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The Only Democracy? » On The Ground Reports » Songs by Ikhlas (“Yasmin”) Jebara from Salem – Part I

Songs by Ikhlas (“Yasmin”) Jebara from Salem – Part I

Villages Group friend Ikhlas Jebara from Salem near Nablus, had been mentioned here before under her nickname “Yasmin”. Her father Sa’el was murdered in 2004 by a settler as he was performing his daily work as a van driver (the settler was convicted but escaped justice).

Ever since then, we have been in touch with Muna, the widow, and her children. Ikhlas, the second of six Jebara children, is blind from birth and has last year graduated college with an English literature major. She also writes poetry in English.

Following is a first sampling of her poems; a second group will be posted later. Feel free to contact Ikhlas directly at


To say or not to say

I wonder whether to say or not to say
To be enthusiastic
to revolve
or to obey
For God or for people to pray
Or like a refugee without home to stay
Or like a child in the streets to play
Or to pass through a narrow or wide way
Or our hopes for future to delay
Or to sit under the red x-ray
Here we are my friend
with no decision
Whether to be or not to be
we do not know
Whether to say or not to say

In our narrow street

In our calm narrow street
I followed the traces of his feet
I heard the echo of hope
when she said you should meet
you should meet
Darkness bitterness of days you should defeat

My tongue had also said no blame no blame
Forget the past and live for your dream
For hope in your eyes would gleam

No one but echo answered me
No he is not free
With him we can not be
Until the masters of the fates agree

In a dark cloudy atmosphere
Moon, sun, stars seem to be very clear
Safety… bravery… oh grasped fear
In the eyes of the sky there is no tear
Just the glimmer of hope that is so near
From them you can not flee

I bitterly answered ‘what do you claim?’
She laughed and said I will achieve my aim
Until the end of my game
I trust myself and I do not feel shame

Hope -she is so strong and stout
And she is able my fears to wipe out
She laughed with her echo-voice so loud
One day in the hands of you will be found

Gift for those whose parents are lost

Here on that street my dad died
Death attacked him from an unknown side
What did his death for us hide ?
Grief and pain did for us decide
His death the hearts of our family did divide
Loss and departure were emphasized
While happiness at that moment seized

Here on that street my father drove
On the same street he was shot
By a settler who was provoked
From an innocent person his revenge he got

From an unknown origin he is derived
Responsible that in my family’s life

grief, pain and anger reside
But there are people of his religion who have tried
For us a new beginning to provide
They really appreciate the size of grief in our hearts

Monday in the afternoon was the opening of our wound
And it caused the broken hearts of our catastrophe to moan
At that moment the stagnant grief in our souls was grown
We lived in darkness with no fraction of dawn
A black tragedy for me was drawn
Like a nic in the neck… it is in the heart a wound

To be a graduate

Have you ever felt like a person who will graduate
Who is standing on the edge of the university and life’s gate
People are coming to say ‘we congratulate’
They within me a glimmer of hope create
I am like a king who won the state
I am a person who is loved by fate
For this day I am willing to wait

All love from my heart is sent
To my parents my sisters my brothers my doctors and friends

For you I say ‘happy new year’
I wish we will the dress of happiness wear
No matter how the last days were
The principles of a new life in this modest party we declare
The black papers of our last tragedies in our lives we will tear
The bitterness of days we no longer bear
We in the eyes of future stare
Happiness and hope we can see there

But we also notice some sort of fear
I hope that peace is near
for those whom to me are so dear
You are to me my jewels
In the siege of my heart you fell
I rang my tongue’s bell
good words for you to tell
Let us together say grief farewell
grief farewell grief farewell

Written by

Assaf Oron works as a statistician and moonlights (voluntarily) as a human-rights activist and blogger. He arrived in Seattle from Israel in 2002 for studies, and for now is sticking with the local greyness, dampness and uber-politeness, while plotting his glorious repatriation to the land of eternal sunshine and rudeness. Meanwhile, he tries to explain to anyone who cares to listen, what the Occupation is and why it must be ended now, not later. Assaf is webmaster for the Israeli human rights organization "Villages Group"

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