I'm working on a revision of the Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach (that link goes to last year's post about last year's edition) -- this will be version 7.1, which is basically version 7 with a few Hebrew typos amended, with a couple of new readings, and with two pages which aim to connect our spiritual, symbolic, and internal story of liberation with the liberation struggles of so many people in the Middle East and North Africa this year.
I'll also offer those two pages as a special insert, which could be printed and used alongside a copy of last year's edition of the VR Haggadah -- or, for that matter, printed and used alongside any haggadah at all! The insert contains a brief explanation in prose, and then a pair of poems. One of the poems is mine; the other is by Sue Swartz of Awkward Offerings, and it's really powerful. I can't wait to share it with y'all.
I'll offer the insert as a downloadable pdf alongside the pdf of the revised haggadah soon, but wanted to share my own poem here before the insert, and the revised haggadah, are formally launched. I'd love to know what y'all think.
In remembrance of the 2011 protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Gabon, Bahrain, Libya, and elsewhere.
Liberation comes when people gather
by the tens and by the thousands
demanding that the despot who's held the reins
step down, and in between the slogans
they dish out lentils cooked over open flame,
and homes open up so the protestors can shower
and members of one faith link hands
to protect members of another faith at prayer.
Liberation comes at a cost: not only
the horses and chariots swept away, but
innocents gunned down by their own army,
panicked children lost in the roiling crowds
activists imprisoned for speaking freely,
and when the world stops watching
they may be beaten -- or worse.
It's upon us to at least pay attention
on mobile phones and computer screens
as real people rise up to say
we have the right to congregate and to speak
we will not be silenced, we are not afraid.