EDITOR’S NOTE: Izdihar Dabashi, the writer of this poem, is a writer, college student, and Muslim living in Beacon. You can read her articles on A Little Beacon Blog here. She has penned a poem in response to the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this week.
The shootings happened on the afternoon of Holy Friday. Izdihar explains the meaning of Holy Friday, also known as Jumu’ah: “Muslims consider Fridays to be holy. A lot of people try to make it the mosque to pray. A sermon is given. It is like the Muslim version of a Christian’s Sunday church. The Friday prayer is held in the afternoon, and Muslims take a little more time to say their prayers.
“On Fridays, Muslims are more connected with their community and often will call friends and family just to let them know they’re in their thoughts and prayers.
“That’s what makes the crime all the more heartbreaking - it was done on a day where Muslims are more focused on spreading peace as they meet, pray together, and later discuss any community problems or achievements. Everyone feels more united and at ease after a Friday prayer.”
Izdihar’s poem was first published on her Instagram account here. She granted permission to have it republished on A Little Beacon Blog as well. Her InstaStory has a more images of the people hurt and killed.
aggressive rivers of crimson flood the floors of sanctuaries
heavy weapons and weighted boots,
what else to expect from a deluded man and his object of destruction?
from a man who laughs in tune to the cries of the innocent, to the symphony of his gun?
scattered evidence of life taunt the living;
tiny shoes, visions of the future
scarves... tattered fabric dispersed
and purses spilled
barefoot in the streets, fleeting as thunderous echoes of chaos ring sharp in their ears
neighbors weeping, some taking leaps
over fences and dashing through doors
how can we rescue when we don’t know where danger hides
and why it smiles
how can we rescue when we can’t tell apart our enemies
as they are free to live joyous lives?
A young girl, her father’s baby
wisps of long lashes rest over her chubby cheeks
tendrils of hair shape her petite face
she’s not sleeping, not with the way he holds her with tension in his breaths
clouds of stinging pain in his shadowed eyes
she’s not sleeping, but I wish she is
her beautiful face marred by the dark blood running down her face
tears of the world on a day of prayer
tears shouldn’t be red
and we shouldn’t be crying
why must man be unjust
has pain replaced peace,
have your hearts gone to dust
children in the neighborhood on lockdown in schools
imagine the eyes of the youth, blurry from fright
the thoughts of their teachers, the terrors their parents face at night
sisters and brothers leaning into one another
the men in blue, and the paramedics speeding with flashes of light
do they cry too
their neighbors are dead
who is left to protect?
who is next?
synagogues, churches, temples and mosques
does it matter
if you’re bricks and stone of peace
symbols of sanctuary?
bouquets of peaceful ivory, valuable gold, nurturing shades of pink, and ambitious strengths of purple
cries of blue
and ruby petals;
they’re dying too
I hope to see you in paradise
your friends and family, neighbors and carers
I hope murder on holy friday
no longer makes the news
but I hope I don’t lose
my faith in you
- (holy Friday)