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Child of war

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
of soldiers.

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.

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