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Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008

By Susan Harris

Mahmoud Darwish is dead. The great poet of Palestinian displacement died in a Houston hospital after open-heart surgery. In a poem in his 2006 "Diary," Darwish writes,

If you were told: you're going to die here this evening

What would you do in the remaining time?

... I realize how my life

Is about to leave me to stay with the living here

And I do not question what will fill the gap.

At the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq, Darwish wrote, in the anguished Nothing but Iraq:

... Indeed, poetry is


And exile

Twins ... and we didn't dream of more

than a life as life

and to die in our own way:

Iraq, Iraq, Nothing But Iraq.

Published Aug 9, 2008   Copyright 2008 Susan Harris

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