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Whose antenna need adjusting so it can snag a signal for 200+ Arabic channels you didn’t pay for?


Who get sent home with a teacher’s note about the smell of mama’s packed lunch?  


Who keep sewing kits in the blue butter biscuit tin, your first childhood betrayal?


Who save coupons for that special occasion – your cousin’s cousin’s graduation?


Who all talk at the same time every dinner and gathering and celebration? 


Who live on two mortgages, three doors down from teta and jiddo? 


Who go weddings looking like the city at Christmas, all bangles and bright colour? 


Who haggle at the souks of Lebkemba?


Who coddle all the words, roll them and knead them and give them pet names?


Who have the cleanest bums? (bidet = weapon of choice)


Who trade mansaf for mantu over the fence? 


Who not understood by their parents? Who not understood by their children? 


Who look like a store sign, no Islamic here, no halal here? Who look like they stole our jobs


Who sound like the speech ‘final solution’*? 


Who funeraled our sons even when they’re not dead?


Who know military tanks and choppers over the basketball courts?


Who refuse border force, their lines and their detention centres? 


Who pledge allegiance to Black history, Black country? 


Who look like Mohammed Saleh who look like Mohamed Awad who look like Zaahir and Gamal and Mohidin and the cab driver uncle, the pharmacist, the tradie, the devoted husband, the target practice, the “Fuck off Lebs”, the gangs and riots. 


Who begged to be White? Who made us spectacle? 

*In August 2018, then Senator Fraser Anning invoked the term “the final solution” in an inflammatory speech calling for a plebiscite to end all immigration by Muslims and non-English speaking people “from the third world”. See this article.


Sara Saleh

Sara M. Saleh is a human rights lawyer, organiser, writer, and the daughter of migrants from Palestine, Egypt, and Lebanon, living on Bidjigal land. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published nationally and internationally in English and Arabic. She is co-editor of the groundbreaking 2019 anthology Arab, Australian, Other.


Sara made history as the first poet to win both the Australian Book Review’s 2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize 2020. Her debut novel Songs for the Dead and the Living (Affirm Press) is out this year and a full-length poetry collection, The Flirtation of Girls (UQP) is forthcoming.