A Poem For Palestine: The Olive & Bigo-tree

Raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan have turned into a yearly ritual practised by the barbaric Israeli security forces. Despite the aggression, over 50,000 defiant worshippers attended Friday prayers, and despite the social media shadow bans, the #HandsOffAlAqsa continued to trend on social media.

On the surface it may seem like the Palestinians are in a position of weakness and each assault and attempt to evict them by the Israelis is a testament to that. However, not only has the reaction of the Palestinians proved the opposite is true but it is also becoming increasingly difficult for the pro-Israeli lobby to hide the loss of support from the international community.

It is also important to realise that the Palestinians, living in an open-air prison, are in fact studying together at what we can describe as the University of Yusuf. Their teachers are the criminal Israeli guards charged with supervising their education and training. With each act of aggression, the Palestinians take a lesson that strengthens their mind, body, soul and resolution. There are only two outcomes at this university, they will either graduate as martyrs or emerge victoriously.

Living in the West, we should be conscious of that and perhaps more concerned about our own fate – we are not present, studying for the test we call life, at such a prestigious establishment. I wrote this poem to highlight this and bring a different perspective to the consequences of the recent Israeli incursions.

The Olive & Bigo-tree

Be wary, soldier.
Know whose land you trespass over.

You may mock my speech,
glee at the spoils you’ve seized,
Torture the leaves you’ve put
under lock and key.

But what you fail to realise,
Is that as we speak.

A thousand roots,
Fertilised by your tyranny.
Are rising as thunderous trees,
Towering over the prison towers in your keep.

You see,
it is we who have captured you, prisoner.
And these marks that you’ve left on me,
are certificates of honour.

Know this land,
you will never hold nor conquer.
Ask history about the ones,
who thought they’d reign forever.

You’ve ceased your laughter?
And look scared?
There’s no need to be.

My words are no stones,
Simply just fearless olive seeds
Planting an end to the wilderness
of your bigotree.

By Ibrahim Dayyan

This poem was inspired by two Quranic ayat. The first ayah is from Surah Anfal verse 30 which reminds us that like the treaty of Hudaybiyah, behind every supposed defeat there is a plan and with it there are hidden wisdoms – “And [remember, O Muḥammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allāh plans. And Allāh is the best of planners.”

And the second ayah is from Surah Imran verse 140, which highlights that position and power, much like day and night, is a fleeting privilege that only Allah can bestow upon a people – “If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allāh may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allāh does not like the wrongdoers.”