I am Gaza. I am Palestine. I am Beirut. I am Baghdad. I am Tripoli. I am Teheran. I am Tel Aviv. I am Damascus. I am damned. I am doomed.
I see death, I see destruction. I see dead people.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
I was born with the sound of a rattle in my ear. The rattle of gunfire.
I hear one loud lullaby in my head, a relentless nursery rhyme. Repeated every night. No words. No melodic tune. No bedtime tales. Just one long horror story.
My playground is a battleground. My playstation isn’t battery operated. Just a battery of tanks, a relentless battalion
I carried a gun at six. Fired my first shot at seven.
I traded my school uniform for a military one.
The black smoke clears for a moment to reveal the white clouds.
When the war stops, there is no peace. Just a ceasefire.
I am a casual casualty of war. I don’t play hide ‘n’ seek. I just hide.
I am the middle ground between nations at war.
My spirit exists in many countries. But I exist in no man’s land.
I am collateral damage.
I am a war child. Every day a new conflict, a new cause, is fought between old enemies.
But one thing stays constant. Me. The war child, the battle-scarred baby.
Today I am pulverised. I am parentless. I am Palestine.
Netanyahu, what are you? A yahoo cowboy, just letting it rip, trigger happy, a loose cannon?
And I am on a desolate island. I am dispensible.
Everytime you unleash your tanks, your TNT, your testosterone, your timeless negativity, your smogasbord of terror, I am the innocent victim.
Gadaffi, Ghazni, Hamas, Hizbullah, Mussolini, Mugabe, Kaunda, Karzai, Fazlullah, Al-Assad are all the same to me,
You want your voice to be heard, your seat in the EU, your place in the UN, everytime you fight for your land, I experience land mines, artillery, air strikes, acts of vengeance, aggression, AK 47s. A new Armageddon.
Your tyranny, your totalitarianism, your treaties, your truces, make no difference to me.
I am immune to your missiles, your mortar shelling, your maelstrom of chaos, your military show of might, your threat of martial law.
With every act of your rebellion, revolution and resistance, I am the remnant, the residue, the repurcussion.
Everytime you massacre me, I reappear.
In another country. In another crossfire of conflict.
I’m so done with your wars, and your Weapons of Mass Destruction.
I want to live, I want to love, I want to lie about, I want to laze.
I’m so done growing up before my time. And dying before I should.
I’d like to be born in a crib, a crèche, a cradle. Not be a coffin in a cemetery.
I am Gaza. I am Palestine. I am Damascus.
I’m done being damned. I’m done being doomed.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.