How Many Dead Kids Before Breakfast

Author with his nephew, long may he live

I'm watching my son drink water nervously. It's my water and there seems to be more backwashing than forward drinking. Then I feel nauseous, not because of that, because of all the children that aren't drinking clean water at all. Gaza is the epicenter of a global epic. The rise and fall of White Empire. It was genocide all the way up, and all the way down. Genocide is the worst because it's the killing of everything, so everything human empathetic feeling is poisoned. We also have families and homes and don't like seeing our children's heads blown off. These are not hard feelings to have. But, by Allah, these feelings are hard.

I was watching a baby girl running across the play area, crying about something. The boy next to me said he was going to hit whoever made her cry, which roused his father from his phone call. “No hitting! No hitting!” “Good fellow,” I thought to myself. Then I thought about the children that have something to really cry about. The kids whose mothers won't sweep them up and make it all right. The mothers who can't do that for their children. That's the thing about a genocide. If you have a heart, it gets you right in the heart.

Drinking water, eating food, going to the bathroom, kids need all of that stuff constantly. My kids are constantly eating, drinking, or pooping and peeing, and everything has to be clean behind the scenes. This is a difficult task when we're travelling through hotels, but it's impossible when you're refugees inside a sealed concentration camp. The mind boggles, the heart shudders, the eyes bleed. Kids always need something, and Palestinian kids are kids like yours and mine. They also have basic needs, which are denied by America's most basic bitch 'Israel'.

Above all, kids need peace. There are parents in Gaza who can't do the most simple things for their children and, worst of all, they are physically and psychologically shattered themselves. When my wife and I are even a little bit stressed it effects everything in the household. I can't imagine what these families are going through, except I can. This is the trauma America and 'Israel' have inflicted on the entire global population. These fuckers had meetings about massacres, and then meetings about the media strategy after that, and then adjusted their stock portfolios accordingly. I feel so much fury. I wish my pen was a Yassin 105, truly.

All this while my daughter was home with her grandparents. Yesterday when I ran out of snacks, I went to their great-grandparents, who will always feed them. Honestly, I think they'd like to eat them. We live in a big extended family, like Palestinians. And 'Israel' has wiped out entire families, bombing shared apartment buildings, shelling them with tanks, or sniping them in the street. No family is intact in Gaza. Every house is damaged and every household bleeds. For those left, life is a fate worse than death. The individual is a lie, and the destruction of the family is death, truly. When you lose someone close to you, you know what it feels like. Now imagine losing everyone close to you. This is a living death for the survivors. May Allah compensate them so generously, their souls are martyred already. Such terrible things are really just a reflection of every good thing in life. Palestine has held up a mirror to the world and it's ugly.

Every good thing is poisoned by this genocide, because genocide is the destruction of everything. Every moment of peace is defiled by this total war. Every little experience is bitter because you know what's underneath. Obviously I forget it all the time, I forget a lot of things all the time, being an adult is mostly forgetting. But then I remember and it all turns to ashes in my mouth. I wonder what my eyes look like now. After Dinesh Anna was murdered, his siblings' eyes never looked the same. Have mine changed? I don't look in the mirror much, besides the black mirror, constantly. And therein I see 10 people murdered before breakfast. Am I fucked up now? Aren't we all? We don't talk about it, which I agree with. I hate talking about feelings. But I still have them.

To be honest, the same genocide that is happening to Gaza was happening to Iraq and Afghanistan before, America has killed at least 4.5 million people since 2001, each of them a whole universe. Genocide is the destruction of people in whole or in part, and America has been on the warpath against Muslims since 9/11. It's been so constant that it's just become background noise, but it's a genocide by any historical definition. America has displaced over 37 million in its War Of Terror, and that's just one theatre in their horrorshow. Gaza is the end of this long genocide, not the beginning at all.

But, to be awful, I was there the whole time, and I didn't say anything. I didn't know. For most of those years I read the New York Times and Slate and watched Jon Stewart and thought I was informed. It was infernal. They missed some really important points, like the genocide that was going on the whole time. They called it Mess O'Potamia on the Daily Show and laughed. We can see it clearly now, the horror, but it was horrible back then too. Genocide was happening to 4.5 million souls during all those 'good' years, but that was buried more thoroughly than their bodies. The truth is that the White Empire was always evil, and the best liberal within it is actually your worst enemy. They waste your time, they waste your mind, and the earth turns to a wasteland while they're publishing reports. As the saying goes, a liberal opposes every war but the current war, and supports every civil rights movement but the current one. As Malcolm Anna said, it's the fox you have to worry about, not the wolf. No offense to foxes.

I grew up around foxes and I grew up thinking things that were positively genocidal like it was completely normal. I thought it was completely normal that America was invading Iraq, Saddam Hussein was bad, wasn't he? Wasn't he hanging out with the Devil in the South Park movie? I laughed. I thought America's enemies were obviously bad, and I had very strong opinions about random countries. I thought it was my business to discuss overthrowing governments and bombing them. I thought I thought of these ideas myself. What the fuck was I thinking? What were so many people thinking? I was an entirely 'normal' person, and genocide was entirely normal!

That's the absolute mindfuck of this moment. For kids born this century it's pretty obvious that America is evil, but people that remember the 90s, we remember America being the good guys. Very few of us were Noam Chomsky (shout out to the OG haters), we were just normal chumps. I was. Just a fish flopping around in the historical stream of consciousness, not realizing that I was swimming in blood. It was all a bad dream, obviously a nightmare now, but we can't wake up. Now we can see everything happening around us, we can feel our bodies, but we can't move a finger. We're trapped in the American Dream. It's a waking nightmare now.

“No mere mortal can resist, the evil of the Thriller”
—Vincent Price

But back to my kids, because they don't quit. I've got to send the kids to school tomorrow, someplace these Palestinian children haven't gone for nine months now, there's another reflection in the horrorshow mirror again. I see the schools turned into shelters and the shelters bombed to bits. Palestinian lives are a reflection of mine and I can see everything clearer through it. And everything is bloody awful. My own perceptions, my own past, my own children. Everything is corrupted and worse, complicit.

Now I've been through the looking glass and I can't get out, actually. Smashed through it, completely, and there's blood everywhere, some of it mine I feel. Now I've seen things I can't unsee. If you have empathy you have to feel something and, if you don't, go fuck yourself. They say having a kid is like wearing your heart outside your body and I really feel it. I can't watch scary movies anymore, I just watch PG-13 Tamil romances and Chinese soap operas. If anything mildly bad is happening to a kid I turn it off immediately. But I can't turn off the news, can I? I never turn the news on at all, but it seeps in everywhere. There's so much blood, it can't be contained. How many dead children do you see before breakfast? I see a lot.