The clock on the wall

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

22 November 2012



My city collapsed

The clock was still on the wall

Our neighbourhood collapsed

The clock was still on the wall

The street collapsed

The clock was still on the wall

The square collapsed

The clock was still on the wall

The house collapsed

The clock was still on the wall

The wall collapsed

The clock

Ticked on


This is an Arabic poem by Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim 1939- 2014).

We publish it in homage to the inhabitants of Gaza, whose territory has been free from Israeli bombardment since a truce came into force last night following a week of aggression that claimed over 150 Palestinian lives, many of them civilians, including women and children. Five Israelis – four civilians and one soldier – are said to have died in retaliatory rocket attacks from the Palestinian side.

Samih al-Qasim is an Arab Druze with Israeli nationality. He was born in the city of az-Zarqa in northern Jordan where his father, who hailed from Rameh in Upper Galilee (then part of Palestine), was serving in the Arab Legion. Al-Qasim subsequently went to school in Rameh and at Nazareth in Lower Galilee. He is currently said to be working as a journalist in Haifa in the north of Israel.

We have taken the English translation of the poem from p. 278 of  the anthology “Poetry of Asia” edited by Keith Bosley and published by Weatherhill in 1979.


We conclude with two further references to the conflict in Gaza that has just ended – at least for the time being.

One concerns a letter in today’s London Guardian from Gerald Kaufman, a UK Member of Parliament, who is Jewish. The letter refers to an article on the conflict by Guardian columnist Seumas Milne, which appeared in the newspaper yesterday. In the quote, US President Barack Obama is referring to rocket attacks on southern Israel launched by Palestinian militants from Gaza.

“Seumas Milne…quotes Barack Obama as saying: ‘No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.’ Is this the same Barack Obama who sends streams of drones raining down on Pakistan, wantonly causing death and destruction?”


Our second reference is to a snap poll yesterday by Israel’s Channel 2 television network, which found that 70 % of Israelis did not support the truce agreed to by the country’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


The big question now is: how long will this truce last?


The poll shows the pressure that Netanyahu is under at home, while precedent in this connection is hardly encouraging.


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.





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