Ottawa Spotlight اضواء أوتاوا

Hitch your wagon to a star

A Poet of Al-Hojaria - Canada: Dr. Qais Ghanem من شعراء الحجرية- كندا : الدكتور قيس غانم

Dr. Qais Ghanem is a physician, teacher, broadcaster, activist and poet. He is a Graduate of the University of Edinburgh, was on the clinical faculty at McMaster University, and currently is on the Faculty of the University of Ottawa, practicing medicine at the Ottawa Hospital where he is Director of the Sleep Centre; and the National Defence Medical Centre, where he is Director of the Neurophysiology and Sleep Laboratory. He has over 20 medical publications. He is past president of the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists 2002-2005.

In his voluntary non-professional capacity, Dr. Ghanem has been Past President of the Arab Canadian University Graduates Association (1992-2002), Past Chair of the Education Committee of Ottawa Chapter of Fair Vote Canada, member of the Ottawa Chapter of the Council of Canadians and a member of the Ottawa Health Coalition (for universal public health care). In 2002, he was also the initiator and co-founder of Potlucks for Peace, a dialogue group of Jews and Arabs in Ottawa.

Dr. Ghanem's broadcaster and activist roles have lead to a weekly Friday noon radio show on CHIN Radio 97.9FM entitled “Dialogue with Diversity” where he interviews people from different ethnic groups every Friday at noon. The radio show is supported by a website where he uploads these audio tapes and the pictures of his guests. He is also a published poet, and some of his poetry is on this website. He is frequently invited as a speaker on peace and human rights issues. Dr. Ghanem is quite familiar with utilizing media and internet technologies to spread important messages to the public. His interest in breaking down barriers between different groups led him to start a web page entitled Coming Events, chronologically listing the social and political events of all ethnic and social groups in Ottawa.

Dr. Ghanem was born in Yemen, moved to Canada 37 years ago and has lived in Ottawa South for the past 13 years. He speaks English, French, Arabic and basic Italian. He is married with two daughters and two grandsons. His personal motto is SCSC which stands for Stop Complaining - Start Contributing.

Running for the Green Party in the next Federal Election is his way of contributing to building a better future for his and all other grandchildren. He has promised to raise all the issues that others are afraid or unwilling to raise, and to demand accountability from government. He believes very strongly in the equality of people irrespective of origin or education or income. He has always recognized that people want respect, want to be heard and often want to contribute to society, and he will dedicate his time to achieve that. He hopes to make a palpable difference.


Come stay with me my little cockroach
Do not run away as I approach
I mean no harm or any reproach
On your little space I won’t encroach

You leave the crack in that damp wall
Of my little cell which I would call
Guantanamo’s darkest hell hole
Every evening for your short stroll

And when you come and roam at night
I wonder if you see my plight
When you do stare from that great height
Do I seem such a miserable sight?
A withering frame of skin and bone
No sparkling eyes, no muscle tone
Ankles shackled, face bruised, beard grown
Always alone, all ways alone
Always forlorn and not a sound
Mouldy mattress on the ground
And thick damp walls that surround
My body and soul all year round

You cannot know what isolation
Can do to men from any nation
No matter what their occupation
They would prefer strangulation

And all I want is to see you there
Looking at me with a tiny pair
Of eyes that roam every where
And at my face would always stare

You can’t imagine what a pleasure
It is for me in great measure
To see you there in your leisure
A sight of life I do treasure

For unlike me you hit the track
To see your mate in that wee crack
And when you are afraid of the dark
He'll hold you tight and stroke your back

And unlike me you'll see your son

And hold him close and have some fun

Happy hours pass, the day is done
For you have them while I have none

Far away from me my daughter Hend
Who will shield her and who will fend
For her and them and who will send
One word about me going round the bend

Both you and I yearn for contact
With life and love, and to react
To keep our minds and wits intact
Please do come sign with me this pact
That if I die without nurture
Under the knife of that butcher
Who hates my race and my culture
You will depict my true picture .

A Mother’s Lament

You pull the wool over our eyes

You talk the talk and sermonize

You tell the world: democratize!

And we believe and think you wise

When country calls, the young will rise

Of every race and every size

To shield the land and realize

Their youthful dreams, their enterprise

My boy flew far across the skies

To brave the heat, the sand, the flies

He stood on guard, no one denies

And fought the war with his allies

But then we learn, to our surprise

The weapons of doom, were but a guise

To start this war and synthesize

A lame excuse, one pack of lies!

