A night vigil with Shaymaa: a poem for Gaza

By Kamal Mirawdeli:

Shaymaa is that innocent piece of beating human flesh rescued from her mother’s womb 10 minutes after her murder, through a posthumous Caesarean section. This is her story as reported on Sky News website. Watching the tragic public genocide of Gaza and the West’s reaction to it, I could not sleep for several nights. I wrote parts of this poem in my dream. The original is in my language Kurdish and was published yesterday. This is a hasty recreation of it. This is an expression of emotions and facts as I see it and feel obliged to communicate to others. I hope this will contribute a bit to serious thinking about the tragic situation of our common humanity and a new vision of the world in which children are all recognised, treated, loved and educated as children.

Sky News’s report:

“A baby girl has been born through a posthumous Caesarean section after her parents and brothers were killed by an Israeli airstrike, according to Palestinian medical officials.The girl’s mother, Shaymaa Hussein al Sheikh Ali, 24, was killed by shrapnel after the roof of her family home on Thursday. Her daughter, also named Shaymaa, weighed 5lbs and was said to be in a stable condition in Al Aqsa hospital on Monday.

Dr Wajdi Qeshta said: “They brought the mother and she was in the last month of her pregnancy.”The doctors operated on the mother when they found she [the baby] had a heartbeat. Now the condition of the baby is not so good, she is still on a respirator.”

Doctors said the baby girl was likely to remain in hospital for five weeks after suffering from a shortage of oxygen.”


Children of Gaza; Pic - imemc.org

Children of Gaza; Pic – imemc.org

A night vigil with Shaymaa


Sleep Shaymaa, don’t come to this life,

Don’t open your eyes to this strife

Your mum is not here

Don’t move your little mouth around for her breast

She will not give you an embrace

She will not see your face

She will not come

The story is hard

I don’t know when you can hear it

And not cry to death


Shaymaa, here is Gaza

But you have not lived too long

You don’t know to what race, what nation you belong

You don’t know why you are here

Prematurely, a solo orphan,

The daughter of death

You still need oxygen for your breath

No you don’t know the mystery

Of your unborn story

And I do not know

How much longer

They will allow you to be

Few more minutes, days, weeks,

For here is Gaza

It is either a prison or a graveyard

Buds are not allowed to grow to a tree



Don’t breathe little flesh

The noise above are drones looking for your breath

The tremor around are rockets aiming for your little lungs

This uproar nearby are tanks chasing the shadows of the dead

These soldiers are Nazis keen to search the inside of your mum’s womb


Shaymaa, don’t open your eyes

This city is Gaza

Every shop, road, and quarter

Every hospital and school

Is a slaughter house

Where child meat is cheap

But your breathing five-pounds-flesh

Is too dear to ignore.

Your grandma says:

All your mum’s dream was

To see you come out, give you a hug and kisses.

This is an impossible dream in Gaza

Only those dreams are allowed

Which go straight to unknown graves

Don’t dream raw meat

Don’t dream that one day you would walk and talk

And there would be a mother and brothers to meet

Don’t breathe

Their technology detects the heat of sighs and tears

Don’t dream

Their technology detects the substance of dreams

They are not afraid of anything

But your stubborn breathing

They are obsessed with nothing

But the address of whereabouts of your desire for living

They are always righteous

Because they can kill

They kill

And kill

And kill

And kill

And kill

Until killing is tired

Of killing

Until killing

Is fed up with killing



Don’t be scared Shaymaa, don’t.

Don’t be afraid, children of Gaza, don’t.

These are humans, civilized, fair

They have just come to play Hide and Seek games with you.

(Knock Knock on the roof)

Who is dropping stones and sand over us?

Oh, dear children!

We are here to play a Hide and Seek game with you.

Leave your home in ten minutes

And hide where you cannot be found

Otherwise you will be dead!


Who are you coming to our home?

We have never seen or known you before.

You are neither friends, nor guests nor strangers.

Why are you cheating in the Hide and Seek game?

Why do you kill us before we leave our home?

Why do you kill us while we are at the door?

Why do you massacre us while we are holding the naked hands of our parents trying to leave?

Why do you kill us while we are in an ambulances?

Why do you kill us when we collectively hide in UN schools and shelters?

Why do you kill us inside the ruined hospitals, the ruined schools?

Why, when you give us a pause and we go to get food in our markets for Eid,

Do you bomb us and the market and the Eid?

When we go to bury our dead in the graveyards,

Why do you bomb us and the dead and the graveyards?

When you give us a pause to go back to our homes

To collect our belongings

And we do not recognise neither the roads to our homes

Nor our homes

And we try to dig out the bodies of our left brothers and sisters,

Why do you kill us again, twice, thrice, and endlessly?

Why do you kill us before we are born, after we are born, before we are dead and after we are dead?

Why do you kill us when we walk over ground, when we hide under-ground?

Why have you besieged us inside a cage?

