Palestinian Convicted for the Crime of Poetry
All totalitarian regimes operate the same way – wanting the message controlled, criminalizing legitimate dissent, targeting anything daring to challenge oppressive policies.
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.
She’s one of countless numbers of Palestinians persecuted for resisting occupation harshness – her way through the power of moving poetry.
She was illegally arrested and detained 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 hanging-court trial proceedings, convictions nearly always rubber-stamp against Palestinians, justice systematically denied.
On Thursday, Datour was convicted for her poetry and social media posts.
“My trial ripped off the masks, she explained. “The whole world will hear my story. The whole world will hear what Israel’s democracy is.”
“A democracy for Jews only. Only Arabs go to jail. The court said I am convicted of terrorism. If that’s my terrorism, I give the world a terrorism of love.”
In 2016, 150 noted literary figures and artists issued a statement on her behalf, saying:
“We believe in the rights of artists and writers to freely express their artistic vision, and share work freely.”
“The Israeli government’s actions reveal a desire to silence Tatour, part of a larger pattern of Israeli repression against all Palestinians.”
“Expressing resistance to oppression and Occupation through poetry is by nature non-violent and should not be criminalized by any government.”
“We, the undersigned – writers, artists, and people of conscience from around the world – believe that poetry is not a crime. We are calling for poet and activist Dareen Tatour to be released immediately from house arrest and for all charges to be dropped.”
Last summer, over 1,000 Israelis signed a petition on her behalf, calling for her unconditional release.
Her indictment disgracefully claimed her “content, its exposure and the circumstances of its publication created a real possibility that acts of violence or terrorism will be committed” – a bald-faced lie.
Datour’s lawyer Gaby Lasky said her poetry “speaks among other things about the Dawabshe family and others who were hurt by Jews. The police officer who translated the poem unprofessionally took things out of context,” adding:
“The trial was designed entirely to intimidate and silence Palestinians in Israel, to make them censor themselves for fear of being put on trial and criminalization of poetry.”
“When the state tries people for poetry, that derogates from the cultural richness of all society.”
Palestinian poetry and other forms of free expression critical of Israeli ruthlessness are considered criminal offenses by a regime contemptuous of freedom, equity, justice, and other fundamental human rights.
Through poetry, Datour urged Palestinians to “resist” against what no free societies tolerate.
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