“Nothing to Worry About” by Remi Kanazi, Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine by Remi Kanazi (Haymarket Books 2015), Islamophobia, Israel-Palestine Conflict, Palestine’s Nakba of 1948, Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi, Spoken word poet
Front Cover: Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine
by Remi Kanazi [Haymarket/USA, 2015]
My Poetry Corner June 2019 features the poem “Nothing to Worry About” from the poetry collection Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine (Haymarket Books, 2015) by Remi Kanazi, a poet, writer, and organizer based in New York City. Born in 1981, he is the son of Palestinian refugees who fled Palestine during the Nakba of 1948 when the state of Israel was established. In this collection, he not only addresses the Israel-Palestine conflict, but also examines racism in America, police brutality, US militarism at home and wars abroad, Islamophobia, and more.
In “Nakba,” the opening poem of the collection, Kanazi shares his maternal grandmother’s story of fleeing from her homeland, living in exile, and not being able to return home.
she was scared
seven months pregnant
guns pointed at temples
For Palestinians worldwide, Nakba, which literally means “catastrophe,” refers to the period 1947 to 1949 when Zionist colonizers ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians and destroyed 531 villages.
Palestinians leaving a village in Galilee after the creation of Israel in 1948
Photo Credit: Aljazeera [Reuters]
Kanazi grew up in a small, predominantly white town in Western Massachusetts where he assimilated American customs. During his teenage years, he learned more about Palestine, but, as the only Arab family in town, he avoided contentious debate. In 2001, four months before 9/11, he moved to New York City.
In an “anti-Arab, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian kind of world,” Kanazi says during his interview with Now This News on April 29, 2019, “[t]o be Palestinian in the United States is to face erasure; it’s to face marginalization.”
After Kanazi attended his first Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, in 2004, he was inspired to begin writing spoken word poetry. Based on his own receptivity, he realized the potential of using this medium to share his political thoughts with the young generation. Continue reading