The Palestinian ‘national poet’ Mahmoud Darwish passed away
on August 9, 2008. Regarded by the
Palestinians as the “poet of the Palestinian wound,” he was given the
equivalent of a state funeral in the West Bank.
Only the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat, with whom Darwish served in the
PLO, had ever received such an honor.
As Aljazeera reported, Darwish’s “grave faces the outskirts
of Jerusalem, where the Palestinians hope to create the capital of a future
state which Darwish had yearned for in poems imbued with the agony of exile and
In life, Darwish spent his considerable writing talents as
an apologist for the Palestinians’ self-inflicted wounds. He wrote the veiled threat that Arafat spoke at
the United Nations in 1974: "Today I have come bearing an olive branch and
a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."
In death, senior United Nations officials joined a chorus of
admirers in raising Darwish to the iconic level of a “universal” voice of
“justice,” “dislocation” and “alienation” for all the suffering people of the
world – except, of course, for the Jewish people whose more than 2000 years of
exile and persecution Darwish and his UN admirers have conveniently ignored.
In sending her condolences last week to the Palestinian
people following Darwish’s death, for example, the Commissioner-General of the
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA),
Karen AbuZayd, issued a statement, saying that Darwish was “the poet of exile,
the refugees’ poet” whose “universal language of dislocation and alienation
will be heard for many years to come.” These
encomiums should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with AbuZayd and her
agency. She has sided with the
Palestinians against Israel
time and again, no matter what atrocities were committed by the Palestinian
terrorists against innocent Israeli civilians. UNRWA itself has been complicit in such terrorist
King Solomon wrote long ago in Proverbs that "death and
life are in the power of the tongue."
The Talmud teaches us that words can kill. Darwish used his poetry to give voice to
those who reject Israel’s
right to exist as a Jewish state in its ancient homeland. He called himself a “weapon” and wrote that
“my words were stones.” Truth had no
place in his poetry.
Darwish helped to popularize the blood libel in the Arab
world that referred to the creation of the state of Israel as al-Nakba or “Catastrophe.”
UNRWA’s Chief of Public Information
quoted Darwish in commemorating the 60th anniversary of the “Catastrophe.”
Even before Israel
ever occupied the West Bank and Gaza
in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, Darwish was busy spinning his militant poetry
into language of anti-Israel propaganda.
He wrote the following in 1964:
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?!
Record on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper's flesh will be my food
Of my hunger
And my anger!
This was supposed to be a protest against the ‘forced’ exile
of Palestinians from their families’ lands into a semi-permanent refugee
status. The sad truth that Darwish could
never acknowledge was that the Palestinians themselves and their Arab neighbors
- not Israel
- were largely responsible for the decades in which Palestinians have lived as
As great admirers of the Nazi ideology, the Palestinians’
leaders sided with the losing side before and during World War II. Mohammad
Amin al-Husayni, a Palestinian Arab nationalist and a Muslim leader in the
British Mandate of Palestine, was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 to
1948. He was referred to as the
"Fuhrer of the Arab World" by Hitler himself. On a visit to Auschwitz, the Fuhrer of the
Arab World reportedly prodded the Nazi guards to execute the Final Solution
Having been on the wrong side of history (a mistake they
would make time and again in the years that followed), the Palestinians were
not entitled to any special consideration when it came time to decide what to
do with the British Mandate.
Nevertheless, they were offered land for their own state, side by side
with Israel. They refused the offer.
Many Palestinians who had been living in Israel in 1948 voluntarily left their homes when
the state of Israel
declared independence. They relied on the
false promise of Arab leaders that their nations’ armies would drive the Jews
into the sea, which they failed to do. Then,
having created much of the Palestinian refugee problem in the first place with
their blandishments, these same Arab leaders failed to absorb the Palestinian
refugees into the populations of the more than twenty Arab states that had a
land mass 800 times greater than Israel. Instead, these states turned around and systematically
murdered or expelled the Jews who had chosen to remain in their homes in the
Arab lands. Those Jews who survived were
taken in by Israel,
not abandoned to live in destitution as the Arabs had abandoned their
Darwish’s poetry contains nothing of the tragic mistakes his
own people made or the cruel manipulation of the Palestinians’ plight by their Arab
neighbors to serve their own political objectives.
Instead, Darwish kept on using his poetry to help turn the
sparks of Palestinian anger against Israel, which he had stoked, into a
raging flame. He hoped the conflagration
would force the Israeli Jews to abandon their country and simply “go away.” In 1988, as the Palestinians’ first Intifada
erupted, Darwish wrote:
The time has come for you to go
And dwell where you wish but do not dwell among us
The time has come for you to go away
And die where you wish but do not die among us
And here is a sampling of Darwish’s not so poetic words in defense
of the Intifada violence:
the memory of the Nakba comes at the height of the Palestinian struggle in
defence of their being, of their natural right to freedom and
self-determination on a part of their historical homeland…
Intifada -- yesterday, today, tomorrow -- is the natural and legitimate
expression of resistance against slavery, against an occupation characterised
by the ugliest form of apartheid, one that seeks, under the cover of an elusive
peace process, to dispossess the Palestinians of their land…”
Darwish was a devoted follower of Yasser Arafat. As mentioned above, he wrote the veiled
threat that Arafat used in his infamous 1974 address to the United Nations
General Assembly. Words can indeed kill
when they are used to justify murderous acts by a terrorist when he does not get
all that he demands as the price for peace.
When, nearly twenty years later, Arafat appeared to accept
some sort of peaceful co-existence with Israel (which turned out to be a
ruse), Darwish resigned from the executive committee of the PLO. He did so to protest the Oslo Accords peace agreements,
which he condemned as a sell-out to Israel.
While not directly advocating suicide bombing, Darwish asked
everyone to understand how the occupation of “Zionist colonization” drives
suicide bombers to their acts of desperation.
In one of his poems, Diary of a
Palestinian Wound, he wrote that “This land absorbs the skins of martyrs…We
are its wound, but a wound that fights.”
Stripped of its poetical lyricism, Darwish’s poetry praised
the martyrdom of terrorists whom he viewed as freedom fighters.
Turning more cynical during his final months, Darwish sharply
criticized the violent infighting between Hamas and Fatah, which he said was
creating two prisons instead of one independent state. Yet in Darwish’s eyes Israel remained the
hated “Enemy,” with a fatalistic twist.
In one of his last poems, Darwish wrote that the Israeli
killers and their Palestinian victims would “die together in one hole.”
The great poet Barrett Browning once wrote
that “Art's the witness of what is behind this show.” Mahmoud Darwish betrayed his craft and his own
people by turning his poems into weapons of war against Israel instead
of reflection on the real cause of the Palestinians’ self-inflicted wounds. He fed the fictional narrative of the
Palestinians’ innocent victim status rather than bear witness to what was
“behind this show.” He squandered the
chance to educate his people on how their own leaders and their Arab neighbors
missed opportunity after opportunity in the last sixty years for the
Palestinians to live as a free people under their own flag in peaceful
co-existence, and as part of a thriving economic union, with Israel.
the only nation in the world that was created by a direct act of the United
Nations, as part of the partition of the British Mandate that the Arabs
rejected out of hand. The United Nations
has long since betrayed its own history and any sense of moral conscience by
siding with the deniers of Israel’s legitimacy.
Its one-sided resolutions and official pronouncements against Israel are
both fiction and farce, which complement the late Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry of
fiction and rationalizations.