This post is a combination of Darwish’s poetry and photos from Time’s photo essay (and documentary) Broken hopes, Oslo’s Legacy, made by Cédric Gerbehaye.
It just seemed like a good match to me. The new peace talks, unfortunately, seem a lot like Oslo and scepticism is roaming all around Palestine, combined with eternal whishes for peace and independence, so often portrayed in the poems of Mahmoud Darwish.
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors
And the land which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks..
So will the State take them
As it has been said?!
Write down on the top of the first page:
I do not hate poeple
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper’s flesh will be my food
Darwish, Identity Card
I have a seat in the abandoned theater
in Beirut. I might forget, and I might recall
the final act without longing… not because of anything
other than that the play was not written
as in the war days of those in despair, and an autobiography
of the spectators’ impulse. The actors were tearing up their scripts
and searching for the author among us, we the witnesses
sitting in our seats…
Darwish, I have a seat in the abandoned theater
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
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.
Darwish, Diary of a Palestinian wound
Give me a break, he replied.
I dream of white lilies, streets of song, a house of light.
I need a kind heart, not a bullet.
I need a bright day, not a mad, fascist moment of triumph.
I need a child to cherish a day of laughter, not a weapon of war.
I came to live for rising suns, not to witness their setting.
He said goodbye and went looking for white lilies,
a bird welcoming the dawn on an olive branch.
He understands things only as he senses and smells them.
Homeland for him, he said, is to drink my mother’s coffee, to return safely, at nightfall.
Darwish, A soldier dreams of white lillies