Articles and Studies

The Land of Gold

Mazen Shaqoura
Gaza Strip

Gaza used to be called the Land of Yellow and Gold, for over sixty percent of its land was grown with citrus trees. I am a four year old lemon tree living in the northern part of Gaza. Like other trees on this planet, I never caused any trouble or harm, to anyone or anything, and never participated or was used in any terrorist attack.  To the contrary, good is my nature.  I indiscriminately help all beings not only by baring fruit but also by producing oxygen; which have no nationality or political beliefs.  I contribute to everyone’s food security and add nice green scenery to nature around them.

I used to be happy with such contributions, but nowadays I regret them.  This is because since I was born, I believed that “you will reap as you sow”, but now see how such a belief is not valid any more. Since I was born I was subjected to systematic harm; once for lack of water due to scarcity of fuel needed to pump it, another time for lack of pesticides, all due to the closure of Gaza.  On top of all that, I am suffering from constant hunger for natural fertilizers as animals have minimized their output.  I don’t blame them because they are starving and suffer from malnutrition!

This year, and with deep sorrow, I will apologize to my land lord and to the agronomist – whom I now rarely see as they are in bad need for fuel for their motorcycles – for not producing enough fruit this year, and for my doubt over whether I will be able to produce leaf buds next season.  I will also apologize to friends who used to enjoy my shadow on hot summer days for not having enough leaves as I will become much more setaceous.

Human beings around me can move and work hard to secure their needs and means of survival.  But I feel totally paralyzed and need someone to look after me.  Human beings can migrate and change their home, but I can’t.

I can understand how some human and other beings are perceived as a threat to the security of others, but in my case what kind of threat do I constitute? This question navigates on my branches and leaves. The only answer I might think of is that I do contribute to people’s food security.  My fruit could be used to make lemonade, add flavor to food tables, help smooth women’s skin and produce Lemonchello.  I could also give up my extra, dried up, branches for heating. But again, I can’t move or migrate as I am fixed in the land.   Oh, this could be enough reason to target me, but those who besiege me are occupying the entire land and I do not pose any security threat to them.

My lord used to say by their fruits you shall know them. Sorry my lord, next season you won’t know me as I will be like other trees without any fruits or leaves. I will not be yellow any more but will continue to be available for you if you burn my dry branches for heating.  Otherwise, you could still crook up some fuel, turn on the pump and bring me some water to revive me. I am sorry my lord, life is very precious and that makes me very persistent in asking you to do things beyond your capabilities and to push you to commit such an immoral act.  But you human beings are demoralized, and you can do too many good, and vicious, things at the same time, but I can’t since I don’t have a brother called the devil like you do. I can only do good to people and to the environment.  No wonder since I am one of the divine’s portraits, but aren’t you and those who besiege me believers in God?

Finally, my lord, I heard a lot about the great activities done by the Greens worldwide but I do miss them here in Gaza.  Can’t you appeal to them to visit me before next season? Can’t you tell how many sisters of mine were aborted last year? Can’t you tell the world that Gaza is not the Land of Gold anymore and that it no longer has any Yellow color? Can’t you tell them that I have non stop colic in my drying leaves?  I am sorry my lord and Greens, Gaza will not look nice and green next season and will not have any divine scenery.  Rather it will have the dark brown look of drought with a non-divine portrait, hoping that image will make those who besiege and suffocate me and Gaza, from the polluted air which lacks clean oxygen, happy

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