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A poem for revolutions

An Egyptian protester standing on a statue, Jan 2011 (photo: Al Jazeera / via flickr)

In a destroyed Kfar Shalem and the expelling of Jaffa / Mati Shemoelof

Listen, Momma:

A well-fed white rat

Persuaded the inspector

To eat along with the builder

To feed the politician

To bed down with the judge

And flatten the people’s history.

A big rat, Momma,

I swear I saw her nibbling at the rubble


Excreting the culture that eats

Without ever being satisfied.

And why do I tell you all this, Momma?

Maybe because I feel it can’t go on like this,

We have to stand together.

Confront the rat

And shout out the pain of those nibbles.

You’re right, Momma,

We are not rats.

But the stigma on our bodies,

The rubble before our eyes,

Have come across to my daughter

Who asks how we never


A thing.


Mati Shemoelof is an Israeli poet, editor, and social activists. This poem, written following current events in Kfar Shalem and Jaffa, was translated from Hebrew by Dena Shunra, and dedicated by the author to the Egyptian people

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