|Spring in Palestine by Ismail Shammout (1930-2006|
Regarding Thrall's "The Third Intifada Is Inevitable"... nothing is inevitable- although if Islamists, militants, one state pundits, tyrants, bullies and bigots on both sides push Palestine into a third intifada it really is highly likely that Israel will respond by becoming even more punitive and aggressive about usurping Palestinian land, rights, and resources. I'd rather not help that happen.
Fact is violence has never really done much for Palestine, except make matters worse. Fact is Palestine's poets and painters and citizen diplomats are the ones who actually convinced the world, as well as many Palestinians pushed into forced exile, that Palestine is worth believing in and supporting.
Palestine's freedom and future depend on continued diplomacy with as many people as possible believing in and working towards a fair and just negotiated end to the Israel-Palestine conflict that is firmly based on full respect for international law and basic human rights... including but not limited to the Palestinian refugees inalienable right to return to live in peace.
Anne Selden Annab
"It is in Israel's vital interest to come to a complete resolution of the conflict between it and the Palestinian people sooner rather than later, relieving the weight of this tragic conflict from both of our peoples' shoulders. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to the world." Maen Rashid Areikat: The Time for a Palestinian State Is Now
poem by Tawfiq Zayyad, poet, former Mayor of Nazareth and Knesset member:
I never carried a rifle
On my shoulder
Or pulled a trigger.
All I have
Is a lute’s memory
A brush to paint my dreams,
A bottle of ink.
All I have
Is unshakeable faith
And an infinite love
For my people in pain.
I Belong Thereby Mahmoud Darwish
translated by Carolyn Forché and Munir Akash
I belong there. I have many memories. I was born as everyone is born.
I have a mother, a house with many windows, brothers, friends, and a prison cell
with a chilly window! I have a wave snatched by seagulls, a panorama of my own.
I have a saturated meadow. In the deep horizon of my word, I have a moon,
a bird's sustenance, and an immortal olive tree.
I have lived on the land long before swords turned man into prey.
I belong there. When heaven mourns for her mother, I return heaven to
And I cry so that a returning cloud might carry my tears.
To break the rules, I have learned all the words needed for a trial by blood.
I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
single word: Home.
Beloved poet and Palestinian patriot, Kamal Nasir, a Christian, assasinated by Ehud Barak in 1973, addresses exile and return in this excerpt from "Kamal Nasir's Last Poem,"
Tell my only one, for I love him,
That I have tasted the joy of giving
And my heart relishes the wounds of sacrifice.
There is nothing left for him
Save the sighs from my song...
Save the remnants of my lute
Lying piled and scattered in our house.
Tell my only one if he ever visits my grave
And yearns for my memory,
Tell him one day that I shall return
--to pick the fruits.
- Some words are hard to pronounce—
- He-li-cop-ter is most vexing
- (A-pa-che or Co-bra is impossible)
- But how it can stand still in the sky
- I cannot understand—
- What holds it up
- What bears its weight
- (Not clouds, I know)
- It sends a flashing light—so smooth--
- It makes a deafening sound
- The house shakes
- (There are holes in the wall by my bed)
- And I have a hard time sleeping
- (I felt ashamed when I wet my bed, but no one scolded me).
- Plane—a word much easier to say—
- It flies, tayyara,
- My mother told me
- A word must have a meaning
- A name must have a meaning
- Like mine,
- (Hadeel, the cooing of the dove)
- Tanks, though, make a different sound
- They shudder when they shoot
- Dabbabeh is a heavy word
- As heavy as its meaning.
- Hadeel—the dove—she coos
- Tayyara—she flies
- Dabbabeh—she crawls
- My Mother—she cries
- And cries and cries
- My Brother—Rami—he lies
- And lies and lies, his eyes
- Hit by a bullet in the head
- (bullet is a female lead—rasasa—she kills,
- my pencil is a male lead—rasas—he writes)
- What’s the difference between a shell and a bullet?
- (What’s five-hundred-milli-meter-
- Or eight-hundred-milli-meter-shell?)
- Numbers are more vexing than words—
- I count to ten, then ten-and-one, ten-and-two
- But what happens after ten-and-ten,
- How should I know?
- Rami, my brother, was one
- Of hundreds killed—
- They say thousands are hurt,
- But which is more
- A hundred or a thousand (miyyeh or alf)
- I cannot tell—
- So big--so large--so huge—
- Too many, too much.
- Palestine—Falasteen—I’m used to,
- It’s not so hard to say,
- It means we’re here—to stay--
- Even though the place is hard
- On kids and mothers too
- For soldiers shoot
- And airplanes shell
- And tanks boom
- And tear gas makes you cry
- (Though I don’t think it’s tear gas that makes my mother cry)
- I’d better go and hug her
- Sit in her lap a while
- Touch her face (my fingers wet)
- Look in her eyes
- Until I see myself again
- A girl within her mother’s sight.
- If words have meaning, Mama,
- What is Is-ra-el?
- What does a word mean
- if it is mixed
- with another—
- If all soldiers, tanks, planes and guns are
- What are they doing here
- In a place I know
- In a word I know—(Palestine)
- In a life that I no longer know?
Bloodby Naomi Shihab Nye
"A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands,"
my father would say. And he'd prove it,
cupping the buzzer instantly
while the host with the swatter stared.
In the spring our palms peeled like snakes.
True Arabs believed watermelon could heal fifty ways.
I changed these to fit the occasion.
Years before, a girl knocked,
wanted to see the Arab.
I said we didn't have one.
After that, my father told me who he was,
a good name, borrowed from the sky.
Once I said, "When we die, we give it back?"
He said that's what a true Arab would say.
Today the headlines clot in my blood.
A little Palestinian dangles a toy truck on the front page.
Homeless fig, this tragedy with a terrible root
is too big for us. What flag can we wave?
I wave the flag of stone and seed,
table mat stitched in blue.
I call my father, we talk around the news.
It is too much for him,
neither of his two languages can reach it.
I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,
to plead with the air:
Who calls anyone civilized?
Where can the crying heart graze?
What does a true Arab do now?