It all started that year. 1948, the year Israelis set foot in Palestine. Since then, no Palestinian’s eye flickered into sleep in peace. Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian-Canadian activist and poet who wishes children in Palestine could live like any other child around the globe. One of the very successful and remarkable poems that she wrote is "We Teach Life, Sir." It is actually more of a free-verse.This poem contains a lot of poetic devices and figurative language. All of these examples present the reader with a broad perception of the piece of poetry.
Repetition is one of the ways to convince or tell listeners that you are making an important statement. In "We Teach Life, Sir," Ziadah uses repetition as seen here: "No sound-bite, no sound-bite, no sound-bite, no sound-bite." She wants the reader to understand how limited her words are because journalists and reporters from around the world want specific quotes to add into their blogs and reports. They only use the refugee as a "fake proof" to prove their point and thesis.
Comparison between human and non-human actions is a handy way to express the meaning behind the statement. Ziadah used personification in the following line. "Patience has just escaped me." By saying that, she is informing the reader that she is no longer patient. Another idea she is stating indirectly by using personification in that line is that the journalist took it too far. He or she is trying to make her say that the refugees are wrong and Israel has the right to occupy Palestine.
In the poem, you can find a lot of examples that cover metaphors. A notable example is "Today my body was a Tv’d massacre." Within this line, the speaker is comparing himself and his body to a Tv’d massacre because he is being recorded as he supposedly "dies." But instead of literally dying, he is being killed by their questions. A second poetic device is irony. "I perfected my english and learned my UN resolutions but still he asked me, ‘Ms. Ziadah, don’t you think it would all be resolved if you would just stop teaching so much hatred to your children?’" The irony in this quote is the part where she says that even though I did all I can, he still asked me the question I could never stand.
Sarcasm is mostly used when answering a question in a logical but slightly rude way. Ziadah was being sarcastic about what the journalist said when she said,"They felt sorry for the cattle over Ghaza." Here, what is being said could be more than one thing. One of the meanings is that people never care about the refugees being hurt, but instead, the care more about the cattle. Another meaning could be that she is comparing herself and other displaced Palestinians to the massacre of cattle. When humans massacre cattle, it is usually done for food, so, it is very usual to people. Notice, this line supports another one, "Move those who are desensitized to terrorist blood." Ziadah is explaining that the slaughter of all these children, women and elderly is ignored more than the slaughter of cattle.
How are pictures transformed into words? Well, this is where imagery comes in to do the trick! "Do you have enough bone broken limbs to cover the sun?" Imagine all those dead bodies piled up on top of each other and the number is so huge they even block the sun in the sky! And what’s worse, all of these bodies are victims of only one occupation. This line supports the following, "A hundred dead, two hundred dead, and a thousand dead." Here, Ziadah is explaining how unbelievably huge the number of victims is. This imagery may be very dark and sad, but it is still very strong and powerful.
I personally never heard a bombing in my life before. This poem is actually enough. It is like a bomb right in my face because of all the meaning it holds. I think if I do hear a bomb exploding, I will recall the poem "We Teach Life, Sir" and remind myself that this is not just a moment of terror, but an opportunity to become stronger. It is also an opportunity to teach the rest of the world life, sir.