Saturday, August 09, 2008

And Where Will They Bury Mahmoud Darwish?

Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish has died after surgery at the age of 67, hospital and Palestinian Arab officials say. He suffered complications after undergoing open-heart surgery in Houston Texas.

Here are some of his thoughts in June 1982:-

Shortly after noon, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish comes by the Commodore. He has written no poems about the war. "I write my silence," he says. "I need distance to be a witness, not a victim." Since words are powerless against tanks, he feels that his silence is stronger than words. Still, a poem has power. Is Palestine itself a poem? "Yes," he says. "Because a poem is an unachieved desire."

Yet, at the moment, he is "fed up with poetry and refugee camps and walls." He believes that "Beirut is our last stand. From here to the grave, or to the homeland." Then he relents a bit. "We have to save the idea before we save Beirut. Beirut is not the capital of our idea." Darwish is 40. He has been a refugee four times and has been thrown in jail. "If the Palestinians find a homeland, they may discover the same dilemma as the Jews. The Jews were great creators in the abstract. Now only their army is great. Israel is the grave of Jewish greatness."

Darwish had published a poem during the first Intifada, one which I read in an English-language Arab periodical named Al-Awdah (The Return). It's theme was:

"Leave our land and take your dead bones with you".
I guess he'll not want the same treatment for his bones, eh?

Pic credit


Haim Watzman said...

See my response at

LeaNder said...

Can you tell me in what poem collection I would find: "The Return", so I can understand your argument?