by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish
They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck away my color in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist Who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognize me,
Ah . . . Don't leave
The palm of my hand without the sun
Because the trees recognize me
Don't leave me pale like the moon!
All the birds that followed my palm
To the door of the distant airport
All the wheatfields
All the prisons
All the white tombstones
All the barbed Boundaries
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the eyes
were with me,
But they dropped them from my passport
Stripped of my name and identity?
On soil I nourished with my own hands?
Today Job cried out
Filling the sky:
Don't make and example of me again!
Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,
Don't ask the trees for their names
Don't ask the valleys who their mother is
From my forehead bursts the sward of light
And from my hand springs the water of the river
All the hearts of the people are my identity
So take away my passport!
The lamentation of the displaced, the exposing and the repudiation of the unjust….these seem to have been a common theme in my work. Keep in mind this is in the context of being a Muslim Lebanese-American. It is an agonizing experience, however, to deal with these issues. You can almost hear Mr. Darwish screaming in his poem. It can often be quite unbearable. Despite this fact, I remain dedicated and loyal to my roots, to my faith and my morals.
The internal psychological pain, complemented by the dually psychological and physical pain of those who actually live in Lebanon, in Palestine, in Iraq…this is a pain that is carried by all. It is, of course, a fraction of who we are, and I have come to realize that to dwell on it will have meant that those who violate us have succeeded.
So far, I have been creating work that has dealt with this pain. I have grown tired, and I desire to move away from the precious object and focus my energies on work that will benefit my own community.
thoughts and media by Ali Abdallah_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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