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Student Poetry Corner - The License, The Authority

The Delphian has introduced this poetry section so students may submit their original poems to be considered for publication. Submit poems up to 250 words to delphian@adelphi.edu and elizabethpanchyk@mail.adelphi.edu.



The License, The Authority

By Arib Khan (freshman international relations major)


This was a poem I was inspired to write because of something I’ve noticed with people when it comes to talking about politics and conflict. It has always appeared to me that people are often obsessed with memorizing, sanctifying and repeating the arguments and the narratives that support their side. They know anything and everything to do with the side that they support, and they believe in the sanctity of these arguments and terms more than they do the sanctity of life itself. This is especially true when it comes to trying to justify acts of cruelty and human vileness, and, in my experience, with the injustices committed against the people of Palestine. It’s almost impressive, how this way of thinking can make it so a man shot and left to bleed in his homeland is somehow in the wrong. How an olive garden can be burned to cinders with the thought that it was all legislated, justified and therefore the only right thing to do. The simple truth is, we can argue semantics and treaties and definitions on the international stage all we like, but we aren’t fooling the ones who are sitting there, on the ground, waiting for someone they love to wake up, and for their livelihoods to stop burning. The oppressor relies on the laws and definitions that he established, but his victim needs only to point at the graves of his family.



There is a reason why

the Republicans and the Democrats

and the old angry men and the young wealthy girls

and the professors and the students

and the Rosh HaMemshala and the government ministers

all try so very hard to know and remember

the treaties and the articles and the proclamations and the declarations and

the speeches and the figures and the court decisions and the warrants and

the legal terminologies and the textbooks and the testimonies and

the definitions and the condemnations that they

were taught in school and in the school yards.


It is because those are the things that they repeat to themselves,

remind themselves of,

whisper to their darkening hearts,

whenever they shoot down a young Palestinian boy,

who knows nothing of political parties nor of UN proclamations

nor of non-combatants nor of the crucial difference between a

terrorist and a soldier.


All he knows is that

his father is dead and

his mother is screaming and

his sister was raped and

his brother is in jail and

his house and his bed have been

taken out from under him.


But we are certain that if he knew of

the proclamations and the treaties and the declarations and that

if he would have just spoken to such-and-such professors or heard

such-and-such arguments and understood a few very important definitions,

that he would be very understanding.

Yes, he would be very understanding.

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