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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Poems for Palestine: From the Internet

Michael Smith's 2008 Free Verse supplement, featuring selections from Mahmoud Darwish's "A State of Siege (fragments)", with its beautiful, compelling observation:
This siege will last until we teach our enemy
selections of pre-Islamic poetry.
Other poets featured are Ghassan Zaqatan, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Samih Al-Qasim, Sharif S. Elmusa, Fadwa Tuqan, Abd al-Aziz al-Maqalih, Samer Abu Hawwash, Naomi Shihab Nye, Seema Atalla, Saud el-Asadi, Izzidin al-Manasrah, Jihad Hudaib, Omar Shabbanah, Ahmad Dahbour, Anas al-Ayla, Mohammad H Ghanaiem, Nathalie Handal, Khaled Abdallah, Walid Khazendar, Youssef Abd al-Aziz, Ghazi al-Theeba, Khairi Mansour, and Mourid Barghouti.

John Berger reads from Mahmoud Darwish's "Mural."

And Ghassan Kanafani's "Letter from Gaza", written more than 50 years ago:
"In the middle of the year, that year, the Jews bombarded the central district of Sabha and attacked Gaza, our Gaza, with bombs and flame-throwers. That event might have made some change in my routine, but there was nothing for me to take much notice of; I was going to leave. this Gaza behind me and go to California where I would live for myself, my own self which had suffered so long. I hated Gaza and its inhabitants. Everything in the amputated town reminded me of failed pictures painted in grey by a sick man. Yes, I would send my mother and my brother's widow and her children a meagre sum to help them to live, but I would liberate myself from this last tie too, there in green California, far from the reek of defeat which for seven years had filled my nostrils. The sympathy which bound me to my brother's children, their mother and mine would never be enough to justify my tragedy in taking this perpendicular dive. It mustn't drag me any further down than it already had. I must flee!"
Read the full letter on the tanjara.

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