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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Invalidating Darwish's Identity Card (we did nazi this coming)

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Mahmoud Darwish: photo by Dar Al Hayat, n.d.; image edit by AnomalousNYC, 11 August 2008

Put it on record.
........I am an Arab

And the number of my card is fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the ninth is due after summer.
What's there to be angry about?

Put it on record.
I am an Arab

Working with comrades of toil in a quarry.
I have eight children
For them I wrest the loaf of bread,
The clothes and exercise books
From the rocks
And beg for no alms at your door,
Lower not myself at your doorstep.
What's there to be angry about?

Put it on record.
I am an Arab.

I am a name without a title,
Patient in a country where everything
Lives in a whirlpool of anger.
My roots
Took hold before the birth of time
Before the burgeoning of the ages,
Before cypress and olive trees,
Before the proliferation of weeds.

My father is from the family of the plough
Not from highborn nobles.

And my grandfather was a peasant
Without line or genealogy.

My house is a watchman's hut
Made of sticks and reeds.

Does my status satisfy you?
I am a name without a surname.

Put it on record.
I am an Arab.

Color of hair: jet black.
Color of eyes: brown.
My distinguishing features:
On my head the 'iqal cords over a keffiyeh
Scratching him who touches it.

My address:
I'm from a village, remote, forgotten,
Its streets without name
And all its men in the fields and quarry.

What's there to be angry about?

Put it on record.
I am an Arab.

You stole my forefathers' vineyards
And land I used to till,
I and all my children,
And you left us and all my grandchildren
Nothing but these rocks.
Will your government be taking them too
As is being said?

So!
Put it on record at the top of page one:
I don't hate people,
I trespass on no one's property.

And yet, if I were to become hungry
I shall eat the flesh of my usurper.
Beware, beware of my hunger
And of my anger!

Mahmoud Darwish (13 March 1941-9 August 2008): Identity Card, from Leaves of Olives, 1964; English translation by Denys Johnson-Davies

 

 
#Israeli Radio Chief Summoned on ‘Controversial’ Programme on #Darwish via @PalestineChron: image via Palestine Chronicle @PalestineChron, 21 July 2016

 
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman pictured just outside Jerusalem in June: photo by Abir Sultan/AP via The Washington Post, 23 July 2016

Israel’s defense minister compares Palestinian’s poetry to Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’: William Booth, Jerusalem bureau chief, The Washington Post, 22 July 2016 

Jerusalem this week is debating the lines of a dead Palestinian poet, his words again at the forefront of what is acceptable and not in Israel.
 
On Thursday, Israel’s new bombastic defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, blasted Army Radio -- a sort of Israeli NPR -- for discussing on its “University on the Air” program the works of poet Mahmoud Darwish, who died in 2008.
 
Lieberman compared the station’s airing of the poem to the "glorification of the literary marvels of Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf.'"
 
Though he toiled for a time as a bar bouncer in Moldova before immigrating from the Soviet satellite to Israel, Lieberman was a student of Russian literature, the son of a dissident writer, who dreamed as a young man of being a poet himself, according to his biographers.
 
Israeli media reported that Lieberman brought Army Radio chief Yaron Dekel into a meeting for a dressing-down. Israel’s attorney general told Lieberman to back off. Darwish was regarded as one of Palestinians' national poets. His works are taught in Israeli high school classes.
 
The new defense minister was especially upset about the last lines of Darwish's 1964 poem, “ID Card”.
 

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The boarding pass for Darwish's last flight to Houston where he would die in hospital, exhibited at Darwish Museum, Ramallah: photo by Nicole Peyrefitte and Pierre Joris via Nomadics, 22 April 2015

 
 
Mahmoud Darwish's passport: photographer unknown, image via Mahmoud Darwish Foundation
 
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Darwish’s writing room, reassembled at Darwish Museum, Ramallah, with his watch, glasses and collection of fountain-pens (Pelikan and Montblanc): photo by Nicole Peyrefitte and Pierre Joris, via Nomadics, 22 April 2015

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Re-creation of Mahmoud Darwish's' writing-room, Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Ramallah: photo by Nicole Peyrefitte and Pierre Joris via Nomadics, 22 April 2015



#Israel | Lieberman compara la obra del poeta palestino #Darwish con el #MeinKampf de Hitler: image via EP Internacional Verified account, 21 July 2016 


