Monday, August 07, 2006

Poetry Reading to Call for Peace

I'd like to thank everyone who showed up today and made it such a great success! We managed to raise $250 for charity, not bad for a poetry reading in a small cafe. I thank everyone for their generosity; InFusion cafe; Berta for the video; and our 3 wonderful readers! And I'll keep you posted about whether Al-Arabiyya will broadcast any excerpts, and if so when.

All my best,

Ashraf

PHILLY POETS FOR
P E A C E

Present
Ashraf Osman
Also Featuring
Laurie Pollack
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore
Arlene Bernstein

WHEN: Sunday, August 6, from 4 to 6 pm
WHERE: InFusion Coffee & Tea
7133 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19119

$5 Suggested Donation
All proceeds go toward the UNICEF Emergency Relief Fund

7 comments:

Daniel Barkowitz said...

If you want or have interest, you can feel free to read "Weep, Like a Cedar in Lebanon" or "I Was There" at the poetry reading. I only wish I could be in Philly to support you on Sunday!

Also, Asharaf, please note that I am moving to http://barkowitz.wordpress.com effective immediately...

arch.memory said...

Thanks, Daniel... I wish all the poets who contributed to Katy's Call to Arms, which was the seed for this reading, could be there to read their own work... It would have been so wonderful!

silverpearl1 said...

Dear Friend, I am not a poet by any means but I wanted to share with you a personal experience. Years ago I took a vow that I will treat everyone morally and ethically, that I will speak out against unjustive, and that I will cast my opinions to make things better and to change situation. I was put to that task when the crisis in Lebanon broke out. From the comfort of my corners, I watched the news, I saw bodies after bodies been pulled from the rubble. I saw the beautiful Dahiyeh where I had so many memories been destroyed one building after another. I saw Sour, Tyre, where I was there in May celebrating "eid al Tahrir" been hit hard. I asked myself, what are you going to do? How are you going to stop this unjustice? I never felt so helpless in my life. There was literally nothing that I can do. My voice that was so strong once betrayed me. As the days went and the conflict escalated, I fell in a case of depression. I said that I did not want to watch the news, tried to fool myself into thinking that it will stop soon. The news became my life now. The movement that I make is depended on what is happening in the news. The news is always on, when I am at work, I am anxious to go online, see what is the latest breaking news. CNN and al-jazeera are now "my favorite" link. Lebanonwire is my home page. When I sleep, I pray that my eyes will shut quickly and that my mind will have mercy on me and for once tonight, perhaps, I can get a break from seeing images of innocent children dead. If I am lucky enough to sleep, I wake up sometimes thinking that I am not going to watch any news today. But I cannot, how can I act as though I don't care when it is my people and my children been killed. I started going to Lebanese Bloggers site and my anger and rage grew. I wanted to find comfort in words that other Lebanese and people around the words are saying. All I can read and see were hatred words, kill Hezbollah, kill the palestinians, kill the Israelis, don't cease the fire. Not comforting words for someone desparately seeking comfort. My grandmother always called me "Al Malak, al Hanouna" (Sweet Angel). Over the years that became my nickname. If my grandmother could see the rage that has fulfilled my heart she will not recognize me. It is ironic how this war created so many jobs for people at the expense of the innocent victims. I get so distraught when I see panel experts been interviewed about what is the best resolution for Lebanon now. I want to scream and say, ask the lebanese that. Then I came across your site. I read your words and the words of your colleagues. Tears that I have been holding back poured like a faucet, words that have been stuck in my throat like a pill that won't go up or down are finally freed. I realized that I have not become this dark person that I fear, for you, my friend, share some of my anguish. All this time I wanted to send a message to all the innocents that have parted this world, I wanted to say forgive me that I wasn't there, but I wish that I was. For the first time in 25 days, a smile formed around my trembling lips, for now I can say that the Gates of Heaven are widely opened and God is waiting for his children to come home. They left us behind so that we can take the initiative to make it better for the rest of the children. My hopes are back, I will continue to be that same person that will speak against unjustice. The memories of all those that were forced to depart this life will remain alive, for their stories will forever be in our heart and mind. Thank you, thank you for the beautify words full of hope. Thank you for sharing my feelings and for further expressing them. Thank you for giving me back my sanity and for not letting me be a victim to my own darkness. Thank you for gving me freedom. Thank you for not letting me unleash my anger and for keeping me restrained. Thank you for finally giving me the cure to the shaking spell that took over my hands and prevented me from writing. Good luck to you tonight. I wish that I could be there to cheer you on.

arch.memory said...

Oh my god, thank you for such a touching letter! To have someone put as eloquently as you did the unceasing cycle of frustration and desperation that I, and you, and so many others are going through.... It takes a heavy boulder off my chest, it makes all those feelings of futility that threaten to pervade me ever so frequently almost vanish. And for that, I thank you immensely!

WILPF_Program said...

I'm sorry I wasn't there, Asharaf, but I'm glad the reading went well. And thanks for pulling together the vigil, I sent the information to the SUSTAIN list and I will definitely be there.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels helpless sometimes. Thanks for your words, they give voice to my pain.

Scheherazade said...

Hope the reading went well and you raised buckets of cash!

thepoetryman said...

Poetry readings are wonderful testaments to our humanity. i am glad yours went well.