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Mahmoud Darwish

Image of Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish was a widely known and popular Palestinian poet. He was born in Berweh, a village east of Acre, Palestine, in 1942. When the Israelis occupied his home in 1948, Darwish began to experience many forms of oppression. Early in life, Darwish became politically active through his poetry and involvement in the Israeli Communist Party, Rakah. He spent a period as the editor of Rakah's newspaper, Al-Ittihad (Unity). Darwish's political advocacy brought him a great deal of negative Israeli attention, which included harassment and house arrest. Finally, in 1971, after years of hardship, Darwish left Israel and fled into exile in Beirut, Lebanon. By this time, he had established and upheld an outstanding reputation as one of the leading poets of the resistance. Many of his poems have been converted to music in order to fuel the Palestinian defiance. The Arab population and the international community honor his poetic achievements. Among his accomplishments are the 1969 Lotus Prize and thirty compilations of poetry and prose. His latest publication (1988) is a collection of poetry, Sareer El Ghariba [Bed of a Stranger]. Darwish lived in Paris and was the editor of the Palestinian literary review Al Karmel. He died in 2008.

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