If it was just, then please advise

Why Dick* and Paul* and your own Vice

Who pushed for war, we would surmise

Kept their kids home, but sent our guys?

And while you cause my son's demise

You neither care, nor sympathize

You ride your bike, and so despise

A sea of tears, as a mother cries!

So help me George, look in my eyes

And tell me why one soldier dies

So help me George, look in my eyes

And tell me why my Casey dies.

The Leaders' Debate

‘Steve’ Harpush during the Leader’s Debate:

Let us be clear, clear as mud

Let us be clear, runs in my blood

Let us be clear, flows like a flood

Great on my tongue and my taste bud

It regurgitates, like chewing the cud

Let us be clear, my platform is dud.

Shock Doctrine

I ask myself: where are my tears

When I see all that blood and gore

Even the toys are dripping red

Missing a limb, without a head

The bombed out homes, and scattered toys

Starving hordes of girls and boys

Terrified stares tell us their fears

While bullets whiz past tiny ears

Their tender flesh singed with phosphor

Their mothers shot, all over the floor

Did you not see the baby’s brain?

Hanging out of a shattered head

He cannot feel any more pain

For he is now very very dead

Children roaming like a lost tribe

Sucking water from a broken pipe

Cannot find food, for there is none

And what there was is already gone

Their fear is real, the anguish deep

Who will feed them? And who will keep

Their frail thin limbs warm in the night?

Does any one care about their plight?

And that brave girl who spoke one day

Into the mike, we heard her say

Why have I been of parents deprived?

Buy bullets of those who suddenly arrived

In armour and tanks, bristling with steel

To pillage and kill, destroy and steal

Do they not know how lonely I feel?

Will anyone stop to hear my appeal?

Is this indeed that “Shock Doctrine”

The one described by Naomi Klein

Meted this time to Palestine

And six years ago to helpless Iraq

Will Iran be next, President Barak?

Prayer for Peace: Not Just The Few

Recited at Prayer for Peace Event at Ottawa City Hall, 2006.

I cast my eyes, and see the people
Then to the skies, towards the steeple
I look up high, and see the stars
That wink at me, and there is Mars
That god of war, which we abhor
For it is peace, that we stand for
As we repeat, three times and four
And every day, for-ever more
Here we gather, mother, father
Linking our hands, firmer, harder
So look at us, do you not see
One human mass, big as the sea
Made up of waves, of diverse shape
That ebb and rise, in one landscape
Together we live, with no escape
Together we die, if we look agape
And let Martians, pillage and rape
For all we leave are bags of bones
Six foot under heavy head stones
Whether you’re Ali, or Doctor Jones
Whether we’re white or other clones
Whether we sit on sand or thrones
Almighty God, the god of all
Of black and white, of big and small
Whose name we see, on every scroll
On this fine day, of a golden fall
In this our land, at this town hall
I’ll bend my knees, or stand up tall
And ask of you, to hear my call
To end the hate, and crush the wall
To grant us peace and bless our soul
And with my verse, I say to you
Come shake my hand, if you’re a Jew
And kiss my cheek, if you’re Hindu
Let Christians come, join the queue
Let Muslims in, to bring their crew
And Sikhs arrive, in turbans blue
Let’s welcome all, and humanists too
Let’s banish war, and stage a coup
Against the racists, no matter who
Here is my wish: we must come through
Hot bread for all, not the well-to-do
Shelter the child, of every hue
Shield the woman, gentle and true
Respect for all, long overdue
And peace for all, not just the few!


When did I ever choose to be born
In the heat and the dust of Darfur
My young mother, barely sixteen
So pure, has been taken like a whore
Never chose to be raped that dark night
By two men then by three then by four
Or to carry that deep shame in her womb
While the world all around was at war
To give birth to this skinny bag of bones
In whose lips withered breasts cannot pour

Too feeble to fend off all the flies
Off my eyes, off my nose, off my sore
Dancing around as death draws ever close
Who can know what misery is in store
Flapping wings buzzing deep in my ear
In my shack I can never shut the door
They seem happy slurping away my tear
While they wait for my flesh, I am sure

When you next see my face on TV
And you wonder if there is any cure
Take a look at your child, then at me
Is my life worth living any more?

