Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Samih al-Qasim 1939-2014

Besides of Mahmud Darwish, Samih al-Qasim was the most prominent Palestinian "poet of the resistance" but far more radical and unforgiving than the former. He was born 1939 in az-Zarqa (then Transjordan) into a Druze family from Rama, a mixed village in the Galilee, where his family returned to prior of 1948. Some would argue his radicalism compared to Darwish is due to his heritage - which may kinda forced forced him to prove his nationalism even more because of the perception of the Druze as collaborators with Israel - but honestly I am not convinced.

Although al-Qasim was very secular and a long time member of the Communist Party, he had never hidden his Druze background. In 1960 he was one of the first Druze who were imprisoned for refusing conscription into the IDF and later he was very active to mobilize support for the Communist Party and the anti-conscription movement among his fellow Druze in Israel.

He died last week in Safad at the age of 75. Samih al-Qasim was one of the last, maybe the last, icons of the Arab left in Israel.

 with Yasir Arafat & George Habash in the 80's

 recent picture with poet and former Hadash-activist Salman Natur (left) and Rafiq Halabi, former TV journalist and now mayor of Daliyat al-Karmal

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