Gaza.. The Reality Show is back

A poem by Samah Sabawi

The Palestine Project
2 min readMay 13


The show is back by popular demand
Embrace your little ones, hold their hands…tight
Maybe a lullaby will take their minds off the falling bombs tonight
Houses will crumble like a broken dream
High rises will disintegrate into rubble and steel
And screams will pierce your ears like shards of glass
Say a prayer, close their eyes
Death is marching in your skies

The show is back by popular demand
Young Jewish kids with American accents
Race to the top of a hill overlooking the killing fields
‘The best seats in the house’ they shout into the newsreel
Anticipation will give way to exhilarated cheers
As the sky lights up and death pours like rain
Their eyes wide open, they eat popcorn and drink beer
And they cheer and they cheer and they cheer

The show is back by popular demand
Networks will broadcast live from your living room
Cameras will zoom in on your devastation
They’ll report without uttering the word “occupation”
They will not lend context to your misery
But they will invade your privacy
They will use photos of your dead and dying
The crowds will roar
The ratings will soar
As striking images of your torn flesh and gore
Feed the media’s hungry appetite for more

The show is back by popular demand
Your grief and trauma sensationalized
Reduced to sound bites, theories, statuses and tweets
Pundits will pontificate as they spar on TV
But there is not enough death in you
To sustain the attention of the privileged few
How can you compete with Marriage at First Sight?
Or the Bachelor ?
Or some other shit reality show?
The cameras will get bored and they will stop rolling
While your reality will persist
Your days and nights still cycles of terror
And you’re still a prisoner behind their wall
Dead or alive?
Even you don’t really know.

The show is back by popular demand
Solidarity groups will vow to make a stand
We will paint Palestine flags on our faces
We will shout ‘From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free’
We will hold meetings to discuss your plight in air conditioned rooms
Poets will romanticize your suffering in verses like these
Keyboard activists will dominate our newsfeeds
And all of us promise to use all the emojis at our disposal
To express our support and admiration
We will say you are a source of inspiration
We will write about your tenacity and resilience
And about how you survive on love
And how you refuse to hate
How you … refuse to hate
So don’t let us down
Don’t put us in that awkward position
Of having to explain why you fight back
Why you fire missiles
Why you explode with outrage
Why you resist.

(May 11, 2023)