Letter to Tel Aviv

Somewhere at the end of this half smoked cigarette, there is a sentence waiting. It will contain all the right quotes and statistics, all the histories and traumas. I will let it speak and then I will be silent.

It will give you numbers. It will stitch pictures to each of these number. And you will be pursued into sleep with the stories of each of them. I want you to know their favorite colors, what they were like when they acted silly or couldn’t sleep or got excited. This sentence will reveal it all.

It will place you in the living rooms of nervous mothers waiting to hear back from daughters and sons who still haven’t returned from a protest. It will slam you against the back of a military jeep and call you a whore in a language you never wanted to learn. You will feel choked with grief or loss or white phosphorus. Or all three.

After all, in Gaza, it’s always all three.

It will form an affinity between you and another. It will leave you in each others embrace for centuries, till you recognize every pore. Then, abruptly, it will toss you from the familiarities and comforts you’ve formed. And you will suddenly find that you are in exile.

It will show you the amputation. It will pull your eyelids open to observe, from a distance, as the butchery goes on. It will do all of this while a chorus roars that what you are witnessing is a miracle. It will call you hateful for not joining the choir.

You will live and die in some absence you cannot articulate. Still, you will learn to carry it in your pocket. And it will feel useless, YOU will feel useless and guilty for having left though it was never you that made the decision to depart.

All of this will be unveiled with syllables you can digest.

Somewhere at the end of this half-smoked cigarette, there is a sentence waiting. It will not be there to liberate or reconcile. It will not be there for your redemption or mine. It sits patiently to tell a story that has already been told. Look again, do you not recognize it?

-Talal Alyan

Talal is a Palestinian-American writer based in Brooklyn. He tweets here.


  1. Amanda Naj says:


  2. Nicely written

  3. Reblogged this on O MUNDO, HOJE….

  4. Beautiful, painful and visual. Very moving.

  5. I pray for them, but not enough. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

  6. Beautifully written.

  7. Great writing! Let pray for this people, nothing last forever… and every soul count.

  8. bigstarlet says:

    Reblogged this on Thoughts, Raves, and Outright Beatings and commented:
    Whatever side you are on in the current conflict, you cannot deny that this is beautiful writing.

  9. Well said. It is a travesty that people would prefer to wipe a culture off the face of our planet , along with its future, those innocent little children, than simply

  10. Than simply do the right thing. I’m sorry to hear of so much disregard for life. Ty for your blog on this, peace

  11. Wow!

  12. this is very powerful.

  13. Amazing, horrifying. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Reblogged this on A GENIUS IN DISGUISE..

  15. Mtchew

  16. It’s remarkable

  17. Captivating piece of writing, thank you.

  18. It rightfully belong to Isreal for being so merciless without a conscience!

  19. Thank you, Talal, for writing this and for reaching out to us Israelis. It is indeed time for us to reach out to each other as the policies of what continue. I am sorry for the shameful policies of my government and promise I will do all I can figure out to bring it to a solid end

  20. Reblogged this on Apps Lotus's Blog.

  21. dwivivek100 says:

    MR Talal I appriciate ur concern towards humanity….but I would like to know your views for the ISIS tooo….who are also doing the same things…

  22. Politicians lie, but you can always count on poets to speak the truth.

    – Samuel Ridlocke

  23. Reblogged this on Right, write! and commented:
    Just about everything one really needs to know about Gaza I think.

  24. Jewish by birth. Christian by faith. I hate this conflict! I hate the Hamas terrorists! I hate the mis-information on both sides. Rockets haunt my reality. Children huddled in darkened spaces waiting for death to fall on them. Helpless. Hopeless. Always the children. Always…can anyone stop the madness? Peace be upon you, brother.

  25. Jewish and Israeli, I can only feel deep sorrow for the Palestinians and us who have still not learned, after 100 years of conflict, to sit down in the same room and talk. Moving words Talal. May we see peace in our lives.

  26. Persego's Words says:

    Amazing really… and incredibly sad

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