The Merchants of War

The merchants of war have done it again!
They took our billions to line their pockets
And sold us warheads to fire with rockets
To guard the thrones of those who reign
While children scavenge in rubbish dumps
And those with luck find little crumbs
To silence the gnawing hunger and pain
For what does it matter if they drop dead?
As long as mongers can sell their lead
To wage endless war on every plain
To crush the people who dare to resist
And label each man and child terrorist
Until they yield their gas and propane
But deserts will armour corrode and rust
Like ashes to ashes and dust to dust
Twenty billion flushed down the drain
The mongers of war have much to gain
I often wonder and ask in vain
If the ornate Iqal sits on a brain?

A Song to Kandahar

Don’t forget that I am waiting
And the nights have been long
While I wait I can only
Sing away at my song

Can you hear it over there?
Where few would ever dare
And the life is hard to bear
Think of me, and stay strong

Tell the ones who sent you far
To the land of Kandahar
Under that lonley star
I was right, and they were wrong

When you see woman and child
Imagine me and do be kind
To their anguish don’t be blind
For they're lost in the throng

I count the days till we meet
I’ll be waiting on the street
Jumping for joy on my feet
Come home to me where you belong .

الدكتور قيس محمد عبده غانم الحجري الأصل الكندي الجنسية، يشغل حاليا رئيسا لقسم الأعصاب في المستشفى العسكري في العاصمة أوتاوا. يقيم في كندا منذ العام 1975م، وإلى جانب نبوغه في المجال الطبي فهو ناشط ومذيع وشاعر متميز وصدر له ديوان بعنوان " تنويعات على الأوتار الخمسة " وله قصائد مغناة من أبرزها الأغنية المشهورة " الزين جزع مرة " التي تغنى بها عدد من الفنانين وفي مقدمتهم الفنان العدني سام بامدهف، والسعودي طلال مداح. الدكتور قيس القرشي-الحجري من مواليد مدينة عدن الباسلة عام 1939، خريج جامعة ايدنبرج Edinburg البريطانية ويتحدث اللغة الإنجليزية والفرنسية وقليلا من الإيطالية. ترأس جمعية خريجي الجامعات العرب الكنديين من عام 1992 وحتى عام 2002م، اختاره حزب الخضر الكندي مرشحا له لخوض المنافسة على مقعد جنوب العاصمة أوتاوا عام 2008 . مختارات من أشعارة باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية:


عانِقوهم قبّلوهم واركعوا فوق السّجادِ.. سا نِدوهم وادفعوهم نحو تمزيق البلاد.. جوّعوا غزة حتى ليس يبقى في العباد رجلٌ يجرؤ أمراً غير تقبيل الأ ياديأ ..و فتا ةُ تحفظ العرض بلا ماءٍ و زا دأ ..و غلا مٌ ينشد النوم ليحظى بالرقاد.. إن أبيدوا في طلوع الفجر أو وسط السواد.. سوف تتبعهم بقايا ذلك الشعب المباد..من أريحا ثمّ عمّا نٍ الى يوم المعاد.. فهنيأً يا رئيساً, يا ملوكاً للبوا د.. يحاصِروا شعبا ً سجينا ً كبّلوه للأعا د.. يثمّ

ذ وقوا من كؤوس النصر في يوم الحد ا د


تظنّينني ما عرفت الهوى.. لأني كبرت وظهري التوى؟
ورأسي بياضاً بدا شيبه .. ومن ساعديّ تخو ر القوى
تقولين أني هرمت وما .. بقلبي حنينٌ ونارُ الجوى
و أنّي هزبرٌ بلا لبدةٍ .. بدونِ زئيرٍ قديما ً عوى

تعالي نمتّع هذا الجسدْ .. و نترك للحاسدين الحسد
قريباً ستصبح أوصالنا .. كأ وصال ليثٍ إذا ما فسد
و تخبو جمار الهوى فجأةً.. إنِ ِ اللمس ولّى وقلب ٌ كسد
وهل تنفع الليث َ ألقابه ُ .. إذا قيلَ وردٌ هزبرٌ أسد ؟

دعيني أضمّكِ عند المساء .. و عند الصباح أزفّ الورود
ولا تبعدي إن أتت خطوتي .. لعلّي أقبّل بين الخدود
أكرّر رشفاً فلا أنتهي .. ومن سنّ للحبّ تلك الحدود؟
دعينا نبوح بأشعارنا .. فما حلّ بالأمسِ قد لا يعود

