USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Mahmoud Darwish: The New Yorker and Other Tributes

Posted by uscsjp on August 25, 2008

A young Mahmoud Darwish in Cairo. (Al Akhbar)
“The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died Saturday from complications of major heart surgery, in Houston, Texas. Darwish, born in 1941, was also a newspaperman, an activist, and a drafter of the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence. Darwish spent much of his life in exile, but he remained stubbornly attached to his homeland. In his poetry, he used its landscape to describe the struggles of his people and his feelings on life, love, and death. Though a polyglot, he wrote in Arabic; his work quickly became popular, and has been translated into twenty languages. In 2000, the Israeli education minister proposed that Darwish be taught in schools, but Prime Minister Ehud Barak declared the country ‘not ready.’ If not then, perhaps now. In 2007, we published Darwish’s poem ‘Remainder of a Life,’ which begins: ‘If I were told: / By evening you will die, / so what will you do until then?” The poet lists a variety of tasks, some quotidian (bathing, shaving), some pleasurable (drinking wine, reading), all described with a rebellious glee. The poem ends:

Then I’d comb my hair and throw away the poem… this poem, in the trash, and put on the latest fashion in Italian shirts, parade myself in an entourage of Spanish violins, and walk to the grave!

That final exclamation point is a salute to an extraordinary life.”
–Jenna Krajeski, The New Yorker, August 11, 2008
See also:
Here the Birds’ Journey Ends
by Mahmoud Darwish English Translation Published in The New Yorker on August 25, 2008
More Darwish Tributes:
Mahmoud Darwish: Palestine’s prophet of humanism
Saifedean Ammous, The Electronic Intifada, 12 August 2008
A guest of eternity: Mahmoud Darwish in memoriam
Raymond Deane, The Electronic Intifada, 13 August 2008
The poetics of Palestinian resistance
As’ad AbuKhalil, The Electronic Intifada, 18 August 2008
Failing Darwish’s legacy Sumia Ibrahim, The Electronic Intifada, 19 August 2008
Farewell Mahmoud Darwish Sinan Antoon, Al-Ahram Weekly, 14 – 20 August 2008
…and finally, a piece from The Economist, which, in spite of some questionable statements, remains informative:
Obituary: Mahmoud Darwish Aug 21st 2008 From The Economist print edition

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