PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, on the 9th anniversary of the passing of Mahmoud Darwish said, according to the PNN: ”On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the people of Palestine, we mark with great sorrow the 9th anniversary of the death of Palestine’s greatest poet and national literary figure, Mahmoud Darwish, whose passing continues to be felt in Palestine and throughout the world.
“Darwish was not just a national poet; he was a poet of humanity and creativity who forged a new language and awareness for Palestine and beyond. He humanized Palestinian reality during its darkest hours, and he generated an undeniable energy to legitimize hope and affirmation, as well as resistance.
“We will always remain grateful to Darwish who embodied the Palestinian people’s yearning for freedom, love and life. His unwavering commitment to the struggle against injustice, discrimination and exclusion continues to inspire us and give us the strength to remain steadfast and undeterred in our own efforts to achieve freedom and independence for Palestine.
“Darwish was a lover from Palestine and a lover of Palestine. The excerpt from the poem below, “A Lover from Palestine,” fuses Darwish’s passion for the homeland (watan) with the essential life-giving force of love:
Take me, wherever you are,
Take me, however you are.
To be restored to the warmth of face and body,
To the light of heart and eye,
To the salt of bread and song,
To the taste of earth and homeland.
Shelter me in the warmth of your gaze,
Take me, a panel of almond wood, in the cottage of sorrows,
Take me, a verse from the book of my tragedy,
Take me, a plaything or a stone from the house,
So that our next generation may recall
The path of return to our home.
Her eyes and the tattoo on her hands are Palestinian,
Her name, Palestinian,
Her dreams, and sorrow, Palestinian,
Her Kerchief, her feet and body, Palestinian,
Her words and her silence, Palestinian,
Her voice, Palestinian,
Her birth and her death, Palestinian,
I have carried you in my old notebooks
As the fire of my verses,
The sustenance for my journeys.
“He remains in the individual and collective memory of Palestinians everywhere as the gentle force that “forge[d] in the smithy of [his] soul the uncreated conscience of [his] race.”
(From James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)