palestinian literature


watch as the land is the language, elias sanbar and simone bitton’s documentary on mahmoud darwish.

I am a son of all the cultures that have passed through the land—the Greek, the Roman, the Persian, the Jewish, the Ottoman. A presence that exists at the very core of my language. Every powerful culture passed through and left something. I am the son of all these fathers, but I belong to one mother. Does that mean that my mother is a prostitute? My mother is this earth; she received all of them. She was both a witness and a victim.
—  Mahmoud Darwish
ولكنني متأكد من شيء واحد على الأقل، هو قيمتك عندي..أنا لم أفقد صوابي بك بعد ، ولذلك فأنا الذي أعرف كم أنت أذكى وأنبل وأجمل. لقد كنتِ في بدني طوال الوقت ، في شفتي، في عيني وفي رأسي. كنتِ عذابي وشوقي والشيء الرائع الذي يتذكره الإنسان كي يعيش ويعود…إن لي قدرة لم أعرف مثلها في حياتي على تصورك ورؤيتك..وحين أرى منظراً أو أسمع كلمة وأعلق عليها بيني وبين نفسي أسمع جوابك في أذني ، كأنك واقفة إلى جواري ويدك في يدي . أحياناً أسمعك تضحكين، وأحياناً أسمعك ترفضين رأيي وأحياناً تسبقينني إلى التعليق ، وأنظر إلى عيون الواقفين أمامي لأرى إن كانوا قد لمحوك معي، أتعاون معك على مواجهة كل شيء, وأضع معك نصل الصدق على رقابهم
—  غسان كنفاني - من كتاب رسائل غسان كنفاني إلى غادة السمّان
The Pessoptimist's Philosophy

“I don’t differentiate between optimism and pessimism and am at quite a loss as to which of the two characterizes me. When I awake each morning I thank the Lord he did not take my soul during the night. If harm befalls me during the day, I thank Him that it was no worse. So which am I, a pessimist or an optimist?" 

–The Secret life of Saeed the Pessoptimist

Love poetry was the outcome of the bitter feelings of loneliness and deprivation which overwhelmed the [Palestinian] Arab population after 1948. The feeling that they were a defeated minority began with the passage of time to change into a feeling of defiance, and they succeeded in confronting their hard circumstances face to face.
Resistance was not an easy choice; it was rather a daily battle with a ferocious enemy who considered it a question of life and death. And as the measure of persecution became fiercer, resistance consolidated. Contrary to the poetry of exile, the poetry of resistance emerged with an astonishing revolutionary spirit completely free from the sad and tearful trend. Strangely enough, it quickly reverberated with all the political upheavals of the Arab countries.
Resistance poetry did not only witness a change in purport and poetic effect but also in form and technique. It rejected the traditional poetic forms and adopted modern techniques without losing force. As to purport, resistance poetry resorted to various mediums of expression:
1. Love. The love from woman is completely integrated with the love of the homeland. Woman and Earth are completely assimilated in one great love and transformed into the great cause of liberation.
2. Satire. The enemy and the henchmen are ridiculed and the acts of suppression are expressed with bitter irony. This trend expresses a lively and an unconquerable spirit which considers all happenings as an ephemeral and transitional condition which sooner or later must and will be changed and put back to normality.
3. Defiance and challenge. The enemy is exposed and put face to face with the staunch and fearless spirit of the fighters.
—  Resistance Literature in Occupied Palestine by Ghassan Kanfani.
Yo baby Yo by Suheir Hammad

                                    1. Scenario

door knocker earrings                        drug dealer earnins

gucci leather                                       polo sweater

gold tooth front                &                frontin with a 40

belt by fendi                                       shoes by nike

crotch grabbin                                    5-0 clockin

smokin blunts                                     on the hunt

twistin the cap                                    twistin nappy hair

                             into knots

shirts by tommy                                  jeans by perry

                 What have you done for this sista lately?

                              2. existence

                      poppin that yo baby yo

                             yo baby yo?

                      me to turn around you expect after

                      you show me no kind of respect?

                      the sneakers you wearin cost more than

                          the soul you sold to pay for them?

                       the sherling you sportin worth more than

                                our children goin hungry

                                so you could go clubbin?

                        slicin each other up over a dirty look

                           go ahead                 act like you look

                               people you can buy are

                               never worth the cash or time

                                  3. Scenario

name plate                                    jail bait

slathered in vaseline                      bottle pumpin curl sheen

drinkin coolers of wine                  lips dont touch swine

gloc cleaned and shined                herbal buzz on the mind

sippin warm black cherry               bullet wounds honor you carry

wallet by coach                              pimp style approach

                             yo baby yo

                             yo brotha yo

                             them gold chains

                             are tighter than you think