ضعي راحتي فوق ذاك الحرير.. وشدّي الأنامل فوق الأكم
دعيني أحلّق فوق التلا ل .. فألثم منها رؤوس القمم
ومنها أسافر عبر السهول.. بوادٍ أصادف بعض النّعم
أفتش عن غابةٍ من ظلا ل.. لأ وغلَ في عمقها و الظّلم
تظنينني قد سلوت الهوى..و قد كنت يوماً شهاباً هوى
الا تسمعين فؤادي الذي .. بضمّ الغواني نما وارتوى
ضعي راحتيك على نابضٍ.. بحبك انت ذوى واشتوى
اذا كان قلبكِ في رجفة ٍ.. فهل لكِ في جرعة ٍ من دو

نداء إلى الحكام

قولوا لحكّام البلا د تمهّلوا ..وتأ مّلوا ما حلّ بالصّدّ ا م
أنتم تريدون البقاء لعرشكم ..وكذا تريد بقيّة الأقوام
فلتسمعوا ماذا تقول شعوبكم..كي تنعموا في يقظة ٍ و منا م
فالشّعب هبّ من السّبات محاسبا .. كلّ الملوك و سائر الحكّام
فلتعدلوا وترفّقوا برجا لكم .. والدّين يفرض رحمة الأرحام
أنتم لهم وهمو لكُم إن تدركوا.. بالعرق والتاريخ و الأسلام
فلتتركوا ذكراً حميداً خالدا ً.. فالقبر منتظر ٌ لكل ّ عظام
والغرب لا يسطيع دفع منيّةٍ .. عنكم و لا صدّا ً لأيّ حسام
إنّ الحشود إذا أرادت حقّها .. فعروشكم ستطيح كالأصنام

في مستهل 2007

يا رفيق الدرب لا تحزن إذا متّ فأصبحت عظاماً أ و ترابا
إ نما عشت عقوداً أصرخ الصد ق لمن يصغي ثم ّ أ تلوه عتابا
أنت تد ري كيف قاسيت صنوفا ًمن هموم ٍ ثم ّ ساهرت ألوفا ًمن نجوم ٍ
لم أجد من بينها نجما ً رؤوفا ًأو أجد في الناس أذ نا ً أو ضميراً
أو لسانا ًينطق الحق ّ الصوابا
ولئن ذاق العذابا ما يفيد العيش في رغد ٍإذا المسكين لا يسطيع أكلا ً أو شرابا؟
ما يد رّ النوم في قصر ٍعلى فرش ٍ حرير ٍ طالما المحروم
يفترش اليبابا؟
هل يجوز العيش في برج ٍمن العاج ِ إذا الأ طفال لا يلقون درسا ً أو كتابا؟
أو يطيب النوم في جفن ٍإنِ ِ الحاكم لم يلق العقابا كلّما عاث فسادا ً
في حياة الناسِ ِ ِ أو د ق ّ الرقابا؟
يا رفيقي كم تبا د لنا حديثا ً
و قريضا ً وخطا با
إذ كلا نا ينشدالعدل و يستجدي جوابا
دون جدوى ً كلّما رُمنا غديرا ّ
لم نصل الا ّ سرابا
أو تمنّينا سحابا ً لم نجد إلا ّ ضبابا
يا رفيق الدّ رب دعني أترك الأرض لقوم ٍ شيّد وا فيها قصورا ً
ثم ّ زادوها خرابا
واشتروا فيها رجالا ً واقتنوا منها قحابا
قل وداعا ً يا صديقي كن صبورا ً
كلّنا سوف يولّي تا ركا ً خلّا ً وأهلا ً و صحابا
ليس فينا من سيبقى لحظة ً أخرى إن ِ الأجراس
أعلنت الذ ّهابا


دونك الليل لوعة ٌ و احتراق ُ
وبك العيش بهجة ٌ وانطلاق ُ
ودم القلب في الوريد سعيرٌ
وبك اليوم احمرٌ دفّاق ُ
ان تظاهرت انني لا ابالي
فلساني مغالط ٌ افّا ق ُ
انا يا منيتي جريح ٌ اسير ٌ
وحنيني و محنتي لا تطاق ُ
فاذكريني في حالكات اليالي
.انت انت الحياة والميثاق

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Ottawa International Poets and Writers for human Rights (OIPWHR)