Review: Poets For Palestine

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Culture, DVD - Light, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, War & Face of Battle

Poets PalestineRemarkable Gift, Bargain Price, Provokes Reflection, October 30, 2008

Remi Kanazi (Editor)

This is one of those rare books that I agreed to read and review after hearing from the publisher. At first I said no, then I realized Palestine was very much within my range of interests even if poetry was not, and I am glad to have said yes.

The book brings together 37 poets offering 48 poems interwoven with 30 artist renditions each on their own page. The book is made possible in part by a New York based organization, Al Jisser or “the bridge.”

The introduction connects the Palestinians to the much broader concerns of indigenous peoples everywhere, social justice being the shared issue.

Turns of phrase that stayed with me:

– hybrid ideology

– our city is a cell

– memory holding history too harsh to taste

– feel the future dissolve in a moment

– clean water

Five of the poems that resontated with me in a more special way (all are worthy of reading):

– Fathers in Exile

– Moot

– The Coffin Maker Speaks

– Those Policemen are Sleeping: A Call to the Children of Israel and Palestine

– This Is Not a Massacre

As I was preparing to write the review, I noticed the other books that Amazon brings up, using reader choice to connect to other readings of interest, and it hit me: this books is a perfect beginning for anyone who wishes to explore the literature on Palestine's history, current condition, and dubious (or inevitably triumphant) future.

In my notes I wrote “cornerstone for the resurgence of Paletinian identity and self-determination. I am certainly among those who stands with Gandhi, who said “Palestine belongs to the Palestinians the way France belongs to the French.”

I was struck by the book's extension to include Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Lebanon, the latter a country I have come to care about after a teaching mission there in 2007. In that light, below are some links to books I recommend along with this one:

Other non-fiction books I recommend:
Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life
Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul
They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

You can buy this book with confidence that it will satisfy and provoke. Still, as a service to the publisher, who did not use the Amazon “look inside this book” features, here are the titles of all the poems; I type them as a gesture of respect for all that they represent:

Who Am I, Without Exile?
Enemy of Civilization
Portrait of Mona Lisa in Palestine
The Camp Prostitute
Fathers in Exile
Palestinian Identity
Ar-Rahman Road
And So It Goes…
The Seven Honeysuckle-sprigs of Wisdom (extract)
a moonlit visit
Black Horses
The Promised Land
Wall Against Our Breath
Lights Across the Dead Sea
The Coffin Maker Speaks
Morning After the US Invasion of Iraq
The Price of Tomatoes
Palestine in Athens
Saudi Israelia
Hamza Aweiwi, a Shoemaker in Hebron
Humming When We Find Her
Wire Layers
Making Arabic Coffee
My Father and the Figtree
The Tea and Sage Poem
Letter to My Sister
In Memoriam: Edward Said 1935-2003
At the Dome of the Rock
Those Policemen Are Sleeping: A Call to the Children of Israel and Palestine
This is Not a Massacre
23 isolation (Infirad)
Free the P
Another Day Will Come
Morning News
break (bas)
Baby Carriages
An Idea of Return
changing names
Abu Jamal's Olive Trees
A Tree in Ratah

One last observation: here in the United States of America, the Republic has been destroyed–the people are no longer sovereign. Instead, two criminal parties conduct electoral fraud as theater to they can retain their monopoly of political power which they prostitute to Wall Street and the inbred very small financial class that considers both the American people and the Palestinian people to be virtual slaves of no consequence. At some point soon, the American system will “break” and new possibilities will emerge–it remains lunacy as well as criminal for the USA to spend $1.3 trillion a year on war when a third of that amount could assure a prosperous world at peace, including an international Holy City, a Palestine with access to the sea, and an Israel that is not stealing all the water from the Arab aquifers but instead trading high technology for food grown by Arabs.

Poetry–and indigenous peoples reasserting the sovereignty of people over organizations–may yet save us all.