palestinians
biometric IDs at checkpoints
enhancing the naval blockade
of an open-air prison

Palestinians on campus
listen to words like climate
positive, hurt feelings
knowing their tuition
invests in companies
raining terror on loved ones

that suffering
like their voices
is nonexistent
to student board members
looking for cushy jobs
at top five law firms

but this divestment bill
it’s divisive!

the Montgomery bus boycott: divisive
the grape boycott: one-sided
abolishing slavery: radical
Nelson Mandela: a terrorist
indigenous: savages
women’s suffrage: complicated
desegregation: provocative
Hiroshima: security
internment camps: a necessity
Bantustans: autonomy
Iraq: liberation
Palestine: barren

there is always an excuse

catch phrases, talking points
strip away names and faces

we are being militant, unreasonable
there is context to this oppression

the word apartheid
makes you feel uncomfortable?

it’s apartheid by definition
fits the ’73 convention
by law
it is a crime
against humanity

two sets of laws
for two people
labor, land ownership
access to education

50 laws of discrimination
66 years of colonisation
27,000 homes demolished
nearly a million arrested
since ’67

whoa, whoa, whoa!
no one said Israel
doesn’t have problems
but why the singling out
on campuses?

you mean like
Darfur, Tibet, South Africa
sweatshops, Coca-Cola
animal testing
the Keystone Pipeline
undocumented rights
the prison industrial complex
fossil fuels, teachers’ unions
university cuts and bottled water?

the real question
why are you singling out
any injustice for protection?

let me get the next one for you
Israel is democratic

democratic like coal is clean
Miller Lite is the same
great taste, less filling
and McDonald’s salads
are healthy

these are not
imagined scenarios
our tuition dollars
are profiting from death
divestment is the next step

this is not about
a nation or a people
but what is being done
to people
in our names
with our currency

this university
will not liberate anyone
but it can choose to cease
making a buck off misery

vote yes for divestment
no to appeasement

affirming injustice
isn’t positive
for any climate

Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) is a poet, writer, and organiser based in New York City. He is the author of the newly released collection of poetry Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine. He is also the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine and the editor of Poets For Palestine.

This is part of a special series called Apartheid 2.0, which The Daily Vox is running this month in partnership with Al Jazeera’s Palestine Remix.

Featured image by Saffiyah Patel

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