2011/03/30

A Poem by Rashid Hussein

Without a Passport



I was born without a passport
I grew up
and saw my country
become prisons
without a passport

So I raised a country
a sun
and wheat
in every house



I tended to the trees therein
I learned how to write poetry
to make the people of my village happy
without a passport

I learned that he whose land is stolen
does not like the rain
If he were ever to return to it, he will
without a passport

But I am tired of minds 
that have become hotels 
for wishes that never give birth
except with a passport

Without a passport
I came to you
and revolted against you


so slaughter me
perhaps I will then feel that I am dying
without a passport



* Translated by Sinan Antoon. The two poems appear in Rashid Hussein, Al-A`mal al-Shi`riyya (al-Taybe: Markaz Ihya’ al-Turath al-`Arabi, 1990)
[1980 Land Day Poster by Abed Abdi. Image from Unknown Archive]
March 30th is Yam al-Ard (Land Day). It marks the general strike and marches organized in Palestinian towns in Israel on that day in 1976 to protest the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunams of land for “security and settlement purposes.” Six Palestinians were killed in the confrontations. The day and its events marked a turning point in national mobilization and the relationship between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli state. It became an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians everywhere.

 Rashid Hussein