Obituary: Mahmoud Darvish (Palestinian poet)

Mahmoud Darwish
Poet, author and politician who helped to forge a Palestinian consciousness after the six-day war in 1967
Peter Clark The Guardian, August 11 2008

They fettered his mouth with chains,
And tied his hands to the rock of the dead.
They said: You're a murderer.
They took his food, his clothes and his banners,
And threw him into the well of the dead.
They said: You're a thief.
They threw him out of every port,
And took away his young beloved.
And then they said: You're a refugee.

With poems from the 1960s such as this, Mahmoud Darwish, who has died in a Texas hospital aged 67 of complications following open-heart surgery, did as much as anyone to forge a Palestinian national consciousness, and especially after the six-day war of June 1967. His poems have been taught in schools throughout the Arab world and set to music; some of his lines have become part of the fabric of modern Arabic culture.

Darwish was born in the village of Birwa, east of Acre. His parents were from middle-ranking peasant families. Both were preoccupied with work on their land and Mahmoud was effectively brought up by his grandfather. When he was six, Israeli armed forces assaulted the village and Mahmoud fled with his family to Lebanon, living first in Jezzin and then in Damour.

When, the following year, the family returned to their occupied homeland, their village had been obliterated: two settlements had been erected on the land, and they settled in Deir al-Asad in Galilee. There were no books in Darwish's own home and his first exposure to poetry was through listening to an itinerant singer on the run from the Israeli army. He was encouraged to write poetry by an elder brother.

For complete article, click here

For Picture source, click here

Also see:
A Profile of Mahmoud Darvish - Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre
Mahmoud Darwish is gone, but his struggles are not yet laid to rest - Daily Star


Anonymous said…
Look at this obituary of Darwish on CNN. First, of course, I don't expect anything less than stupid from CNN's coverage of the world. But Darwish did NOT give the Palestinian people their identity. It existed long before he was born. Secondly, notice that one of the most important element of his life is omitted from this obituary: that this man--this poet--was put under house arrest by the Israeli military occupation for close to a decade and only because he wrote poetry that offended Israeli occupiers of Palestine. Just think about that. This is why the question should always be: not why would anybody support Israel, but why would any humane person not to be opposed to the very existence of such a state. This is a state that puts a poet who never carried a gun under house arrest.
Posted by As'ad at 6:34 AM

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