Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paris names a square after the poet Mahmoud Darwish

Photo Ma'an News, Omar Rashidi

The late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has been honored with a square in his name in the city of Paris. It was the first time such a thing happend outside his homeland. The 'Place Mahmoud Darwish'  was unveiled Tuesday by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe in the presence of PA-president Mahmoud Abbas and officials from the French Foreign Ministry, ambassadors from several Arab states, UNESCO, and French and Arab artists living in the city. Darwish himself lived in Paris on and off for years, traveling between the French city and Beirut during his years of exile. The sign of the new 'place' bears a line of Darwish: ''We love life if we find a way to it, '' which is taken from the following poem:

And We Love Life

And we steal from the silkworm a thread to build a sky and fence in this departure.
We open the garden gate for the jasmine to step out on the streets as a beautiful day.

We love life if we find a way to it.

And we plant, where we settle, some fast growing plants, and harvest the dead.
We play the flute like the color of the faraway, sketch over the dirt corridor a neigh.
We write our names one stone at a time, O lightning brighten the night.

We love life if we find a way to it...

(translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah)

In April there was a ceremony in Paris whereby an esplanade was named after Ben Gurion. That drew angry protests from people who immediately called it the 'ethnic cleansing promenade'. 

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