[DEBATE] : Hamba Kahle Mahmoud Darwish
Salim.Vally at wits.ac.za
Sun Aug 10 09:14:22 BST 2008
One of the most recognised Palestinian poets, Mahmoud Darwish, has died at the age of 67 after open heart surgery.
Darwish published more than two dozen anthology's of poetry and prose rooted in his experience of Palestinian exile and the bitter conflict with Zionist Israel.
Twenty years ago he wrote the official Palestinian declaration of independence and served on the executive committee of the PLO until 1993, when he resigned in protest at the Oslo accords. He lived in Ramallah since 1995.
Darwish was detained several times by Israeli authorities in the 1960s. In the Arab world he was widely considered one of its greatest living poets.
Born in 1942, in a village in northern Palestine, Darwish and his family were evicted and exiled in 1948 following the creation of Israel.
A few years ago a number of writers including Jose Saramango and Breyten Breytenbach honoured him with a visit in Ramallah and wrote a series of essays in support of the Palestinian struggle.
We should take solace from the following verse of a poem he wrote for those in despair:
Here on the slopes of the hill,
facing the dusk and canon of time,
close to the gardens of broken shadows
We cultivate hope.
(From a poster made by the World Court of Women on US War Crimes-January 18, 2004, World Social Forum, Mumbai.)
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