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Mahmoud Darwish's Latest Text 

You, From Now On, Are Not Yourself!

by Mahmoud Darwish   

Al-Ayyam, 17.6.2007
Did we have to fall from a tremendous height so as to see our blood on our hands…to realize that we are no angels…as we thought?
Did we also have to expose our flaws before the world so that our truth would no longer stay virgin?How much we lied when we said: we are the exception!
To believe oneself is worse than to lie to the other!

To be friendly with those who hate us and harsh on those who love us — that is the lowness of the arrogant and the arrogance of the low!

  • past: Do not change us whenever we stepped away from you!

  • future: do not ask us: who are you?  and what do you want from me? Because we too, do not know.

  • present! Bear with us a little because we are nothing but insufferable passersby.

The identity is: what we bequeath and not what we inherit. What we invent and not what we remember. The identity is the corruption of the mirror that we must break whenever we liked the image!

He masked himself and pulled up his courage and killed his mother…because she was the easiest of prey…and because a female soldier stopped him and exposed her bosoms to him saying: Does your mother have ones like these?

Had it not been for shame and darkness, I would have visited Gaza without knowing the way to the home of the new Abu Sufian* or the name of the new prophet!

Had Muhammad not been the last of the prophets, every gang would have had a prophet and every apostle had a militia!

June astonished us in its fortieth anniversary: if we do not find someone to defeat us again, we defeat ourselves with our hands so as not to forget!

No matter how long you look in my eyes, you will not find my gaze there. It was kidnapped by a scandal!

My heart is not mine and not for anyone. It became independent of me without turning into a stone.

Does the one chanting on the body of his victim-brother: "Allahu Akbar" know that he is an infidel since he sees God in his image: smaller than any perfectly created human.

The prisoner who seeks to inherit the prison hid the smile of victory from the camera, but he could not succeed in curbing the happiness that cascaded from his eyes.
Perhaps because the fast-paced script was stronger than the actor.

What is our need for Narcissus so long as we are Palestinians.

As long as we do not know the difference between the mosque and the university because they are derived from the same linguistic root, what is our need for a state so long as it and the day are facing one fate?

A large sign on the door of a nightclub: we welcome the Palestinians returning from the battle. Entry is free!  And our wine does not intoxicate!

I cannot defend my right to work; a shoe shiner on the pavement.
Because my customers have the right to consider me a shoe thief – a university professor told me!

"The stranger and I are against my cousin. My cousin and I are against my brother…and my sheik and I are against myself." This is the first lesson in the new national education in the dungeons of darkness.

Who enters paradise first? The one who died by the bullets of the enemy or the one who died by the bullets of the brother?

Some theologians say: Many an enemy of yours that your mother gave birth to!

The fundamentalists do not exasperate me because they are believers in their special way. But, their secular supporters do and their atheist supporters, too, who only believe in one religion: their images on television!

He asked me: does a hungry guard defend a house whose owner traveled to spend his summer vacation at the French or the Italian Riviera…no difference?

I said: he does not defend!

He asked me: do I + I = two?

I said: you and you are less than one!

I am not ashamed of my identity because it is still in the process of being written. But I am ashamed of parts of the Prolegomenon of Ibn Khaldoun.

You, from now on, are not yourself!

* Abu Sufian was the leader of Mecca when the Muslims took over; Meccans who entered his home were given sanctuary.