‘Silence for the Sake of Gaza,’ Mahmoud Darwish

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Arabic Literature (in English)

Ibrahim Muhawi’s translation of Journal of an Ordinary Grief (Ar: 1973, Eng: 2010) is dedicated to the people of Gaza. This is from the section “Silence for the Sake of Gaza”:

Gaza is not the most beautiful of cities.

Her coast is not bluer than those of other Arab cities.

Her oranges are not the best in the Mediterranean.

Gaza is not the richest of cities.

(Fish and oranges and sand and tents forsaken by the winds, smuggled goods and hands for hire.)

And Gaza is not the most polished of cities, or the largest. But she is equivalent to the history of a nation, because she is the most repulsive among us in the eyes of the enemy – the poorest, the most desperate, and the most ferocious. Because she is a nightmare. Because she is oranges that explode, children without a childhood, aged men without an old age, and…

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