The Naqbah: The great catastrophe

Angry Arab has always these pictures of Palestinians showing the keys to the homes they were evicted from.

It is believed that more than 30,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed by the Israeli army in the past 35 years.

In 1948, Israel destroyed and obliterated more than 480 Palestinian villages in Palestine after forcing hundreds of thousands of villagers to flee their homes at gunpoint.

And on this day all I can think of is poetry by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich:


I long for my mother's bread
My mother's coffee
Her touch
Childhood memories grow up in me
Day after day
I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother

And If I come back one day
Take me as a veil to your eyelashes
Cover my bones with the grass
Blessed by your footsteps
Bind us together
With a lock of your hair

With a thread that trails from the back of your dress
I might become immortal
Become a god
If I touch the depths of your heart

If I come back
Use me as wood to feed your fire
As the clothesline on the roof of your house
Without your blessing
I am too weak to stand
I am old

Give me back the star maps of childhood
So that I
Along with the swallows
Can chart the path
Back to your waiting nest


We do not need to be reminded:

Mount Carmel is in us

and on our eyelashes the grass of Galilee.
Do not say: If we could run to her like a river.
Do not say it:
We and our country are one flesh and bone.
Before June we were not fledgeling doves
so our love did not wither in bondage.
Sister, these twenty years
our work was not to write poems
but to be fighting.
The shadow that descends over your eyes
-demon of a God
who came out of the month of June
to wrap around our heads the sun-
his color is martyrdom
the taste of prayer.
How well he kills, how well he resurrects!
The night that began in your eyes-
in my soul it was a long night's end:
Here and now we keep company
on the road of our return
from the age of drought.
And we came to know what makes the voice of the nightingale
a dagger shining in the face of the invaders.
We came to know what makes the silence of the graveyard
a festival...orchards of life.
You sang your poems, I saw the balconies
desert their walls
the city square extending to the midriff of the mountain:
It was not music we heard.
It was not the color of words we saw:
A million heroes were in the room.
This land absorbs the skins of martyrs.
This land promises wheat and stars.
Worship it!
We are its salt and its water.
We are its wound, but a wound that fights.
Sister, there are tears in my throat
and there is fire in my eyes:
I am free.
No more shall I protest at the Sultan's Gate.
All who have died, all who shall die at the Gate of Day
have embraced me, have made of me a weapon.
Ah my intractable wound!
My country is not a suitcase
I am not a traveler
I am the lover and the land is the beloved.
The archaeologist is busy analyzing stones.
In the rubble of legends he searches for his own eyes
to show
that I am a sightless vagrant on the road
with not one letter in civilization's alphabet.
Meanwhile in my own time I plant my trees.
I sing of my love.
It is time for me to exchange the word for the deed
Time to prove my love for the land and for the nightingale:
For in this age the weapon devours the guitar
And in the mirror I have been fading more and more
Since at my back a tree began to grow.


Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

“It is time for me to exchange the word for the deed; Time to prove my love for the land and for the nightingale; For in this age the weapon devours the guitar”

Sad. But true: revenge is often the only option left when foreign invaders conquer your country, steal your lands, and massacre your children… Sadly, Iraq has become a mirror image of Palestine circa 1948, and Baghdad is rapidly morphing into Gaza on steroids, as Rumsfeld’s minions spread death and destruction across the former capital of the Arab world.

And this is having dramatic consequences on the way Arabs and Muslims view America and the West…

As I said recently in the Middle-East Memo: “This substantial shift in Arab and Muslim public opinion vis-à-vis America can’t be ignored: in the days of President Wilson, Muslims represented roughly 10% of the world’s total population…today, a quarter of mankind firmly believes in Allah and its ultimate Prophet”

Sophia said...


Yes, Iraq is 'Gaza on steroids' and it is clear that the US wars in the ME are nothing else than the extension and the generalisation of Israel's wars on the Palestinians, when judged by their methods and results;at this stage I cannot judge intentions.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Rarely in the history of mankind has a small underdeveloped nation exerted such a decisive influence on a great empire: in that, Israel is truly an unholy “beacon unto THE nation” and its poisonous flames are ravaging both the White House and Congress…

Since March 29th 2006