We cannot fly

We cannot throw ourselves to the sea

You own the sky

You own the sea

You own the earth

You own the world

And we go underground

And breathe through our tunnels

But you come

And come

And come

From the skies

From the seas

And kill

And kill

And kill

Leaving behind bodies and ruins

And many many many



Because we have will to kill

And Shaymaa has will to live.



Shaymaa, don’t open your eyes

Don’t open your little mouth,

Don’t try to understand anything

To ask, to think

Don’t try to know the names of those

Who played Hide and Seek with You

Don’t try to know your own name

To what nation you belong, what identity you will take

You are a baby, a child

All the children of the world

Have only one name: Child

They have only one identity:


They have only one characteristic

They laugh and play

They have only one little dream:

To play with each other and not be bullied

They have only one need:

To be free

to be children.

And not to be hungry.

Listen to me little flesh,

[How is your oxygen and your breath?]

And don’t ask the names and identity of your killers

Don’t be born into the history of hatred

The killers all have only one name:


They all steal each other’s faces

They all use each other’s hands and knives

They all have one Head

Full of …. I do not know what

I cannot find a name for this mystery

It is more than hatred and nihilistic obsession

Nazism is not a race, a theory, a history,

It is a mind-set and conduct

Hitler, Hulagu,

Nero, Franco

Ataturk, Nixon, Netanyahu

Saddam and Da’sh

The Regime of Executions

They all have one ancestry


The one who kills one child would kill humanity

The one who sheds a drop of a child’ blood, would shed a sea of blood.



Shaymaa let me tell you the story of Taymur.

Recently, in this ruined land of ours Kurdistan

[for we had 4000 ancient villages]

They came and came

They put the parents and children in trucks

They said to the children: laugh and be happy

We are taking you to a wonderful picnic

They took them, tens, hundreds, thousands

Tens of thousands

At daytime, at midnight.

With clothes, in pyjamas, without clothes

They took them away, farther farther

To the deserts of south

There they dug holes in the ground like hell

Took the arms of children

And threw them to the ditches alive

With their Kurdish clothes on

The slaughterers were laughing

They sprayed the kids’ faces with bullets from their machine guns

All the time they were laughing

Proud of their nationalistic triumph

Then they brought bulldozers

And covered the children, cries, and fear and tears

With the burning sand of the desert

They did this to 182 000 people

Only one kid survived

He was Taymur

He was the only one

To tell

A tiny bit of the story as it happened

And of rare humanity

And I went back to my land

I never saw my village again

I never saw my neighbour again

I never saw my school again

I never saw my hidden first love poem again

I never saw my childhood lover again

I never saw my real country, my real people again

And no one tells, no one remembers, no one cares

About the story of 182 000 souls

About the civilization and history of 4000 villages.

And the Slaughterer was Saddam.



The CIA man laughed:

We created Saddam.



Sleep, Shaymaa, sleep

For Shajaiyya is Guernica


Where is Picasso?

Gaza is Guernica

Where are the Picassos?

Every slaughterer is Franco,

Where are the European revolutionaries?

The leftist protestors?

They object that guinea pigs and mice

Are cruelly used for scientific experiments.

But Shaymaa, they do not protest

When you and the children of Gaza

Are used as guinea pigs for the experiment

Of the most lethal technology of mass destruction?



Sleep, Shaymaa, sleep

Don’t be proud of any nationality

Don’t be sure of any eventuality

The Nazis in Kiev

Have also turned the cities of East Ukraine

Into Gazas and Guernicas

Over all the land

They have spread darkness and destruction

They shoot, shell and bomb

Enjoy indulging in blood

And death and ruin

I never thought this could happen in Europe

And Obama, Cameron, Holland and Angela

Support and encourage Kiev

And face Russia’s Putin with bloody claws and teeth

And with the deepest moral conviction

Expose their well-shaved naked behinds

To dear Netanyahu for his satisfaction

He responds with anger and exasperation:

Go away, Bastards!

I am eating children

I have no time for masturbation!



O Shaymaa, my dear,

Where do you want to come?

This is the real

New World Order.

Dr Kamal Mirawdeli is a Kurdish writer and was presidential candidate in the KRG elections in 2009 (winning in the regions of Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah and Koye where no vote-rigging occurred).

8 Responses to A night vigil with Shaymaa: a poem for Gaza
  1. Peace
    August 2, 2014 | 00:00

    One should be fair and side with the truth. It is very unfortunate that such a large number of Palestinian civilians have been killed but at the same time its not fair for Hamas and extremist terrorists Islamic Jihad groups to shell Israeli civilians with rockets on a daily basis. Israel has to defend its self. Like Netanyahu said if Arabs lay down their arms, there will be peace but if Israel does so, it could be destroyed. I am a muslim myself but do you really believe its fair for extremist Muslims across the Islamic world to continue denying Jews right to live in peace? Lets suppose Kurdistan was in the place of Israel and it was besieged by a set of hostile states, which it is, how would we react to assure protection of our citizens. Give the example of ISIS in Mosel. Peace is what most wish for both for Israelis and Palestinians. By the way, Iran & Arab Muslim countries are the ones responsible for contributing to acceleration of conflict instead of mediation or peace. Should Palestinians and Israelis be left alone, permanent peace is imminent.

