Fairuz in the morning
“I am from Palestine, born in Jordan 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
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.
"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;
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
does not, does so
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.