Mahmoud Darwish, regarded as the Palestinian national poet, died yesterday at a Texas hospital after heart surgery. He is one of the main authors of the Palestinian narrative, and the one who crafted the Palestinian declaration of independence in 1988.
Whatever your political opinion is, it is a big loss for the world of poetry. From the Jewish side of the spectrum, Israel suffered a great loss not too long ago when Dahlia Ravikovitch died in August of 2005. In fact, Mr. Darwish and Mrs. Ravikovitch met more than once and highly regarded each other’s works.
I hope one day Palestinian children will learn of Dhalia’s poems in school while Israeli children will learn of Mahmoud’s works. In fact, Tel Aviv has already honored both poets by including them in the “Shira Hal Ha’derech” project (translated as “Poetry to Go”), which features short poems on posters all across town.