Jessamine O Connor – Ireland Abstains

????????Jessamine O Connor’s chapbook “Hellsteeth” is available from and is the product of a 2013 artists bursary. She comes from Dublin, and lives in rural Sligo. In 2013 she was short-listed for the Hennessy Literary Award, the Red Line Book Festival competition, and the Dead Good Poetry competition; in 2012 short-listed for the Bradshaw Books manuscript competition; and in 2011 she won both the iYeats, and the Francis Ledwidge awards. One of her poems is installed in the Hawkswell Theatre, Sligo. Publications include The Stinging Fly, Abridged, The Stony Thursday Book, New Irish Writing, the Leaf Books magazine and anthology Balancing Act, Ropes, Crannog, and the online journals The First Cut, Shot Glass Journal, and The Galway Review.



The radio tells us we have abstained,
And the Israeli ambassador is on-air again,
Saying how all those children killed and maimed
Were in fact victims of Palestinians.

A human shield, he declares,
It was Hamas, not us, who killed them,
Why else would they still be there?
Though we let no one out, including civilians.

He is indignant, not for murdered kids,
But for how his state has been portrayed,
And instead of criticising what they did
He warns, it would be better for us to look away.

And at the UN meeting we did just that,
Voted to ignore the Gazan slaughter,
Abstain, as part of an EU pact
To condemn Palestinian sons and daughters.

Patricia O Brien didn’t vote in my name,
Kowtowing to Europe and the USA.
Boaz Modai says he has no shame
For the “most moral army” in the world today.

So the radio tells us and the TV tells us
That it’s a game of two halves and we don’t understand,
And the papers tell us and the governments tell us
To keep playing along, wipe the blood off our hands.

But I know, seeing my girls in soft bare feet,
Or my son on guitar or just reading the net,
That if they were born on a Palestinian street
They’d be lucky if they hadn’t been targets yet.

On hillsides near Gaza, Zionists are celebrating,
Enjoying the view and cheering on drones,
Whooping at each explosion and devastation,
The rubble and tombstones made of peoples homes.

Though also outside the US embassy in Tel Aviv
Israelis are protesting, shouting Not In Our Name.
Israeli Jews begging us to boycott, and believe
That this is genocide, and we should all die of shame.

But here in Ireland we agree to abstain,
Get the ambassador to whitewash the news again,
And again the military fist falls like rain,
Falling on all our children, women, and men.


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