More on Mahmoud Darwish

More from 3 Quarks Daily

It is impossible for me to express what I feel about the passing of Mahmoud Darwish. Like many Palestinians, I had grown up reading his poetry in order to express how I feel about whatever significant events happen to Palestinians. I turned to his writings to understand the periods of Palestine’s history that happened before I was born. If ever anyone in history deserved the title of a Poet Laureate, it was indeed Darwish, who spoke the mind of his people in a way I doubt anyone has ever been able to do for any other people. Today, I wake up missing my voice. The real travesty of Darwish’s death is that it revealed to me that he is no longer there to eloquently express to me how I feel about such travesties.

Darwish witnessed the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon…

Throughout ethnic cleansing, living as a second-class citizen, being placed under house arrest, having his second-class citizenship revoked, being chased and hounded from one exile to another, being bombed in almost each of these exiles and living under countless sieges, Darwish’s humanism never succumbed. One of his most popular poems, Rita, spoke of his love for a Jewish Israeli woman by that name; and about the absurdity of wars coming between lovers. This poem was made into a popular song by Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife.

From State of Siege

You, standing at the doorsteps, come in
And drink with us our Arabic coffee
For you may feel that you are human like us;

To the killer: If you had left the fetus thirty days,
Things would’ve been different:
The occupation may end, and the toddler may not remember the time of the siege,
and he would grow up a healthy boy,
and study the Ancient history of Asia,
in the same college as one of your daughters.
And they may fall in love.
And they may have a daughter (who would be Jewish by birth).
What have you done now?
Your daughter is now a widow,
and your granddaughter is now orphaned?
What have you done to your scattered family,
And how could you have slain three pigeons with the one bullet?

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