Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mahmoud Darwish || ID Card


The Mahmoud Darwish Poem That Enraged Lieberman and Regev

An Army Radio discussion of an early work by Mahmoud Darwish has caused an uproar.

Mahmoud Darwish || ID Card


Write it down! I’m an Arab
My card number is 50000
My children number eight
And after this summer, a ninth on his way.
Does this make you rage?
I am an Arab.
With my quarry comrades I labor hard
My children number eight
I tug their bread, their clothes
And their notebooks
From within the rock
I don’t beg at your door
I don’t cower on your threshold
So does this make you rage?
Write it down!
I am an Arab.
I am a name with no honorific.
Patient in a land
Where everything lives in bursting rage
My roots were planted before time was born
Before history began
Before the cypress and the olive trees
Before grass sprouted
My father is from the plough clan
Not from the noble class
My grandfather was a peasant farmer
Had no pedigree
Taught me the pride of the sun
Before teaching me to read
A shack to guard groves is my home,
Made of branches and reeds
Are you pleased with my status?
I am a name with no honorific.
Write it down!
I am an Arab.
Hair color: charcoal
Eye color: brown
Attributes:
A cord around the quffiyeh on my head
My hand as hard as rock
That scratches if you touch it
My address:
I am from a forgotten abandoned village
Its streets nameless
All its men in the fields and quarries
Does this make you rage?
Write it down!
I am an Arab.
You have stolen my ancestors’ groves
And the land we cultivated
I and all my children
Leaving nothing for us and all my grandchildren
Except these rocks
Will your government take them
Like people say?
Therefore,
Write down on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
And I do not steal from anyone
But if I starve
I will eat my oppressor’s flesh
Beware, beware of my starving
And my rage.

1964.

Translated from Arabic by Salman Masalha and Vivian Eden

*

In yet another swipe by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government at freedom of the press, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman summoned Army Radio commander Yaron Dekel for a dressing-down over the broadcast last week of a discussion of this poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish – in a series on formative Israeli texts on the station’s “University on the Air” program.

Earlier, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev slammed the radio station, which has been on the government’s hit list for a while, for having “gone off the rails.”

When he wrote this poem, Mahmoud Darwish was an angry young poet, living in Haifa. He was born in 1941 in the village of El-Birweh (subsequently the site of Moshav Ahihud and Kibbutz Yasur), fled with his landed family in 1947 to Lebanon, returning to the Galilee to scrape by as outsiders in Dir al-Assad.

At the time of writing, the Arab locales in Israel were controlled by the Military Government established in 1948 (and abolished by Moshe Dayan in 1966) and every area of civilian life from registering a birth to traveling outside the locale required a document signed by the military governor.

The exhortation “Write it down, I am an Arab” is addressed to an imagined functionary of that bureaucracy and it is also an exhortation from the poet to himself to write the experience of his community.

As Salman Masalha wrote after Darwish’s post-surgery death in Houston, Texas in 2008, “He found his way to the Arabic-language press of the Israeli Communist Party, and his star as a poet quickly rose. After the war of June 1967… Palestinians on both sides of the border were joined as one group with a fresh wound. Even the neighboring Arab world suddenly discovered an Arab-Palestinian minority, whose members had been forgotten in parts of Palestine and who had become citizens of the State of Israel.”
Mahmoud Darwish, on the poster for a documentary about him.Haaretz

Darwish left Israel to join the Palestine Liberation Organization and become the Palestinian national poet. “Write Down, I’m an Arab” is the title of a documentary about his life by Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin.

Over the years he refined his skills and wrote more sophisticated poetry but this one was always in demand, and he would read it reluctantly, but to great applause. It is without a doubt a formative text for Arab Israelis.
*

Vivian Eden | Poem of the week

Source: Haaretz, July 21, 2016







Share:


Facebook comments:
0 Comments:
Post a Comment

Middle East
  • The Arab world's quagmire

    Only a society that can engage in introspection and self-examination can emerge from its dark past and march confidently to a different future. Otherwise, it will continue to sink into the same marshy swamp.

    Read more

    A Feeble Middle East

    The West learned on its own flesh that this region conducts itself by other codes. Iran has continued to entrench its standing by means of its religious ideology. The toppling of Saddam Hussein shattered the illusion of the existence of a unifying “Iraqi identity” and gave an encouraging shot in the arm to Iran, which is forging ahead.

    Read more

  • The decay in the Arab world

    With great sadness, it can be said that in the absence of a sane civil alternative, the Arab world will continue along this path.

    Read more


    Neither Arab nor Spring

    The vicissitudes that have, for some reason, been collectively dubbed the "Arab Spring" are neither Arab nor Spring. One can say that they are actually living proof of the identity crisis and reverberating bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

    Read more

  • another title

Israel - Palestine
  • Our troubles come from us

    And so we have reached a situation in which every Arab is concerned with his own problems and everyone talks about what preoccupies him personally – that is, his own troubles.

    Read more


  • Never-ending tragedy

    The Israeli right, in all its forms, wants exclusively Jewish control over all of the Land of Israel. To the Palestinians who live in this space, it promises residency – temporary, of course, on condition that they keep their heads down, accept their designated status and behave accordingly.

    Read more
  • Solomon’s Mosque

    Religion, every religion, is the No. 1 enemy of nationalism. But under conditions of tension, such as tribal warfare, these polar opposites combine into a toxic soup that consumes all common sense.

    Read more


Racism
  • They see not, nor know

    The term "neutralize" is very popular with people who have served in the security and expulsion forces. The question to be asked is, What did the poet who spoke of "neutralization" mean in this plan?

    Read more

    For Jews only

    From the moment the pundits followed in the footsteps of the politicians, both large and small, they carried this noxious melody everywhere. They were part of legitimizing the illegitimate in Israeli politics.

    Read more

  • With yearning soul

    The Zionism that aspired to establish a "Jewish home" in the Jews' "ancient homeland" did not take into consideration the fact that the land was not empty. It thus adopted the principle of population transfer, based on the same ancient biblical tradition.

    Read more

    Rabbis of the Dry Bones

    Racism surfaces when a society loses its self-confidence and turns to seeking ways to defend itself against what is different and perceived as increasingly threatening.

    Read more

  • الحلم

    حلمتُ:
    أنّي في سجن جدران بيضاء
    حيث لا يعرفني أحدٌ، وأصواتٌ
    تختفي في الرّدهات، وأضواء تستنشقُ
    جمجمتي اللّاهثة.
    ...
    تتمة الكلام


Press photo to Email

Classic

***
Jazz




Site Archive

SELECTED TOPICS

 
Essays
  • The pit and the pendulum

    In those days, we did not drink four goblets of wine, because everything that gladdens the human heart is not a part of our custom.

    Read more

  • Welcome Back to History

    Islam, like other imperialist ideologies, still needs enemies to flourish. Enemies have served Islam in the past as fuel for its wagons. Without enemies Islam declines and stagnates...

    Read more

  • another title

Poetry
  • Balkrishna Sama

    Man Is God


    He who loves flowers, has a tender heart.
    he who cannot pluck their blooms,
    has a heart that's noble.

    Read more

  • Martin Niemöller

    First They Came

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialist
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist.


    Read More

  • Salman Masalha

    The Song About the Child

    Boston Gospel Choir

    Text: Salman Masalha
    Composer: Stephen Feigenbaum


    listen

TOPICS