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Abstract

Darwish's poetry was a central part of what is to be a Palestinian and to be an Arab. By weaving the personal and the political, Darwish gave a voice to the Palestinian struggle for self determination, as much as to the human inner quest for love and survival. I grew up learning his poems, hearing them sung by famous Arab singers, repeated in worldwide demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinian people. His departure left me, and a whole generation of Arabs, deeply bereaved for his death represented not simply the loss of a great poet, but also the necessity to re-question the meaning of Palestine. Darwish's poetry reminds us that Palestine is exile as much as home, a struggle for political justice as much as for what it is to be a cosmopolitan citizen. It remains the quintessential human struggle for dignity, justice and humanity, globally as much as locally.

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