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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 48 November 25, 2023

A Diary / At A Hospital In Gaza | Sagari Chhabra

Saturday 25 November 2023, by Sagari Chhabra


A Diary

At first, they stripped them
of their clothes and jewellery,
even the gold from their teeth,
then they cut their hair,
sending them to a lair
the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

In Birkenau, they made them
toil in fields,
extracting all they could,
then further to Dachau,
to be gassed enmasse.
This was the horrific Final Solution
the Jews were made to suffer,
while the whole world looked away.
We who watched, said,
never again;
but after what we have seen,
why must you repeat that scene?

There is a little girl
whose diary I would like to read,
for whom I plead;
please spare this young girl;
she writes in Arabic
of the time when the skies
closed upon her;
her mother and father wrapped in a shroud;
she is not proud,
she has no control over Hamas or anything,
she’s just a lonely, helpless girl,
who wonders what became
of her home and world.

Why must you bomb
this hapless Anne Frank of Gaza,
why must you send her
scurrying like a grass-hopper
looking for a hole
to take refuge,
depriving her of food and water,
witnessing a mass slaughter.
Why must you repeat the horror
of the Holocaust;
as we watch aghast
across the rubble of our civilization

Sagari Chhabra

14 November ‘23
(Children’s day)

o o

At A Hospital In Gaza


‘Stop screaming,
O woman!
This is a hospital
and you are inside
an intensive care ward!’

‘This is my child
inside the incubator!’

‘We are doing our best;
the drones are encircling us,
the electricity has gone,
I am manually pumping your child’s heart,
O mother, don’t be so forlorn.’

‘I implore you;
save my child,
born from my heart,
I cannot live
if we do part.
But why is my child shivering,
and his skin turning
a curious shade of blue?’

‘O mother, I have already told you,
the electricity has been severed;
I am using hot water
to warm your child,
but the rising mist is much too mild.’

Mother: (folding her hands)
‘Doctor, will my child recover?’

‘Only if the world
will get the drones to stop to hover,
bomb and shell;
this hospital has turned into a well,
of the dying;
tell them we are still trying
to save lives here;
this is a shelter of the wounded deer.
I have run out of medicines, intravenous tubes
and pieces of gauze;
how do I bandage
the shrapnel that has
entered your child’s pores?
How do I wrap your child’s wounds;
how do I assuage Netanyahu’s moods?
There is no such thing
as a humanitarian pause;
no ideology for a war’s cause.’

‘Why is my child not moving?’

‘The world’s heart has stopped.
O mother,
I deeply regret,
your child is dead.’

Sagari Chhabra
14 November 2023
(Children’s day)

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