Copyright © 2019 Nur Hassanain. 
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The earth is a bruise. I scroll through more CNN updates and find opinions. Promises from people who smoke cigars over live porn and read speeches plagiarized by their henchmen. A tsunami here, rapists there, and tyranny everywhere. A handful of actions stripped out of a sea of talk. Is anyone listening?

I think of my extended family. The bits of them I only heard but never got to meet because they’re stuck between the borders of a small piece of decaying land. Immigrants. The ones I met whose voices I never heard because how many people can muster up the energy to express themselves after years of endless battles?

Syria. The epitome of sophistication and Arab civilization. The spirit of the Levant. The first vase of the Abbasid Caliphate. I wonder if people still think of you when they have Mediterranean food. You were beat down to ruins with your people left to run on hope, breadcrumbs and contaminated water over the rotting corpses of their loved ones. The lucky ones died before they saw it all. The broken ones sleep in tents now. I don’t hear your name in the mouths of people anymore.

Palestine. You are a zamzam well of tears - all the pain in this world locked up inside your chest like a mother who watched all her children being killed but chose to live on for them. To fight. Your feet look like the earth’s surface and you planted your roots deep to its core that no amount of military vehicles can rip them out. You are invincible. I envy you for that.

I selfishly follow the news now. It makes my sorrow fade onto a blackboard of bigger, more miserable realities. I tell my Western friends you exist beyond the labels that the media plastered on your forehead. They say they visited you for vacation, and that you look beautiful. I smile before offering them an education.

The world is a bruise but you are the deepest, darkest part of it.

Sunset Cliffs, San Diego