  2. showan
    August 2, 2014 | 11:18

    For decades Arabs and Muslims killed the Kurds. Israel came to the help of Kurds but not Arabs. The Palestinians are still calling Kurds the second Israel. I do not like Palestinian to be hurt. But I am sure it is because the policies of Arab and Islamist expansionists. Why does not Mirawdali search for sad stories of Iraqi Christians and Syrian Kurds.

    • Yasin Aziz
      August 3, 2014 | 21:31

      My Cousin Gulzar while giving birth an Iranian missile burnt her and the baby together while giving birth, and 2 hours later her husband, ‘my cousin’ with their 3 old son were gassed to death, nobody in the world wrote a word or cared. Our supposedly politicians have often been gullible to sympathize with others, but not ourselves. Once Yaser Arafat told Kurds in Damascus, you often talk about us but not yourselves. I just wondered why no one separates civilians from Hamas, to see how Israel get a hell out of Hamas. They only do that for Iran, so the price of oil to go up, as Iran desperately need cash but nothing else. Palestinians have often been staunch supporters of Saddam while Saddam’s genocide campaign was going on against Kurds, even now if they have chance they would do the same to us, nothing changed much, we still live with fear. .

      • Yasin Aziz
        August 3, 2014 | 21:38

        I meant In Halabja During Chemical attack on 16th March 1988

  3. Kawa
    August 3, 2014 | 09:44

    A very good piece of work; really nice and passionate
    As human being we need to feel for other people suffering regardless of their background or history. We as Kurd need more from this example showing their human side kindness and sympathy as what it is in reality if we look at people of south Kurdistan and what they did for various refugees groups. Unfortunately there are small group of Kurds unknowingly acting as group of opportunistic and seeking revenge that is not reflecting true picture of Kurdistan.
    Well done Kamal Mirawdeli

  4. Stop the hatred!
    August 18, 2014 | 22:00

    I am really surprised to find such a piece of antisemite slander on the Kurdistan tribune. I was rubbing my eyes when I saw that you compare Netanyahu to Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler…do you really believe a mass-muderer and dictator can be compared to a democratic leader? You are belitteling and trivializing the tragedy of the Holocaust and the massacre of Halabja,shame on you!
    I am very sad about every innocent girl or boy who has lost their life in war, every child should get the chance to grow up in peace and security, no matter where they are born.
    However, it is important to keep in mind that the war in Gaza would have never happened if Hamas didn´t constantly shoot rockets at Israel and infiltrate the nation with terror tunnels to abduct innocent civilians. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas even publicly criticized Hamas on Palestinian television, accusing the group of provoking “unnecessary deaths” and “trading in Palestinian blood” by firing rockets at Israel.The Palestinian Authority’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council even acknowledged that Hamas is committing war crimes by targeting civilians and shooting rockets from civilian areas contrasted with how Israel is following international law by warning residents before strikes so as to minimize civilian casualties.
    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, a non-profit organization based in Gaza City, is no friend to Israel by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, even this group reported on how Israel is giving civilians in targeted structures time to flee by giving them advance notice through warning shots and even calling their phones.
    If you do care so much about Palestinian lives, you should protest against Hamas, who are killing their own people while the leaders are sitting comfortably in luxury hotels in Qatar!
    Did you forget that Israel is the only country that has constantly supported the Kudish people in our struggle for independence? They have always been speaking up for the rights of Kurdish people, if you look back in history you will see that many politicians, like Moshe Dayan, have sided with the Kurdish cause. They even built a Kurdish learning center in Tel Aviv (http://www.dayan.org/kurdish-studies-program-0) Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, according to Eliezer Tsafrir,a former senior Mossad official, in 1963-1975 Israel had military advisers at the headquarters of Mulla Mustafa Barzani where they trained and supplied the Kurdish units with firearms and field and anti-aircraft artillery. There are many strong connections between Kurdish people and Israel, both fighting against Islamic terrorism and Arab aggression,therefore we should stand together against our shared enemies. During the last week, many Israelis have taken to the streets to protest against ISIS genocide in Shingal and they even helped to get a Kurdish girl receive a lifesaving surgery in an Israeli hospital. Do you really want to abandon such a good relationship?

    • Havel
      August 19, 2014 | 11:08

      Regardless of whether I personally agree with all of the sentiments in Dr Kamal’s poem, I am pleased that KT has given a platform to such a talented writer. It is one of the things different about KT, compared to many Kurdish media outlets: it is independent, and it does not answer to any party or state. I do not believe that Dr Kamal’s poem is anti-Semitic. There is a not insignificant minority of Jews who are very critical of Israeli state policies towards the Palestinians (while also abhorring the Hamas agenda). These Jewish people are of course not anti-Semitic, but they view human rights as universal. I hope KT continues to publish views from across the spectrum, without fear or favour.

  5. john
    August 20, 2014 | 17:56

    My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine, Archbishop Tutu:

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