Poetry of Palestinian resistance by Mahmoud Darwish – Middle East Monitor
Mahmoud Darwish is the best known Palestinian poet and writer internationally, although still little known in Brazil. He is the author of 30 books of poetry and eight books of prose, translated into more than 40 languages, and winner of the Prize for Cultural Freedom, the Lannan Foundation (United States), the Lenin Prize for Peace ( ex-Soviet Union) and was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France. His works in the 1960s and 1970s reflect his opposition to the occupation of his homeland.
“He was the prince of words, and his name was Mahmoud Darwish,” said Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury. Darwish was a very sensitive poet with a fighting spirit who used poetic phrases such as: “How can a hand write if it is not creative when brewing coffee.”
Besides the drafting of the resounding Declaration of Independence of Palestine, proclaimed by the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat, on November 15, 1988, in Algiers, Algeria, he has always taken a position firm in the defense of the liberation of Palestine. . As a result, he withdrew from the organization after the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993, which he called a “give and take” between the PLO and Israel. Darwish considered the Oslo Accords to be “the greatest recklessness ever committed by a leader [Arafat] to their people. “
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Darwish was born in the Palestinian village of Al-Birwa, Galilee, in 1941, to a Sunni family of small farmers. He was the second of eight siblings. The village where he was born was occupied and razed by the occupying Zionist forces during the Nakba process in 1948. This led the Darwish to take refuge in Lebanon for a year, where they began to live as “foreigners”. “. On his return, the poet found that his house in Al-Birwa had been replaced by a Jewish settlement with the new name of “Ahihud”.
He was arrested several times between 1961 and 1967 for reciting poetry and traveling between villages in occupied Palestine “without permission” by “Jewish state” forces. His poem “Identity Card”, which was turned into a protest song, resulted in his house arrest warrant. After these persecutions and arrests, Darwish was forced into exile, which led him to places like Cairo, Tunis, Moscow, Beirut and Paris, only to return in 1996, when he was allowed by occupation to attend funerals.
The expulsion of Palestinians is a recurring theme in Darwish’s work. It depicts the trajectory of anguish, pain and suffering due to deaths and evictions since the creation of the “State of Israel” and calls Palestine the “lost paradise” and the “land of divine messages” revealed to mankind ”, as described in Declaration of Independence. His work reveals the unbroken and unchanged organic relationship between the Palestinian people, their land and their history.
The Brazilian public will be able to get to know this poet of the Palestinian soul with the launch of the book Memória para o esquecimento (Memory for oblivion) (Editora Tabla, 216 pages), published October 22, 2021. The presentation was made by Safa Jubran, who translated the book into Portuguese, and by Professor Geraldo Campos, a dear friend, coordinator of the Study Center Arab and Islamic Studies from the Federal University of Sergipe. It is one of three Darwish books available to Brazilian readers, published in Brazil by Editora Tabla.
The book recounts personal memories of August 6, 1982, coincidentally, the anniversary of the US terrorist attack on Hiroshima. It was one of 88 days of the siege in which Zionist state planes dropped bombs on Beirut, killing people – a reality Darwish experienced closely during his exile in Lebanon. The book looks back on the meaning of exile – and not of the diaspora – and on the role of the writer in times of crisis and war. His work expresses his love for Palestine and its people, who “have existed and have resisted” for over 73 years.
The published books make up for the lack of Darwish works in Portuguese, such as those published last year: Da Presença da Ausência (In the presence of absence), translated directly from Arabic by Marco Calil; and Eleven Astros (Eleven stars), translated by Michel Sleiman. Another book by Darwish published in Brazil is A Terra nos é estreita e outros poemas (Earth is close to us and other poems) (تضيق بنا الارض), translated from Arabic by Paulo Daniel Farah (Bibliaspa, 2012).
Darwish’s work is steeped in testimonies of life and struggle, marked by suffering in exile and the attempt to uproot the Palestinian people from their land. The author’s poems and stories bring an intimate feeling that is the same as that of the Palestinian people, in which resistance, by any means, is the only way to survive and the only way to liberate Palestine from it. Zionist colonial occupation.
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Darwish has never renounced his status as a resistant Palestinian national poet, making it clear in every line of his work that the suffering of Palestinians is not just that of those living under occupation or in exile. Such torment belongs to everyone, since the crimes perpetrated daily by the Jewish state are crimes against humanity.
The question present in Darwish’s work is a question that everyone asks: why should the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel in the territory of historic Palestine without defined borders and in permanent expansion, and agree to small islands of land as if Palestine were a mini-state? The author himself answers it in his poem “Identity Card”: “Is the government going to take the stones away from me, as they told me?” Then he writes at the top of the first page: “I hate no one, I do not steal from anyone. But if I am hungry, I will devour the flesh of the usurper. Watch out! Watch out for my hunger, Watch out for my anger! “
The opinions expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.