Seven Palestinian Children

CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION WITH CARYL CHURCHILL

 

by Deborah S. Margolin

 

 

SEVEN PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

a play for the other

 

 

1

Don’t kiss him.

Kiss him.

Kiss him but don’t kiss him while his father is looking.

Tell him what a brave boy he is.

Tell him you love him.

Tell him how big and strong he is becoming.

Tell him his father loves him.

Tell  him one day he will fight alongside his father.

Don’t tell him.

Tell him they moved into our house.

Tell him the house was full and big with doors large and small and with windows like paintings.

Show him the picture of the tree with the blossoms that smelled like beautiful women.

Show him the key to our house that’s still in his father’s pocket.

Don’t show him.

Show him his father’s gun.

Don’t.

Tell him all the people they killed will be happy.

Tell him the dead will be happier than they were before, even babies.

Tell him Death is sweet.

Don’t tell him.

Never tell him that.

Let his Uncle tell him.

Show him your face. Let him touch your hair.

Don’t let him.

Tell him to be brave. Tell him certain deaths are an honor to die.

Tell him he won’t die.

Tell him it is an honor.

Give him something to eat.

 

2

Help him think.

Make him laugh.

Tell him to think of words backwards while he waits with his grandma in this line.

Tell him not to pat the dog because it looks hungry. It looks sick.

It looks very sick.

Tell him to play with his rocks and his sticks.

Tell him time will play rocks and sticks with him.

Tell him he will not always have to play with rocks and sticks. n>

Give him some water.

Tell him not to drink too much.

Tell him not to be afraid.

Tell him to look at the ground when our time comes at the front of the line.

Tell him not to talk.

Tell him to smile and say shalom.

Help him practice: shalom! shalom! shalom haverim, shalom!

Tell him it doesn’t matter, tell him not to cry.

Don’t make him say shalom.

Don’t make him say it.

Don’t ever make him say it.

Don’t ever make him say it.

 

 

3

 

Tell him tents are like homes that are in bathing costumes

Tell him tents are like homes that dance!

Tell him the walls dance

Tell him it’s fun

Tell him we are having fun

The way we live

Tell him

Tell him it is free, to feel the hot wind this way, through the walls

Tell him in a real house the walls can’t dance

Don’t tell him that

Tell him we’ll go home one day

Tell him one day we’ll go home

Don’t tell him where home is

Don’t tell him who sleeps in his grandfather’s room

Tell him we are wanted everywhere – his home is everywhere

We live in a tent with walls that dance

We can’t stay still!

Tell him it’s a game

Don’t frighten him

Don’t tell him anything about home

Teach him the word in Hebrew: Bayit

Home

Home

Ani Babayit

I am Home

I am Home

I am Home

 

 

 

4

Tell him about

Jerusalem

Tell him they live there now

e=3 style=”font-family: Times New Roman;”>Tell him we can’t live there now

Tell him we can work there

Don’t tell him that. Tell him they don’t clean our streets

Tell him about his Grandfather’s gun

Tell him it now belongs to him

Tell him about his father

Teach him to say goodbye to his father

Teach him not to cry

Teach him crying is not for men

Don’t tell him who they are

Tell him they cannot stay here anymore

Tell him his father will send them back

Then he will bring us home

Tell him not to cry

Tell him it is a happy time

Tell him to be happy

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

Tell him we won

Tell him his big brother is a hero

Tell him his brother is a martyr

Tell him how many people his brother brought to justice

Tell him his brother lives in glory

Tell him how proud his father is

Tell him we will live in glory

Tell him they are coming with gifts for us

Tell him to be proud of his brother

Tell him he will see his brother and father in glory

Tell him they don’t understand anything except violence.

 

6

 

Don’t tell him

Don’t tell him the trouble I had to give him life

Don’t tell him

Tell him it is an honor for a woman to labor

Tell him he grew in me, that his limbs are sacred to me

Tell him his mother does not grieve for him

Tell him she is proud of him

Tell him his fingers, his lips, his smooth skin are precious to me

Don’t tell him

Don’t tell him the feeling I had to bring him to my breast

Don’t tell him what it looked like to see the shroud

Don’t tell him I didn’t know him anymore

Tell him I know him

Tell him I know where he’s gone

le=”font-family: Times New Roman;”>Tell him I know

 

 

7

 

Tell him

Tell him they have killed our neighbors

Tell him

Tell him the old woman and her family, all dead

Tell him the child he played with, the one who had the ball the Israeli soldier gave him

Tell him the child is dead

Tell him the ball is gone

Don’t tell him

Make something up

Tell him his friend is dead and the ball is gone

Tell him the mother who smelled like orange blossoms is dead

Tell him she won’t sing for him any more

Tell him the child’s father and brother are dead

Don’t you dare

Don’t you dare

Don’t tell him any of this

Tell him I’m tired

Tell him I’m bone tired

Tell him his father and brother are dead

Don’t tell him that

Tell him they went to get jobs

Tell him they are working

Tell him I’m too old. Tell him I don’t care any more. Tell him I’d send a rocket if I could I don’t want to care anymore. Tell him he is homeless tell him there is nothing to eat. Tell him his father and brother died hungry. Tell him the baby died. Tell him what it is for a mother to see her baby die and have nothing to feed him. Tell him the people who died in the cafes died with their bellies full. Don’t tell him. Tell him the world hates the jews and has always hated them. Tell him there’s a reason when people hate, when people hate there’s always a reason. Tell him everything happens for a reason, tell him his mother believes that everything happens for a reason, tell him his mother knows this his mother loves him tell him I do it for him he will be taken care of now

 

Tell him to come home

Tell him to look under the shroud

Don’t frighten him

Tell him his mother loves him

Tell him to come home

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