Mahmoud Darwish and the Jews

August 9th marks the ninth anniversary of the death of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Poems that eloquently capture the essence and spirit of the Palestinian struggle for independence–this is what Darwish gave to the world.

Born on March 13, 1941 in the village of Al-Birwa, Darwish published his first book of poetry at the age of 19. His home village, Al-Birwa, no longer exists, by the way. Located in western Galilee near the border with Lebanon, it was destroyed in 1948. Darwish was seven years old at the time. He and his family and other villagers were forced to flee. A kibbutz and the Jewish town of Ahihud occupy the land today.

A week ago I put up a post entitled Solzhenitsyn and the Jews, the purpose of which was to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of the famed Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The parallels between Solzhenitsyn and Darwish are striking. For one thing, both men died within a week of each other–Solzhenitsyn on August 3, 2008, and Darwish on August 9, 2008. Both of course were also great writers. But perhaps most striking of all is both spent a major portion of their lives living under a brutal system of government imposed by Jews–and in both cases the experience powerfully shaped their writing.

Here is what I wrote in my article on Solzhenitsyn:

The Soviet Union, at least in its earlier years, seems very much to have been an example of Jewish power gone berserk.

The same of course can be said of Israel.

You can kind of sense that power gone berserk in what follows. It’s one of Darwish’s most famous poems–“I Come from There.”

I Come From There

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…..

On June 8, 1987, Darwish published an essay entitled, “The Cruelest of Months.” The essay marked the twentieth anniversary of the 1967 war, a war in which Israel, in addition to bombing the USS Liberty, further extended its control over Palestinian land, capturing East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In his essay, Darwish employs the rhetorical device of repetition, repeating the words “June is the cruelest of months,” throughout the piece. He may have intended it as a literary allusion to T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” whose  opening line consists of the immortal words, “April is the cruelest month.” At any rate, the piece jumps straight into the poet’s portrayal of June’s agony:

No one is safe from the pain of memories, or from psychological collapse. June is the cruelest of months. June is an abyss which tries to ascend from its own depths to improve the conditions within it. A strained hand is raised to prevent the wall from collapsing and a strained cry rings out: let whatever is collapsing collapse–let our internal pain complete its twentieth year. The passing of twenty years startles us as we ponder what time can and cannot do. Twenty years of pain that we try to forget, but which pursues us. Whoever was born then, in June, is now twenty years old–children familiar with rocks and small rockets, with prisons, children who have lived abnormal lives. We see to what extent we have been further scattered and to what extent the homeland has narrowed. Twenty seasons of burned wheat.

And as we bid the years farewell, the ideas of youth fade. They would have remained young if night had not been confounded with day. June is the cruelest of months. Because we are witnesses of the event. And turning back to that part of this age which has already ended, this age which defies proper description, does not enable us to escape the fever or to ascertain its origins: is it the past that has taken with it the memory of the defeat and gone away; or is it the present, incapable of separating itself from the spectacle of the defeat and its history so that the past remains capable of repeating itself as long as the reality of the defeat is present in the form of the occupation?

The line about night being “confounded” by day is perhaps the most powerful of all. In an obscene world of cruelty and madness, darkness is preferable to the light of day. Darkness at least brings us a sense of respite from the murderous depravities.

The essay also addresses Israel’s tiresome and incessant demands from one and all–including the very people it has displaced–for recognition of its “right to exist.” And there is also a backhanded slap at Arab governments which, in exchange for cordial relations with the Zionist state, have all but abandoned the Palestinian struggle (other than the payment of occasional lip service).

Here a June question arises: if the decision to make war was an Arab decision, why should the decision to make peace be based on a Palestinian agreement to absent himself? Here the Greek tragedy and the Shakespearean tragedy are completed: the Palestinian is expected to absent himself from his homeland, from his problem, from his case, and from himself. He is requested to appear on  stage only once. He who is absent is asked to appear to witness that he is absent, invisible; he is supposed to come only to recognize Israel’s existence, Israel which is present only on the condition that the Palestinian is absent. Then the Palestinian is supposed to disappear. He is also supposed to present himself before the Arab ruler to acknowledge that he does not represent himself, to admit that he is absent from the stage in the presence of the one who has requested him to attend once for the sake of permanent absence.

