I open my eyes to have my ears pop
Hearing the sounds of deafening shrieks and screams
I close my eyes
Praying it goes away but it doesn’t.

I see hordes of dark camo green
Gushing in like a virus that has infected a computer
Tanks start deliberately making their way towards my direction
behind I glimpse units of families grasping on to their loved ones for dear life.

Where is my loved one where I can cling on to
I yell “Mom!” “Dad!”
This is just a nightmare
I’ll wake up in my marvelous bed, my safe haven.

I pinch myself trying to escape this everlasting misery
But I cannot escape reality
This is life
This can’t be life

My life is full of exuberance
My life is football
Playing catch with dad at the park
Watching the NFL every Sunday.

My life is ecstatic
My life is momma
Helping mom with the groceries every Saturday afternoon
Watching her make her phenomenal Tiramisu to my pleasure.

A bullet whizzes past me and snips the top of my hair off
I see a man dashing towards me in efforts to save me from the shots
Yet he too gets caught in the crossfire.

I run for my dear life towards cover behind rocks.
Here I see innocent young boys using these rocks and throwing them at the soldiers.
As they throw their rocks they scream!
“Free Palestine!”

The horror arises from me as it hits me
The surroundings are so different
The dust ever flowing throughout the air
Their Arabic graffiti encarved in all the buildings.

The military against a boy with a rock
Who is right? Who is wrong?
I am not one to know
I just wish the truth had a tongue.

Taha Farooqi is completing his freshman year at Wayzata High School. He composed “A Child from Gaza” for an assignment, envisioning all the senses in the photo of the young child above (reminiscent of the iconic image of Faris Odeh from October 2000).