“. . . fields yield no more to their tillers than memories of weariness. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

From "Maps," by RAFAT ASAD
From “Maps,” by RAFAT ASAD

From This Week in Palestine
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: RAFAT ASAD
Julie Couzinet
May 2015 (Issue 205)
Fully connected to his environment and the people who surround him, Palestinian artist Rafat Asad opens with each of his productions a new and intimate window onto Palestine’s landscape.
___Born in Nablus in 1974, Rafat obtained a BA in fine arts from An-Najah University in 1998. Although he mainly focuses on paintings, he explores other forms of expression through light and sound installations, videos, and performances. His work has been shown in group exhibitions in Palestine, Cuba, Europe, Japan, the United States, and the Arab world, as well as in three solo exhibitions in Nablus, Ramallah, and London.
(More. . .)

From +972 Magazine
S. AFRICAN JEWS IN LUBYA: WE’RE HERE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE NAKBA
Natasha Roth
May 2, 2015
In a forest glade set atop the remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya in the Lower Galilee, a delegation of South African Jews made a public apology to the descendants of refugees from Lubya and their families Friday evening.
___The event, a joint initiative of the South African delegation and representatives of Lubya’s displaced persons, concerned the use of donations made by the South African Jewish community to the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which went toward planting the “South Africa Forest.” This forest is part of the larger Lavie Forest that covers what was once Lubya, which was depopulated on July 16-17, 1948. Kibbutz Lavie, founded in 1949, was also established on the lands of the former village. . .
(More. . .)

Youngest of the Zaatari brother of East Jerusalem
Youngest of the Zaatari brother of East Jerusalem

From Ma’an News Agency
ISRAEL DETAINS 4 CHILDREN IN 2 DAYS FROM SAME JERUSALEM FAMILY
April 30, 2015
BETHLEHEM — Undercover Israeli operatives detained and interrogated a 7-year-old Palestinian boy and his twelve-year-old brother in occupied East Jerusalem Tuesday, only a day after two 15-year-olds from the same family were taken.
___The boy and his older brother, from the Zaatari family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, were detained by Israeli operatives dressed as Palestinian locals while walking in the street Tuesday evening, the boys’ grandfather told Ma’an.
___The Zaatari family has had four children detained this week. . .
Israel detained 1,266 Palestinian children below the age of 15 in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2014, according to a PLO report, and over 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces since 2000.
(More. . .)
(More about Israeli treatment of Palestinian children)

from Ma’an News Agency
HUNDREDS PRAY OUTSIDE CLOSED MOSQUE IN BEERSHEBA
May 2, 2015
BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) — Some 250 Palestinians performed Friday prayers outside a mosque in Beersheba in southern Israel that Israeli authorities have kept closed since 1948.
___The prayers came amid heavy Israeli police presence, with police sealing the roads leading toward the mosque.
___The initiative was called for by Sheikh Hassan Abu Ubeid from al-Ramla. . .
___Abu Ubeid told Ma’an: “We are here to continue what those who fought before us started in liberating our mosque. It is unreasonable that our mosque has been closed for 67 years and we stand still”. . .
___The Ottoman-era mosque was first closed to Palestinian worshipers in 1948, when it was used as an Israeli prison during the war that led to the creation of the Israeli state . . .
(More. . .)
(More about the Mosque. . .)

Praying outside the Beersheba Mosque
Praying outside the Beersheba Mosque

From Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
HAMAS SWEEPS STUDENT COUNCIL ELECTIONS IN WEST BANK
Author Adnan Abu Amer
Translator Pascale Menassa
April 28, 2015
The results of the student council elections at Palestinian universities in the West Bank came as a big surprise for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority — a happy one for the former and a bad one for the latter. Hamas was able to achieve electoral success despite the security pressure it has been facing from the PA and Israel at once.
___The April 21 election at Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, resulted in a tie between the Islamic Bloc, Hamas’ student arm, and the Fatah Youth Movement, with each party winning 15 seats. Meanwhile, on April 22, Birzeit University announced the victory of the Islamic Bloc, which beat Fatah with 905 votes.
___Abdul Rahman Hamdan, the head of the Islamic Bloc, told Al-Monitor, “This victory is proof that Palestinians support the resistance, as it is the only way to obtain our rights and refuse the PA’s project, which is based on negotiations.
(More. . .)

“A HOMELAND,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While noting remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!

Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samīħ al-Qāsim سميح القاسم‎; (born 1939) is a Palestinian Druze whose Arabic poetry is well known throughout the Arab World. His poetry is influenced by two primary periods of his life: Before and after the Six-Day War. Al-Qasim has published several volumes and collections of poetry.

The Beersheba Mosque
The Beersheba Mosque

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