Al-Ahram Weekly Online   8 - 14 January 2009
Issue No. 929
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

A magical evening
Nehad Selaiha finds solace and good cheer in a revival of Alfred Farag's Ali Janah Al-Tabrizi
Nurturing hope
In January 2002 as Israeli forces laid siege to Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, based in Ramallah at the time, began writing his long poem "State of Siege," which later in the year appeared in book form. Today, as the brutal Israeli war on Gaza enters its second week, killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians and injuring thousands more, we intend to do what Darwish in his poem said that every Palestinian would then continue doing: "We nurture hope." Though Darwish died in 2008 and was mourned across the Arab world, his voice lives on, not least in this poem. The translation reproduced below first appeared in Al-Ahram Weekly in April 2002 by special permission of the author. It is based on extracts from the longer work made by Darwish himself that first appeared in his periodical Al-Karmel.
Plain Talk
By Mursi Saad El-Din

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