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Thursday, April 17, 2008


Poem in My Pocket: 'Letter to Fadwa'

Today, 'National Poetry in Your Pocket Day,' I'll be reading in Wiesbaden High School's foyer Kamal Nassir's "Letter to Fadwa," (p 236), a poem he wrote while he was imprisoned in the 1950s. It is a response to a letter from Fadwa Tuqan, a famous Palestinian poet from Nablus. Kamal Nasir was assasinated in Beirut by Ehud Barak, the terrorist currently operating as the Zionist entity's defense minister. The murderer took pains to riddle his hand and his mouth with bullets. Nassir's words are eerily prophetic. The Zionist butcher killed his body, but the spirit of the poet shines through his poetry. I was introduced to the poetry of Kamal Nassir by my late father, Baseel Harb from Ramallah, Palestine. We will return in the words of Nassir; we will return one day "to pick the fruits."

If my songs should reach you
despite the blocked skies around us,
it is because I've spread my wings
to embrace your tortured span,
because we share tragedy
and dark destiny,
and together we partake of
memories, wishes, dreams.

I am what you've wanted me to be
and what hardships have decreed
Rejecting humiliation,
I've claimed my foothold over the clouds,
bleeding till my wounds
tinted the summits with red.
I've loved my homeland, so my heart
aspires joyously to brave the tides.
Regret or cease? That could not be
Since when did a poet seek honor or regret?

Sister, today your letter arrived,
bright with lofty spirit,
bringing glad balm to my wounds
and stirring my dormant pen to reply.
Yes, I recall, I do recall
our happy evenings, our carefree friends
beneath the shading jasmine bushes,
our wings open to joy, or folded
with melancholy . . .

We talked until a dream took hold of us
and we grasped its slumbering mirage.
Yes, I remember how you spoke your poems,
resplendent, proud and free on everyone's lips,
more beautiful than the impossible
Your songs, like sunrays in our country,
feed us with desire and hope
awakening to the sounds of struggle,
the fluttering of banners raised high.

I am still as you hoped I would be,
sun's rays kissing my forehead as I walk,
even alone, toward my goal.
Desire for freedom is my cross;
I thirst, though the cup is in my hand!
Life seethes in my youthful veins
yet I wander naked, seeking life for
my wounded people, that they might live
with happy pride, building their world.

And you? Should my letter arrive
and you find tears scattered among the lines,
do not worry--great hopes must weep
as they struggle to reach the heights.
Tomorrow the night shall withdraw, humiliated,
from our land, and the people abandon illusion,
discovering their strength
Millions shall swear never to sleep
While there be yet one foothold left for wolves,
and through all the suffering they will yearn
for that moment of reckoning truth.

If my songs should reach you
despite the narrow skies around me,
remember that I will return to life,
to the quest for liberty,
remember that my people many call on my soul
and feel it rising again from the folds of the earth.

excellent choice- i've never read this before and i'm deeply moved by it...will be re-posting it on my blog soon if you don't mind...
Oh, yes, please do. It's included in Salma Jayussi's Anthology of Palestinian Literature.

Another one of his poems entitled, "Kamal Nasir's Last Poem," is also very moving.


And This Week in Palestine has an excellent story about him:

I can't tell you how pleased I am that this islamic fucktard is rotting underground.
Palestinian Activist Riad Hamad Murdered in Texas

A prominent pro-Palestinian activist in Texas has died April 14 th, 2008 after drowning in a lake. Riad Hamad was the founder of the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund http://www.pcwf.org/ and raised millions of dollars through his organization for schools, charitable organizations and hospitals. Local police say Hamad was found gagged and bound in the lake. While police say he “likely committed suicide”, questions have been raised over his death. Prior to his death, Hamad had been under FBI surveillance. In late February, FBI and IRS agents raided his office and seized forty boxes of tax returns and other documents. No charges were filed at the time, but investigators claimed they “had probable cause” to investigate. Riad Hamad was fifty-five years old.

Read more here…

Do we even have to say what a fair and equal response should be Mr. Foxman?

Eternal Palestine Forever
What a beautiful poem, thank you for posting it!

And thank you for your blog in general.

I wanted to email you but couldn't find an address...I wanted to let you know about the No Time To Celebrate: Jews Remember the Nakba campaign going on right now to counter Israel at 60 celebrations.

I specifically wanted to let you know that we're reaching out to bloggers to try to get as much content online as possible over the next while...You're obviously writing about that already, but if you'd be willing to let people know about the campaign that would be awesome. Here's the official call to bloggers:

Do you have a blog or online journal? Please use it to help educate
others about the Nakba as part of a month-long "Blog to Remember the
Nakba" campaign kicking
off this Passover. You can participate in this whether or not you are
hooked in with a local group, all you have to do if post Nakba
commemoration related content during this time as little or often as
you'd like.

You can post history, news, links or personal reflections, or just the
text of the "No Time To Celebrate" statement. Please share why this
anniversary is important *to you*. Possible topics include how does
the liberation-celebrating holiday of Passover relate to the ongoing
"nakba", Your personal history with these issues, reflecting on how
current attacks on Gaza are a continuation of the events in 1948,
highlighting a commemoration event or act of resistance or discussing
what's missing from local Israel at 60 events.

Possibly helpful resources include:

Palestinian Appeal to boycott Israel at 60 events:
The International Nakba Project: http://www.zochrot.org/index.php?id=522
Nakba 60th anniversary events:
Electronic Intifada Nakba links: http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/171.shtml
Short video in which Jews speak out against consensus on Israel:
Institute For Middle East Understanding-The Unhtold Stories:

While this campaign is targeted towards generating Jewish action, all
supporters can spread the word about this campaign online and are
encouraged to write their own Naba-related posts as well.

Please tag posts with "Nakba" and "no time to celebrate" and use one
of the logo images available on www.notimetocelebrate.org if
possible. Please also include a link to
www.notimetocelebrate.org. After you post, please email us a link at
notimetocelebrate (AT) gmail.com with "Blog Campaign" in the subject


Thank you again for writing...
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