|When:||Sunday 28 April 2002
|What:||In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom event|
About this Event
Mahmoud Darwish read his poetry at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, on Sunday 28 April 2002, following a concert by the Lebanese musician Marcel Kahlife, who performed musical arrangements based on Mr. Darwish’s poetry.
Mr. Darwish’s visit stems from Swarthmore’s interest in expanding its program and resources in Islamic Studies. Professors from Swarthmore’s English and religion departments proposed he be invited to campus, and with the help of alumni and Lannan Foundation, the College arranged the visit.
Edward Said, recipient of a Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement, introduced both Mr. Darwish and Mr. Khalife. Mr. Darwish read in Arabic from his recent work, while poets Carolyn Forché and Naomi Shihab Nye read selections of his poetry in English. They did not read the same works as Mr. Darwish.
Following the reading, Swarthmore students Amalle Dublon, ‘04 (a citizen of Israel) and Selma Hassan, ‘02 (from Sudan) presented Mr. Darwish with a tree to be planted on the Swarthmore campus in his honor.
Dear Ustaz Mahmoud Darwish,
A number of us among the students and faculty here at Swarthmore wish to express our deep appreciation for your presence and your words, especially in these painful times.
It is our great honor to present you with this Lebanese cedar in recognition of your work in providing a voice for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian struggle.
This sapling will be planted on our campus in your honor, along with a plaque inscribed with a stanza from your poem, Rubayat.
Thank you, Ustaz Mahmoud Darwish, for the seeds you have planted in our community.
I’ve seen all I want to see of peace:
A deer, a pasture, and a stream.
I close my eyes:
The deer is asleep in my arms -
His hunter is asleep in a faraway place
Near his children.
I’ve seen all I want to see of war
A spring of water
Our forefathers squeezed
From a green stone.
Our fathers inherited the water
But they do not give it to us.
I close my eyes:
What is left of the land
I make with my own hands.
Selma Hassan ‘02
Amalle Dublon ‘04
Dann Naseemallah ‘02