Mahmoud Darwish wall graffiti, Ramallah, Palestine: photo by outside the bubble, 1 May 2009


Reading to #Darwish before bed is a must #my poet: image via MK @Bentkayed, 13 July 2016


Israeli Leaders Rage over Palestinian Poem #IsraeliRegime #Palestine #Darwish: image via Alwaght @EnglishAlwaght, 21 July 2016

record #1: wall texture
 
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 Darwish’s writing room, reassembled at Darwish Museum, Ramallah, with his watch, glasses and collection of fountain-pens (Pelikan and Montblanc) (detail): photo by Nicole Peyrefitte and Pierre Joris via Nomadics, 22 April 2015

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Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Ramallah: photo by Nicole Peyrefitte and Pierre Joris via Nomadics, 22 April 2015

record #2: documentation and shadow
 
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Re-creation of Mahmoud Darwish's' writing-room, Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Ramallah (detail)]: photo by Nicole Peyrefitte and Pierre Joris via Nomadics, 22 April 2015

Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008

Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008.
In yet another sign of fascism, Lieberman likens Mahmoud Darwish to . . . Hitler: photo via Mondoweiss, 22 July 2016

5 comments:

TC said...

Mahmoud Darwish reads: Record! I'm an Arab...

Souhad Zendah reads Mahmoud Darwish: "Identity Card" ("Record! I'm an Arab...") in Arabic and English, at Harvard University, 18 September 2008

George Qurmuz / Mahmoud Darwish: Record! I'm an Arab...

Ehab Ebeid: An Identity Card: Mahmoud Darwish/music by Ahmed Fatthy

Lally said...

another great poem and important post, thanks Tom

TC said...

Michael,

I take the venue in question here, Israeli Army radio, to be more or less equivalent to NPR, as Wm Booth suggests, that is, main line cultural propaganda platform, with a liberal veneer.

In maintaining an attitude of respect for the internationally acknowledged genius of Darwish, then, the putative state-representation function of such an agency would be to afford the Palestinian national poet (what? Palestinian nation??) at least the decorous appearance of respect, now that his physical body is well out of the way and only his long shadow remains to be reckoned with. Why awaken shadows without good cause? How much does a small show of polite tolerance cost?

The cause would be the larger struggle in which Army radio is a tool of something else, that is, the struggle of the Israeli rightwing to dominate the state and its policies for time to come.

The battle lines being drawn all round the planet at this moment place the Moldovan bar bouncer and his fellow zionazi charmers shoulder to shoulder in the same globe-encircling fascist bunker.

The Lillian Rosengarten memoir Survival and Conscience From the Shadows of Nazi Germany to the Jewish Boat to Gaza makes prophetic sense on all this, following-out the awful historical logic by which zionist ideology spawns fascism.

"Lillian is unafraid to state that for her, the Palestinians are the final victims of the Nazi Holocaust; holding Israel accountable is both an act of desperation and love." (Alice Rothchild)

The bar bouncer's predecessor at the permanent apartheid war department, Ya'alon, booked when it became clear where this government was/is heading.

And why should "we" care, apart from the fact that "this government" also now instantly becomes "ours" as well, every time a candidate for POTUS opens its too big mouth.

By the way, for anybody who might be wondering what if anything poetry has to do with real life here in our wonderfully wired wireless new world -- that is, poetry, not the poetry industry -- spending a few minutes in that room with Souhad Zendah (second link given) might be... what? educational? emotional even?

Oh no!!

Wooden Boy said...

I catch an echo of the angel's injunction to Mohammed in the opening declaration. Her reading is incredible.

I have no words for Lieberman.

TC said...

Duncan,

That reading makes the ancient glazed or glittering eyes mist over and a choking sensation to come into the throat, every time, no matter how many times I look at it, over the several years now.

Wondrous that such strength should derive from something as allegedly simple as a few words!

Can only mean that they are the right ones.

Apologies for the moldovan bar bouncer's face appearing here at all, just that the contrast with the intelligent face of the poet seemed so striking.

(Must confess btw that the ancient glittering or glazed eyes, which miss out a lot of detail these days, did just that to the last name of half of the intrepid poetry adventuring team that brought us the photos from Ramallah. Nicole’s last name is Peyrafitte not Peyrefitte. Apologies!)