But Darwish foresaw, even then, way back in 1987, that the Palestinians were not going to give up, that the struggle for justice would go on:

We must realize again that June did not come from outside as much as it sprang from within. Is June still alive within us? We have witnessed twenty years of occupation. But also twenty years of steadfastness of a people surrounded and besieged by occupation. Twenty years of embers springing from the ashes. Twenty years of the crystallization of the Palestinian national identity. Twenty years of shaping the miracle.

That essay, as I say, was published in June of 1987. Six months later, in December of 1987, the first intifada broke out.

A tribute to Darwish has been published at the website Palestine Square. The article tells a little of his personal story and also provides links to a number of writings–these consist of Darwish’s own writings as well as articles that have been written about him. One of the articles linked to is a commentary Darwish himself wrote on the 9/11 attack. Here is a brief excerpt from it:

No cause, not even a just cause, can make legitimate the killing of innocent civilians, no matter how long the list of accusations and the register of grievances. Terror never paves the way to justice but leads down the shortest path to hell. We deplore this horrendous crime and condemn its planners and perpetrators with all the terms of revulsion and condemnation in our lexicon. We do this not only as our moral duty, but also in order to reassert our commitment to our own humanity and our faith in human values that do not differentiate between one people and another. Our sympathy with the victims and their families and with the American people in these trying times is thus an expression of our deep commitment to the unity of human destiny. For a victim is a victim, and terrorism is terrorism, here or there; it knows no boundaries nor nationalities and does not lack the rhetoric of killing.

A Palestinian girl lights candles in tribute to Darwish.

That article, condemning the horrendous attacks, was published in a Palestinian newspaper on September 17, 2001. As was the case with most people in the world at that time, it obviously had not occurred to Darwish that 9/11 may well have been a false flag, with Israel as the possible principle perpetrator. In any event, the marked sympathy he shows for Americans should be noted–it is a distinctly humanist perspective, coming from one of the leading intellectuals in Palestinian society, this despite America’s ongoing support for Israel.

In 2001, America truly had the sympathy of the entire world. We managed to squander it. Our response to 9/11 was to bomb and invade one country after another–in wars that were relentlessly advocated by Jewish neocons and the Zionist-owned media.

***

Remembering Mahmoud Darwish

Palestine Square

It is difficult to overstate the legacy of Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s iconic poet, whose passing on 9 August 2008 has left behind a literary treasure. His was a voice that touched every Palestinian, and with it, Darwish delivered the Palestinian experience to a global audience. His poems have been translated into more than 20 languages, and continue to ring true for many Palestinians who long to return home. Indeed, exile was the central thread of Darwish’s poetic journey. And, while exile is often regarded as a political reality, Darwish’s experience reveals a far broader concept. As he said in a 1996 landmark interview featured in this month’s Special Focus below, “Exile is a very broad concept and very relative. There is exile in society, exile in family, exile in love, exile within yourself.” It began with an exile from his natal village in the Galilee, where Darwish lived under military rule along with 150,000 other Palestinians after Israel’s establishment in 1948. Then, came Moscow, Paris, Cairo, Tunis, Beirut, Amman, and finally Ramallah, where he was buried. This fragmented living resonated with a broader Palestinian experience of displacement and dispersion.

Yet, for all his collective significance, Darwish was often reserved and his poetry was born from very personal experiences. For instance, he grew up convinced he was unloved by his family, especially his mother. But, when he was jailed in Israeli prison in 1956, he wrote “I Long For My Mother’s Bread,” which has become a Palestinian classic in the voice of Marcel Khalife.

“I wanted to atone for my feelings of guilt toward my mother for thinking she hated me—as a poem of national longing. I didn’t expect that millions would sing it,” Darwish said. Indeed, for countless Palestinians estranged from place and family, this particular poem was embraced as a national resistance poem, where the mother symbolizes Palestine.

Continued here

You can follow the link to access the full tribute to Darwish. At the bottom of the article you will find the links to the other articles. These include a link to the essay, “The Cruelest of Months.” Take note, however, that the articles are in PDF format and will only be available for the duration of the month of August. So if you wish to read them, do so now.

