“Member of the Tribe”

Monday, January 26, 2015 - 1:45 pm

“Member of the Tribe”

Unfortunately it's true.
 Like it or not.
 Educated or not.
 This is one of the many things
 Americans don't understand about Iraq.
 Kill a member of the tribe,
 the whole tribe now hates you.
 How could they not?
 The Americans think they hate you today,
 thank you tomorrow.
 Tribes are like tape recorders,
 they won't forget. Don't ask me how
 Arabs kill Arabs, knowing this.
 As for Afghanistan,
 I don't understand that at all.
 I don't understand so many things.
 Still, we must tell what we know.

This poem is excerpted with permission from Naomi Shihab Nye’s collection of poetry, Transfer. For more poetry, visit our Poetry Radio Project.

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is the author of 19 Varieties of GazelleYou & YoursWords Under WordsA Maze Me: Poems for Girls, and Transfer.

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