Wednesday, January 14, 2015



In my 1979 grade 5 playground
10 year old Lebanese boy
Haysam M_____
Stands unmoving
Facing a large crowd of kids
Shouting abuse and racial slurs
His face unreadable

The crowd of kids facing Haysam
Are all Anglo of
One sort or another
We attend Christian
Religious studies together
Their parents take most of them to the
Church next door on Sundays

Haysam’s younger sisters
One in grade three
The other grade one
Cower behind him seeking
Shelter from the abuse
The youngest holds the
Tail of his shirt
And cries


In the intervening years between the
First incursion in 1990 and the
Second in 2003
America continue to bombard Iraq
Including depleted nuclear material
In their armaments
Cancer, once an infrequent anomaly
Now diagnosed in thousands of
Children per year

In an act of terrorism
Attributed to an Islamic extremist group
Two buildings are brought down in
New York on 11 September 2001
Causing outcry and hysteria
Around the western World


10 year old Haysam M_____ stands
Immobile and resolute
Shielding his sisters facing a crowd
Shouting vilifications
The implications of which
They are too young to understand
The only sign of tension
In his young body his arms
Held straight at his sides
Fists clenched

Outcast myself
In my 1979 grade 5 playground
I do not stand with the abusers
But fearing further ostracism
And violence
Neither do I stand at the side
Of Haysam M_____