The thinker Abdul Wahab Al-Mesiri also wrote his encyclopedia about Zionism. He – a professor of English literature – stood at length with Palestinian poetry, contemplating, analyzing, and presenting meanings that excite the imagination, which we should consider, in his book: “Palestinianism Was and Still Is.”
Al-Mesiri justifies his choice of poetry as a field of study. It is a literary art that occupies a special place in the Arab cultural heritage. It is the art form that has accompanied them throughout their history. Expressing their victories and defeats, the ancient Arabs believed that the Arab genius expressed itself completely through it, especially lyrical music. Therefore, it was not a coincidence that this poetry was the tongue of the Palestinian resistance.
The knightly poet and identity!
Al-Mesiri believes that lyricism in poetry expresses the human and Arab affiliation to Palestinian resistance poetry. Exaggeration and excessive lyricism are among the characteristics of the victorious knight, or the one hoping for victory who is confident in himself and himself.
This flowing lyricism cannot be understood; Except within the framework of that heroic, generous personality; Which gains its content, not from narrow self-affirmation, but through adherence to its nationalism and history… Therefore, the Palestinian poet does not surrender to defeat; Because he clings to his Arab dignity, his belonging and his continuity.
This is proven by Tawfiq Ziyad’s words:
“I carried my blood on my palms
And my flags were not lowered
“I placed grass over the graves of my ancestors.”
Al-Mesiri adds: Perhaps this deep belief in Arab continuity is what helps the poet Laila Alloush in one of her moments of distress and feeling of alienation. In the poem “Path of Affection,” she looks out the window of her car in the occupied land, and sees the beloved, stolen land, but she does not surrender to sorrows, because they penetrate With her insight into masks, propaganda, and modern voices, to hear the voice of Arab history; So she says:
“Everything is Arabic, despite the change of tongue
Despite all the hybrid green and blue signs
The poplar trees and the sedate orchards of my ancestors
They were all – God’s right hand – laughing at me with an Arab friendliness.”
Between Palestine and Arabism
The Arabism of this poetry – according to his opinion – is not limited to apparent political topics, but rather lies in the language that the poet uses, in the image that he draws of himself, and in his awareness of himself as a human being and a poet.
Abdul Latif Akl’s poem “Only One Face” explains this:
“And here you are, the braids of your Arabic hair in my eyes
Your eyes wet with sadness
You live in my pain and my silence.
Martyr warrior poet
Al-Mesiri says: “When a person becomes the embodiment of his word, that is, when he is martyred, his death transcends letters and words… and the martyr stands as tall as the wall of a house in Gaza. The martyr turns into the dreaming word… and the poem goes beyond the present moment of defeat, to reach the next moment of victory, for there is no Another cause for which so many poets were martyred.”
Al-Messiri noted that resistance poetry is optimistic, as resistance stems from the belief that the moment of hegemony is a fleeting moment, and that the Zionist settlement entity has no future despite all its victories.
His in-depth reading of Palestinian poetry illustrates a recurring pattern in resistance poems: the unjust reality stares at the resistor, but he transcends it. He rises, fights and wins, and is defeated but never surrenders… Here he asks important questions: How do this people overcome their reality and circumstances? How do all these songs and colors come out of the refugee camps? And all these fighters and martyrs, what makes them stick together, and what strengthens them? What makes young children go to throw stones at the enemy? What makes this young man go to his mother after he has performed ablution to tell her that he is going to fight and perhaps for martyrdom? She does not object or mind; Rather, it presents its sons as one martyr after another?
The answers he provides challenge Western thought. He believes that we cannot find a material explanation for this, even if it is dialectical. Such power cannot be based on rational calculations, or on material evidence found in the world of the five senses. We must search for something beyond the surface, beyond the material given.
He introduces this from Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry, saying:
“The senses have become bankrupt and have become a shackle
On our dreams
On the borders of Jerusalem
The senses went bankrupt, and the sense of blood flourished in them
And led them to the far side.”
Darwish asks the material world of things, the world of reality, to move away from his horizon. Because it is a restriction on man's visions and dreams, it is a bankrupt world; Instead, the sense of blood appears, and it is not one of the five senses, as it moves in the world beyond nature.. Therefore, he says:
“And the dream is always truer
There is no difference between a dream and the homeland behind it
A dream is always truer
There is no difference between dreaming
And the body hidden in a fragment
“The dream is more real.”
Al-Musiri says: “What is in the unseen is the promise and what is written, but what is apparent to the senses is the lies of the media and the tanks of the Israeli army… This is what the oppressed and oppressed know, but they also know that God is just, and that they hope from God what the followers of the tyrant do not hope for… Therefore The poetry of the Palestinian resistance – despite the poets’ declared convictions – was a poetry of deep faith.”
Singing in love with Palestine
Al-Mesiri points out that the love of Palestine was the recurring underlying theme in Palestinian poetry, and every Palestinian poet expresses his love for the Palestinian city in which he grew up, and remains steadfastly loyal to his love for it. In this, Fawzi Al-Asmar says in the poem “The Wandering Flute”:
“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world?
And he lost the green almonds from his father's vineyard?
What does a person benefit from?
If he drank coffee in Paris
And he lost her in his father's house?
What would it benefit a person if he traveled the whole world?
And he lost the flowers on his country's hill?
Nothing wins but dead silence inside
As for Youssef Hamdan, Jerusalem in his poems is the beloved, but he will not meet that beloved until he liberates her to become worthy of her love.
He also noted that “the poetry of resistance is full of references to almond and olive trees, oranges, jasmine and thyme… Palestine is the beloved that absorbs all the poets’ love, and monopolizes for itself the words of love and adoration… Here the complete mingling between the poet and his beloved appears, a mingling that leads to the erosion of the distance and boundaries separating them.” It is a love that makes the lover bold and capable of mixing tender words of love and adoration with harsh words drawn from the world of prisons and torture.”
Abdul Latif Akl says:
“I travel across the frontier and you are my beloved
And I take pride in smuggling your eyes
At the border
I am proud of myself
And when the soldiers smash my head
And I drink the cold of prisons
To forget you, to love you more.”
Resilience and roots
Al-Mesiri's study concludes that Palestinian poets realize that the Zionists do not know the inner reassurance that true love and attachment to the land brings. What the Zionists lack is rootedness in the land and connection to it, and this is what the Palestinian has in abundance, and it is one of the reasons for his remarkable steadfastness.
Resistance poetry celebrates steadfastness, as it is a unique form of Palestinian resistance. Although revolutionary poetry usually calls for change and movement, the poets’ extreme attachment to the land expresses itself in many forms of steadfastness.
Al-Mesiri explains this by saying that steadfastness is a silent form of rejection and positive resistance. The Palestinian poet knows that a heavy price must be paid, but the fighter makes the effort and gives in calm and serenity. Because his faith strengthens him.
Palestine, that lost homeland, is still the basic truth in the conscience of poets. Therefore, poets express martyrdom as freedom resulting from faith, and the martyr turns into a symbol of steadfastness. In his martyrdom, he resembles a true poet who does not throw his words carelessly, and he bleeds his blood to give them credibility. The Palestinian blood does not stop bleeding, and thus the Palestinian victory song becomes a human victory song.
Tawfiq Ziad says:
“Here on your chests they remain like a wall
We are hungry, we are naked, we are challenged
We sing poems
We fill the streets with demonstrations
We fill the prisons with pride
We create children, generation after generation
As if we were twenty impossible
We are here to stay
Drink the sea
We guard the shade of figs and olives
We sow ideas like leaven in dough
O our living root, hold on tight
And hit the bottom, you assets.”