Israel’s War on Poetry

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Israel’s War on Poetry

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

The key way rogue states maintain power is by controlling the message, including by criminalizing legitimate dissent.

Israeli bloggers and social media users are treated like fifth column threats, required to submit material for screening before posting. Failure is criminalized.

Regime critics and human rights defenders are considered traitors. They risk prosecution and imprisonment for doing the right things.

Arab Israeli poet Dareen Tatour was imprisoned multiple times for criticizing repressive regime policies, including for her poem titled “Resist, My People, Resist Them” in response to Israel’s brutal murder of three Palestinian children.

Her poem “A Poet Behind Bars” was translated into more than 10 languages, in part saying she wrote about Israeli injustice, explaining “(t)he charge has worn my body, from my toes to the top of my head, for I am a poet in prison, a poet in the land of art.”

“I am accused of words, my pen the instrument. Ink – blood of the heart – bears witness and reads the charges.”

“Listen, my destiny, my life, to what the judge said: A poem stands accused, my poem morphs into a crime. In the land of freedom, the artist’s fate is prison.”

Tatour is one of hundreds of Palestinians arrested and detained for resisting occupation harshness through the power of words, in her case moving poetry.

She’s been illegally detained for nearly two years, first arrested in October 2015, unjustly indicted in November 2016, charged with “incitement to violence” and “support for a terrorist organization” – for her poetry, Facebook and You Tube posts.

She’s been under house arrest until completion of her trial proceedings, monitored by Israeli guards, forced to wear an electronic ankle device and barred from Internet usage.

Her indictment wrongfully alleges her work encourages intifada. It targets her right of free expression, including under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, stating:

“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

Israel flagrantly breaches international law, along with its own Basic and statute laws, notably its efforts to silence dissent. tells her story and Israel’s attempt to silence her for courageously resisting occupation harshness – along with being Arab, not Jewish.

Along with Facebook and You Tube posts, here’s the poem in translation that got her ruthlessly targeted:

“Resist, My People, Resist Them

In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows

And carried the soul in my palm

For an Arab Palestine.

I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”

Never lower my flags

Until I evict them from my land.

I cast them aside for a coming time.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the settler’s robbery

And follow the caravan of martyrs.

Shred the disgraceful constitution

Which imposed degradation and humiliation

And deterred us from restoring justice.

They burned blameless children;

As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,

Killed her in broad daylight.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.

Pay no mind to his agents among us

Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.

Do not fear doubtful tongues;

The truth in your heart is stronger,

As long as you resist in a land

That has lived through raids and victory.

So Ali called from his grave:

Resist, my rebellious people.

Write me as prose on the agarwood;

My remains have you as a response.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist, my people, resist them.”

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.