This fall the harvest of the olive trees became doubtful. The F-16s roared overhead as we went to pick fruit from slim trees newly rising from the bulldozed soil of the old groves. Their desert flowers were scattered here and there, but their blossoms were now replaced by the incandescent blooms that flared endlessly, brightly, shattering our homes, our families, our city, our land.
Autumn came on like a fever, burning up the land with a relentless urge to disfigure, implacable and indiscriminate. And we burned with it. Like dry kindling, we sparked and then flamed, first a low smoky fire, flickering and dying and then flaring again, until in the full oppression of our neighbor’s rancour and ire, we flashed like a wildfire and began to truly burn.
This fall the skies rained metal and splashed shrapnel, piercing our flesh, sluicing open our arteries, slicing into our hearts. But our blood was like oil and we let it pour upon the flames. In the heat of our oppression, we became furnaces until the ovens of our bodies could no longer contain the heat, and collectively we became a conflagration, a holocaust of burning bodies set on fire by the children of the holocaust of old.
But the fire ignited our souls, we became “light upon light” (Qur’an 24:35) till the eyes of those who sought our destruction were blinded with the intensity of our suffering. Our homes, our fields, our lands, burned with us as the metal rain became a deluge, and rivers of flame, mixed with our blood, flowed through our streets.
Our cries are all luminous brightness within, our selves blessed olive trees whose blood, like oil, shines forth even as our bodies blacken, burning with our beloved land. God guides whom He wills to light. The time of test and trial is here.
“So Who responds to the suffering of the distressed when they cry out to Him, and lifts the evil (of the oppression) they are suffering….” (Qur’an 27:62)