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The Story of a People

An Anthology of Palestinian Poets within the Green-Lines- Edited and translated by Jamal Assadi- With Assistance from Simon Jacobs

Edited By Jamal Assadi

The Story of a People is the sixth in a series of volumes on Palestinian writers who compel into unity the contradictions of being Israeli citizens as well as sons and daughters of the Palestinian people. This volume contains the works of forty poets, and offers a variety of themes, styles, contexts, imagery, tones, and language.
The poets, arranged alphabetically, depict a faithful picture of the various aspects of Arab life among what is called, paradoxically, Israeli-Palestinian societies. They present new arenas where opposing factors harmoniously join to struggle for dignity, freedom, and justice. Readers of this volume will encounter serious poems strewn with light and humorous themes and poems of sensual and spiritual love interwoven with poems of the unusual and political. These Israeli- Palestinian poets’ distinctive flavor emerges from their ability to challenge norms, fight oppression, and burst open closed doors to tell their own stories – the stories of their plight, alienation, marginalization, and hopes and dreams – in a new magnified voice, first to their community, then to their people and nation, then to their country, and now to the wider English-speaking public.


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’Atalla, Yeḥyā Salīm 61


Yeḥyā Salīm ’Atalla (b.1960) Born in Yerka, Western Galilee in 1960, Mr. ’Atalla studied Arabic and History at Haifa University. He currently works as a teacher of Arabic at his village’s secondary school. Sixty Sixty years you have been celebrating your holiday And for your holiday There are sixty rivers in my blood Sixty years you have been celebrating your holiday And for your holiday There are sixty ages spent in camps Sixty years you have been eating the goodness of my land And here I am Sixty years the threshing floors have waited for my harvest Sixty years so far Will your holiday yet grow after sixty While I continue to attend a funeral?! Don’t be cheerful For your holiday has the joy of storms When uprooting the flowers in the gardens’ laps Don’t be cheerful assadi.indd 61 28/10/11 1:21 PM 62 The Story of a People: Palestinian Poets Within the Green-lines For your holiday feels the flames of my burning In the bills of holocausts Don’t be cheerful And in front of you are all the documents Wait and you will hear And read about the rage of the wounded Acknowledge the pain of the truth He whom the words teach not The rifles will. The Summit of What? The summit of what are you?1 Oh, those of you who called yourself a summit The summit of what? Oh, you who mimic the features of the eagle When you are no more than hens...

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