Fairuz in the morning, Um Kulthum by night

Fairuz in the morning
    “I am from Palestine, born in Jordan of course”
    Of course

    Um Kulthum by night

    “I am from Palestine, born in Jordan” – And you? – “Palestine”
    Are you all from Palestine?
    “Remember you are in Jordan” – I know

Fairuz with Nescafe
    to start off the day

    and Um Kulthum to bring on the night
    it will be a long one –

Amman, January 2020

Palestine: Fadwa Tuqan’s poems and data on women’s education

And here is my second attempt at bridging the three areas: poems, justice and data visualization. This time, it’s the Palestinian poet, Fadwa Tuqan, whose poems I have highlighted alongside some charts depicting the progress over the years on a number of women’s education indicators in the West Bank and Gaza.

(Earlier, I had used Audre Lorde and Muriel Rukeyser’s poems with gender data.)

One of the intentions of this exercise is to confound the categories: poetry and data. Of all things, it makes the least sense to compartmentalize poetry. Another thing I am attempting is calling out the patriarchal biases everywhere esp. when it comes to social justice where it again makes least sense. So in the case of poetry from Palestine, it is generally the males – esp. Mahmoud Darwish – who seem to stand in for all Palestinian poetry. The poems here by Fadwa Tuqan stand to correct this imbalance. Also, the indicators on women’s education in the West Bank and Gaza are quite encouraging.

I am here to complete you

"Say to those who are distant: You have reduced me.
I am here to complete you!" - Mahmoud Darwish


Take this anger sold on a nail's
   Coffin; take it will you and
   Snuff it past your gullet
   And singe & screech till the 

Hoarse will cart each syllable
   In slices of emancipated
   Effulgia, evaporated bulbs
   Reading parchments of smolder.

the embrace of the worm is
in the same measure as the protest of love;
the horse

power of disdain matches
the exigency of care; the green of this patch
of grass is in the same measure as my dark
as your dark

grows immeasurable;

but it
does not, does so
only as


Say to those whose lives are chalk, I 
    am here to slip the sleep of oil,

The bark of night and the untold shriek
    To soothe the wail of dust, of the

Hurried chalk; I am here to complete you.