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Eulogy for a Palestinian Propagandist By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, August 19, 2008


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 loss.”

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 acts.

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?!

Therefore!
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
Beware..
Beware..
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 stateless refugees.

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 more diligently.

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 Palestinian brethren.

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 away
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:

“Today 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…

The 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.

Israel is 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.



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