In his introduction to the volume where this poem is published, the Palestinian poet and critic Izzedine al-Manasrah writes that Rashid Hussein’s “angry poetry condemns the period of bourgeois Arab domination of the Palestine problem.” Below, a poem emblematic of Hussein’s condemnation, “Thawra ‘ala Safar.”
What is left of the revolutions?What is left of my sweetest dreams ?Besides ruins and banquetsand stars on the shouldersof those who explain away our defeats!?****What’s left but an army of articles fillingthe coffers of journalists?And explanations justifying the crime?What’s left but a singer weeping over Haifa and Jaffa?And banks sweating dinars looted from Jerusalem?!What’s left but starting the revolution anew?What’s left but to kill the crime?****The revolution is born in two eyes without a nationThe revolution is born a peasant without land.Now only the police have landand on it they imprison us all.The revolution is born when the illiterateand the writerand the blind know the truth.After the revolution writing will be freeand truth will be free.****So my friendsI’m tired of being drugged by the speeches of Arab Kings.I’m tired of a god who lives in the Seven Heavens.A god who only cares aboutprohibiting pork and permitting gold.****I’m tired of this godwho sells heavens and virgins.So condemn me to helland you’re condemned to collect the woodto keep it burning.****So you Arabspatience has become exhausting.I’m angry nowI’m angryI’m still angry.The revolution desires anger.****Then what?In front of all the priests,a child gave birth.They dragged her to the market were she remainsnothing but the butt of insults.So when I write a poemI’m torn apartand blood from my mother’s womb pours from my faceand my poetry goes madsearching for the faces of traitors.****So I remain a peasantand a poet.Wherever I walkyou will see a revolutionary.Translated into English by Esmat Elhalaby from the Arabic original in: Rashid Hussein, Ana al-Ard la tahrimni al-Matar (Beirut: Munazzamat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyyah, 1976). Originally published in al-Adab v. 20 n. 3 (1972).