Israeli Soldier Elor Azaria Enters Military Prison

Posted on August 9, 2017

You can kind of tell from the smile on his face in this video that Elor Azaria is convinced he’s a hero. And of course he has been hailed as such in Israel. Not that shooting a bullet into the head of a semi-conscious man as he lay wounded on a city street required any great amount of courage. It didn’t. But Jews in Israel seem to measure “heroism” by different standards than most people. Apparently the more Palestinians you kill, the more highly you’re thought of and admired. I’m guessing the Talmud has a lot to do with instilling this sort of thinking into the body politic.

So in the video above we have the “hero” embarking off for prison with a big smile on his face and his mommy at his side. The same woman appears in a good many of the news photos of Azaria that have been published. It is his mother. She seems to be in love with him–and seems always to clutch at him, much as if he’s her lover rather than her son.

azaryasentenced

The “hero” was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison. I’m sure the cell they give him will have all the comforts of  home, and his mommy will visit him often. And maybe after he gets out of prison, Elor the Hero will get a job as a pundit for mainstream media, offering commentary on Middle East issues. Perhaps we’ll even see him on TV sometime telling us Americans why we should bomb Iran.

Roger Waters Blasts Radiohead for its Performance in Israel

Deconstructing Apartheid and Colonialism

Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle

caged but undaunted

**Originally published in Al Jazeera July 20. 2017. This is the unedited version with original title and links**

For Some, History is a Failed Recollection (Original Title)

Long ago, it was settled that resistance… even armed struggle… against a colonial occupation force is not just recognized under international law but specifically endorsed.

In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere.

Article 1 (4) of Additional Protocol I provides that “international armed conflict” include those in which people are fighting against “colonial domination, alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination.”

Finding evolving vitality in humanitarian law, for decades the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA)… once described as the collective conscience…

View original post 2,041 more words

Israeli Settlers Celebrate Takeover of Palestinian Home in Hebron (video included)

I’ve posted videos like this before. It seems the typical sort of behavior we often see from Israeli settlers. Even so, it comes as a bit of a jolt every time I come across a video like this. The Abu Rajab family of Hebron is being dispossessed of their three-story home. The settlers shown here have reportedly even begun moving furniture into it–and this apparently is what they’re so happy about,  dancing so joyously over, and making excessively goofy faces into the camera in celebration to…

Zionist Squatters celebrating the forceful at gunpoint take over of a  family’s home in Occupied Hebron. 

A little bit from Ma’an News provides some further insight into the matter:

Residents of the Abu Rajab house, located in the Old City of Hebron near the Ibrahimi Mosque, have been embroiled in a legal battle with Israeli settlers for years, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to encourage the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement there to be named Beit Hamachpela.

However, Israeli authorities have not granted permission to establish the settlement on the grounds that the settlers have failed to prove their alleged purchase of the Palestinian house, as the Palestinians have accused the settlers of forging the documents.

On Tuesday, settlers escorted by Israeli soldiers had raided the building in an attempt to take it over.

Hazem Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, a resident of the house, told Ma’an that Israeli settlers attempted again to raid the house on Wednesday morning but were thwarted by the Abu Rajab family.

However, the settlers later took over the second and third floors of the building, in addition to raiding the first floor, where the Palestinian family lives.

Al-Tamimi said that Israeli soldiers threatened to detain him and his brothers when they tried to protect their home, as a video shared by NGO Human Rights Defenders showed soldiers manhandling Abu Rajab family members as scores of young Israeli settlers looked on, jeering.

A Ma’an reporter on the scene saw Israeli settlers moving furniture and belongings inside the house under armed protection by Israeli forces, who were deployed around the house, adding that the home had reportedly been turned into a closed military zone.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the case.

Israeli settlers have claimed that they bought the house from its owners, however, the Palestinian owners sued the Israeli settlers in court and accused them of forging documents in an attempt to steal the house, as al-Tamimi said on Wednesday that the settlers’ claims were “pure fabrications and lies.”

The Abu Rajab family home consists of three floors. Al-Tamimi said that the Israeli court decided, due to to ongoing case regarding the house, that no one could enter the second and third floors of the house until a court decision was reached.

