Remi Kanazi: To Exist is to Resist

Free Minds for a Free Palestine

http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/Groupvideo.1849051Palestinian New Yorker, Remi performs 2 of his poems.

In my mind
Palestinian New Yorker, Remi performs 2 of his poems.

In my mind
I’ve freed Palestine
Envisioned a dream
That just needs to be seen
Olive trees and fields of figs
Orange groves
That lead to our roads
No blocks filled with cops
No ten-year-olds shot
Freedom
Is what I got

I understand my grandmother’s plan
To live on her bought and paid for land
And though it isn’t in her hands
It remains in her heart
Every time another is killed
We go back to the start

1948: the date you make us remember
The star and scars of David
And we’re the ones who’ve hated?
We’ve been raped and berated
By bullets and forced “immigration”
Squatting and settling
Left wrestling with the best Zionism has to offer
While the US fills its coffers
We’re seen as monsters

Our people blow up in pain
Black-eyed and half-insane
Wouldn’t you be?
If an Israeli bullet penetrated your child’s brain?

I envision Palestine in my mind
With the “chosen” frozen in time
To realize their morality’s blind
To take back generations of crime
And put an end to Apartheid

How many kids sit and wish
They could be labeled other than a terrorist
To exist is to resist!
Reads the graffiti in their cities

Give them chalk instead of rocks
They’ll use the blackboardsa
If you let them go to school

Give them chalk instead of rocks
Instead you bulldoze the block
Destroy their homes
Palestine is what you call the “no building zone”

But you can’t bulldoze our minds
Every time we’ll rise through ashes
Like Cassius Clay
We’ll bob and weave for infinity
There is no divinity
In bombing our cities
Setting up committees to treat us differently
We’re from Falasteen
The land where dreams are made

So just remember one thing
One day the bells of freedom will ring
And you’ll see me smiling
Loving life in Palestine

remi@poeticinjustice.net

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Poets for Palestine!

poets-for-pal.jpgIt’s that time of year, when we give, if we can, something nice to people we love. The past few years on Peacepalestine, and not only at Christmas, I’ve suggested books, and this time, it’s not going to be any different. The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan was one of the best books possible to read for an understanding of Palestine/Israel history. Joe Sacco’s Palestine, a graphic novel, does for the Nakba what Art Spiegelman did for the Holocaust, and it is a book with images that stay imprinted on the mind for days. This year’s suggested book takes some of those things and combines them with a few new elements in a completely different format. Poets For Palestine, (Edited by Remi Kanazi, who you can see on Palestine Think Tank performing two of his poems), is a collection of poetry and artwork that is an emotional tour de force.

The works presented are by a wide range of (mostly) young poets. There is an overall feel of musicality and rhythm that is a soundtrack of the Palestinian urban experience as well as a facet of the Exile experience that many Palestinians live, where the need for space is always a pulsing demand. Yet, there is a lyricism and tenderness that resounds in many of these poems, bringing to mind not only landscapes and horizons, but also a sense of longing, loss and desire that comes from the tradition of the greatest love poems. There is a sense that the goal is fulfilment – always expected and never attained. The beloved is close, always there, but unreachable just when we need love most. The love of Palestine that these poets feel, (not all of them Palestinian) is the common thread, but it is a love story of lovers who lay on a bed of broken glass. Salvation and Destruction are always intertwined, the one always expecting the other, living on the edge of life and death, and always aware of it. Awareness, that is the word that comes to mind, an awareness of the importance of every little thing, of how every memory, no matter how small, is there to serve the life of the mind that carries that memory, so it better be recorded well, no second chances.

And upon reading this collection, dispersing at will the order, driven by the content in the artwork that accompanies many of these poems, I came to the conclusion that this book is a declaration of a very complicated love. Complicated because of the difficulty of obtaining it, and the need to have it. Love not only of Palestine, past, present and future, but especially of the people of Palestine, who are dispersed like the seeds in the wind, but who never lose sight of where they come from. They depict the land and its people like a swoon, a sigh and a sob. But it is more than that, there is the expression of joy, vitality and a serenity within the ritual, as habit and customs replay over and over the story of humanity. Simple things that everyone can identify with, things like sharing a tea, a bed, a smile with someone dear, and the desire that those things, the things that really count, will not be drowned out by starvation, alienation and separation.

The struggle is always there, even when it is “not”. It is part of everything, within everything that counts. And everything counts. This is what these poems tell us, about the importance of detail, the lingering of memory and the liberation of forgiveness. It is a book that shatters and shakes, comforts and embraces. In short, it is an almost perfect collection, and with a leitmotif like Palestine, how could it be any different? Palestine is a paradigm for every human experience, great and small, and this wonderful, beautiful collection presents a crystal with a thousand facets, as every poem in itself is a world unto itself.

Source: PalestineThinkTank