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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Poem: Journey to No Man’s Land

(April 2008 - Reflections on a bus tour to Manzanar, the internment camp of the US Government interning its own citizens during WWII)

By Shakeel Syed

Winding roads
Climbing elevation
Air-conditioned bus
Videos playing
Munching on snacks
Laughs and giggles
Stories and gossips

Everything Stops, ‘every-thing” – at least for me
Still Moments – Silence Amidst Clamor

Yes, we reached the grounds …
Holy Grounds … where

Their humanity was stripped
Their dignity was raped, and
Their honor was robbed … AND

Here we were, with our concerns,
Heat, dust, make shift bathrooms … AND

I wished we would remember to remember the –
Mothers, who experienced their motherhood trampled on
Fathers, who saw their children confined to 10x10 cells – AND
Children, who watched their parents tilling the land, devoid of life

Long seventy years of agony for them – “rewinded”
Short four hours of journey for us – “fast forwarded”
The video of life keeps playing …
Too slow for them, and
Much too fast for us

Barely a moment to pause, reflect … and try,
Just a bit harder … and
Feel their pain,
Suffer their anguish, and
Embrace their sorrow …

Are we?

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