Lipika Bhargava : Naho Taruishi

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May 31,  2024

As the initial point of our collaborative departure, each of us responds to the poem by Refaa Alareer, a Palestinian writer, poet, professor and activist. He was deliberately targeted and killed by the Israeli airstrike while sheltering at his house in Gaza on December 6, 2023.

by Refaat Alareer

If I must die,
you must live
to tell my story
to sell my things
to buy a piece of cloth
and some strings,
(make it white with a long tail)
so that a child, somewhere in Gaza
while looking heaven in the eye
awaiting his dad who left in a blaze–
and bid no one farewell
not even to his flesh
not even to himself–
sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above
and thinks for a moment an angel is there
bringing back love
If I must die
let it bring hope
let it be a tale

Lipika Bhargava

To tell the tale, to embody it
To become you, to understand 
To understand, to see 
To see clearly, to see clearly 
How do I tell the tale if
I don’t see clearly 
What will it take for me to see clearly?
A story behind every name
Every statistic 
Day after day, video after video 
Dreams vanished, burnt 
I see but I don’t see 

It is too much to bear 
Too much to articulate 
“Oh then I have to articulate
my entire being” 

My entire being

So why don’t you?
What’s stopping you?

What’s the red line? 

How do we reach the white cloth? 
Hug it and cry for days and months 
Are you not human?

All the tears dried up, there is a flame 
that is burning inside 
A fire that melted innocence
A genocide
And you still see and do nothing. 

So what will it take to wake up
from this deep slumber?
To tell the tale 
We have to be awake 
To be awake, we have to constantly 
Remind ourselves 
A meditation on reality 

A red reality 
Of white supremacy 
Supremacy of every kind  
deeply interwoven 

A continuous movement of learning 
I’m learning to not fear 
To act even when there is fear 
Fear that has developed over years 
I hold that fear 
But the fear will go away 
You will learn to ignore it 
Courage in the face of death 
Palestinians are freeing us
We have nothing to lose 
but our chains  

Naho Taruishi

Naho Taruishi, Fragments 1, 2, 2024, Graphite, pastel, and ink on paper, 4 x 3 inches (Work in progress) 

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