The court also decided to keep the house under the “protection” of the Israeli army and the Israeli Civil Administration, he said. Hebrew-language media had meanwhile reported that Netanyahu had appointed coordinators from the Israeli army to negotiate with the settlers and evacuate them.

Al-Tamimi said that the settlers had chosen to ignore the court’s ruling, adding that “they even refuse to apply their prime minister’s decision.”

Meanwhile, over in Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers have basically kidnapped a seven-year-old boy from his father. I don’t know anything about this incident other than what’s in the video below, but watch and you’ll see the father get grabbed himself after protesting the arrest of his son…

Israeli army arrested a 7 years old child in  and assaulted his father when he was trying to save his child from IDF

Chalk it up to another day in the occupation of Palestine, I guess. Keep in mind that both Hebron and Bethlehem are in the West Bank–an area that is recognized under international law as belonging to the Palestinians. What are Israeli soldiers even doing there? They are occupiers, of course. Pure and simple. And every day Israel continues its illegal settlement enterprise is an affront to international human rights law. Moreover, the audacity of the affront is about to become a tad bit more marked.

It has been reported that Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who was caught on videotape last year killing a wounded Palestinian with a gunshot to the head, is about to have his sentence lightened to house arrest. Here is what the JTA is reporting:

Azaria, who was convicted in January and sentenced in February, has been confined to the closed Nachshonim military base since being arrested in March 2016. However, the time of his military service ends on Thursday and he must leave the base.

Azaria is appealing his conviction and military prosecutors are appealing his 18-month jail sentence for being too lenient. Azaria does not have to report to prison until his appeals are exhausted.

A military court ruled on Monday that Azaria will go from the army base to house arrest. He will be required to remain at his parents’ home in Ramle in central Israel and can attend Shabbat services in a synagogue on Friday night and Saturday if he is accompanied by a family member.

A military court will rule on the appeals by the end of the month, according to reports.

Azaria shot 21-year-old Abdul Sharif as the latter lay on his back critically wounded on a Hebron street (yes, Hebron, where the Abu Rajab family are now having their home taken over). The incident took place in March of last year, and I put up several posts about it at the time (see here and here for instance). Sharif and a companion allegedly attacked an Israeli soldier. Both were shot. The companion died instantly. Sharif, however, was left in a pool of blood on the street but still alive–until Azaria walked up to him and fired a shot directly into his head.

Little was said about it at first. Only after the video went viral was Azaria even arrested. At first he was charged with murder, but this was subsequently reduced down to manslaughter. He finally was convicted on the latter charge, but as the report above notes, his sentence was very light–only 18 months. And now it’s looking like he will get off with nothing more than house arrest–if he even serves that. For as I noted in a previous post, Azaria is regarded as a hero in Israel.

IOF Shuts down Al-Aqsa Mosque for Second Day

July 15, 2017

Aqsa closure

Israeli occupation forces were on Saturday shutting down Al-Aqsa Mosque for the second day after Friday’s operation near the holy site that killed two Israeli police.

Palestinian sources said that IOF were heavily depoloying at the gates of Al-Aqsa and preventing Palestinians from getting into the holy compound.

The Muslim call for prayer (Adhadn) has not been recited in the holy compound since Friday, the sources said.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs said the occupation forces were storming Muslim utilities in Al-Aqsa (offices, clinics, libraries and many others).

Photos released by Palestinian sources showed Israeli vehicles raiding the holy compound.

Earlier on Friday, three Palestinians shot at Israeli police in Al-Aqsa Mosque, killing two of them in a heroic operation. The three youths, who are cousins and hold the same names (Mohammad Jabbarin) were martyred after being shot dead by occupation forces.

The occupation forces then shut down the holy site for Palestinians. Al-Quds Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Hussein was arrested because he decried the mosque’s closure.

He was taken into custody from the Bab Al-Asbat area (Lion’s Gate) after leading an open-air prayer nearby.

Sheikh Hussein was later released on $2,800 bail.

SourceAgencies

Related Videos

Related ArticlesPalestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu, Abbas Speak by Phone after Al-Quds Operation

“The president (Abbas) expressed his strong rejection and condemnation of the incident at the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque and his rejection of any act of violence from any side, especially in places of worship,” official Palestinian news agency WAFA said. More

%d bloggers like this: