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I am with terrorism

by Nizar Qabbani

Fantastic Love

We are accused of terrorism:
if we defended rose and woman
and the mighty verse ...
and the blueness of sky ...
A dominion .. nothing left therein...
No water, no air ..
No tent, no camel,
and not even dark Arabica coffee!!

We are accused of terrorism:
if we defended with guts
the hair of Balqis
and the lips of Maysun
if we defended Hind, and Da`d
Lubna and Rabab ..
and the stream of Kohl
coming down from their lashes like the verses of revelation.
You will not find with me
a secret poem
or a secret logos
or books I put behind doors.
I do not even have one poem
walking down the street, wearing veil.

We are accused of terrorism:
if we wrote about the ruins of a homeland
torn, weak ...
a homeland with no address
and an nation with no names

I seek the remnants of a homeland
none of its grand poems is left
except the bemoans of Khansa.

I seek a dominion in whose horizons
no freedom can be found
red .. blue or yellow.

A homeland forbidding us from bying a newspaper
or listening to the news.
A dominion wherein birds are forbidden
from chirping.
A homeland wherein, out of terror [ru`b],
its writers got accustomed to write about
nothing.
A homeland, in the likeness of poetry in our lands:
It is vain talk,
no rhythm,
imported
Ajam, with a crooked face and tongue:
No beginning
No end
No relation with people's worry
mother earth
and the crisis of man.

A dominion ...
going to peace talks
with no honor
no shoe.

A homeland,
men peed in their pans ..
women are those left to defend honor.

Salt in our eyes
Salt in our lips
Salt in our words
Can the self carry such dryness?
An inheritance we got from the barren Qahtan?
In our nation, no Mu`awiya, and no Abu Sufiyan
No one is left to say "NO"
and face the quitters
they gave up our houses, our bread and our [olive] oil.
They transformed our bright history into a mediocre store.

In our lives, no poem is left,
since we lost our chastity in the bed of the Sultan.

They got accustomed to us, the humbled.
What is left to man
when all that remains
is disgrace.

I seek in the books of history
Ussamah ibn al-Munqith
Uqba ibn Nafi`
Omar, and Hamzah
and Khalid, driving his flocks conquering the Shem.
I seek a Mu`tasim Billah
Saving women from the cruelty of rape
and the fire.

I seek latter days men
All I can see is frightened cats
Scared for their own souls, from
the sultanship of mice.

Is this an overwhelming national blindness?
Are we blind to colors?

We are accused of terrorism
If we refuse to die
with Israel's bulldozers
tearing our land
tearing our history
tearing our Evangelium
tearing our Koran
tearing the graves of our prophets
If this was our sin,
then, lo, how beautiful terrorism is?

We are accused of terrorism
if we refused to be effaced
by the hands of the Mogul, Jews and Barbarians
if we throw a stone
at the glass of the the Security Council
after the Ceasar of Ceasars got a hold of it.

We are accused of terrorism
if we refuse to negociate with the wolf
and shake the hand with a whore
America
Against the cultures of the peoples
with no culture
Against the civilizations of the civilized
with no civilization
America
a mighty edifice
with no walls!

We are accused of terrorism:
if we refused an era
America became
the foolish, the rich, the mighty
translated, sworn
in Hebrew.

We are accused of terrorism:
if we throw a rose
to Jerusalem
to al-Khalil
to Ghazza
to an-Nasirah
if we took bread and water
to beleaguered Troy.

We are accused of terrorism:
if we raised our voices against
the regionalists of our leaders.
All changed their rides:
from Unionists
to Brokers.

If we committed the heinous crime of culture
if we revolted against the orders of the grand caliph
and the seat of the caliphate
If we read jurisprudence or politics
If we recalled God
and read verse al-Fat-h
[that Chapter of Conquest].
If we listened to the Friday sermon
then we are well-established in the art of terrorism

We are accused of terrorism
if we defended land
and the honor of dust
if we revolted against the rape of people
and our rape
if we defended the last palm trees in our desert
the last stars in our sky
the last syllabi of our names
the last milk in our mothers' bosoms
if this was our sin
how beautiful is terrorism.

I am with terrorism
if it is able to save me
from the immigrants from Russia
Romania, Hungaria, and Poland

They settled in Palestine
set foot on our shoulders
to steal the minarets of al-Quds
and the door of Aqsa
to steal the arabesques
and the domes.

I am with terrorism
if it will free the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth,
and the virgin, Meriam Betula
and the holy city
from the ambassadors of death and desolation

Yesteryear
The nationalist street was fervent
like a wild horse.
The rivers were abundant with the spirit of youth.

But after Olso,
we no longer had teeth:
we are now a blind and lost people.

We are accused of terrorism:
if we defended with full-force
our poetic heritage
our national wall
our rosy civilization
the culture of flutes in our mountains
and the mirrors displaying blackened eyes.

We are accused of terrorism:
if we defended what we wrote
El azure of our sea
and the aroma of ink
if we defended the freedom of the word
and the holiness of books

I am with terrorism
if it is able to free a people
from tyrants and tyranny
if it is able to save man from the cruelty of man
to return lemon, olive tree, and bird to the South of Lebanon
and the smile back to Golan

I am with terrorism
if it will save me
from the Caesar of Yehuda
and the Caesar of Rome

I am with terrorism
as long as this new world order
is shared
between America and Israel
half-half

I am with terrorism
with all my poetry
with all my words
and all my teeth
as long as this new world
is in the hands of a butcher.

I am with terrorism
if the U.S. Senate
enacts judgment
decrees reward and punishment

I am with Irhab [terrorism]
as long this new world order
hates the smell of A`rab.

I am with terrorism
as long as the new world order
wants to slaughter my off-spring.
and send them to dogs.

For all this
I raise my voice high:
I am with terrorism
I am with terrorism
I am with terrorism ...

London, 15 April 1997

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