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Friday Features
Friday Poetry
Poetry

Poetry | Why we don’t engage with the fucking media

ABC News Exchange is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 

Time: Jan 6, 2022 03:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

 

Interviewer: Why are you boycotting Sydney Festival?

 

[redacted]

 

[redacted]

 

[redacted]

 

Interviewer: Don’t you think this is a lot of fuss over $20,000?

 

[redacted]

 

In perspective it’s quite um.. a small amount of money that um does not really affect the bottom line that much and I would think that the Sydney Festival should have turned their minds to how this partnership could be perceived a— [redacted]

 

Interviewer: Isn’t it a shame for all these artists to be withdrawing from the festival?

 

[redacted]

 

[redacted]

 

[redacted]

 

Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to add?

 

[redacted]

 

***

 

When I am young

 

I figure no one can argue with facts

 

Fact: I am the eldest of 8 children

 

I am translator, cleaner, defender, parentified, responsible, example, scapegoat, still just a kid…

 

Fact: I chose a law degree because of hopelessness

 

Not hope.

 

***

 

Fact: I visit Lebanon in 2005, before Cronulla.

 

I have left a world where I am unwanted

behind, I am entering a world in which my grandfather is still alive

 

I cry on the plane back. I want to stay. I am more

a foreigner in my land of birth. Land of splintered

Paradise, land of lip service

land of foods indulged and accents mocked

 

***

 

Fact: I am told I should take off my hijab if I want to find a job in a law firm

 

Unlike a believer or a lover, I am ugly

 

because I am faithful

 

Fact: It has taken me years of trusting to think otherwise.

 

***

 

Fact: When I ask to see family

photos, my husband’s grandmother says there are none  

 

Fact: Israel bombed their home in South Lebanon. The remnants of their memories buried alongside martyrs in unmarked graves

 

She gestures to the mountains where they ran

 

To the sisters of the North

 

Faizeh Hourani carved out her family’s survival

 

With mighty hands that have raised men, cattle and hell

 

***

 

Fact: My grandfather was born on 11 November 1938

 

Fact: Jedo Dommar Khodr is older than the state of Israel

 

He told me about a time he was visiting Falasteen

 

It was a Jewish man that helped him get home when he was stranded

 

Whether by the cross or the crescent or the star

 

It has taken me 28 years to understand that the enemy everywhere is the coloniser

 

And the coloniser is everywhere.

 

***

 

When the interviewer asks why we are boycotting the festival, I am armed.

 

Fact: In 2021 alone, over 300 innocent Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces, one fifth of this number are children

 

Fact: In 2021 alone, almost 900 Palestinians are forcibly displaced and made homeless

 

Fact: Human Rights Watch labeled Israel an apartheid state in April 2021, a month before the Sydney festival sought funding from the Israeli Embassy

 

Fact: Israel commits war crimes and atrocities against the Palestinian people which are well documented by global human rights organisations

 

Fact: I cannot perceive a world in which the arts is apolitical. When my identity, my body, my existence is politicised, and I create my work, isn’t that work [redacted]?

 

***

The TV segment goes to air and the reporter begins with, “described as eccentric and experimental, Sydney Festival organisers never imagined this performance could spark such an uproar”…

 

Fact: I want to [redacted].

 

 

Overland’s Friday Features project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

 

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Sara Mansour is the co-founder and artistic director of Bankstown Poetry Slam (BPS), Australia's largest poetry slam. Founded in 2013, BPS has attracted crowds of over 900 people and won multiple awards for fostering a safe space for cultural and artistic expression and for its high school poetry program. Having graduated from a Bachelor of Laws from Western Sydney University in 2016, Sara is also a practising lawyer and board member of Monkey Baa Theatre Company, the Crescent Institute and Sweatshop. Earlier this year she founded Muslim Agenda, Australia's first Muslim Women's Festival and is working on a new project – Brave New Word, Australia's first national youth poetry slam.

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Comments

  1. Never the twain shall meet then. Come to think of it though, isn’t Overland part of ‘the media’ too?

  2. a friend sent this my way and i just wanted you to know that you’ve made an impact all the way in america. your craft is incredible and unique and i am so thankful to have gotten to read this. thank you <3

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