Palestinian poet to be buried in Ramallah

The funeral procession for the 67-year-old poet will be the equivalent of a state funeral, an honour previously accorded only to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who died in 2004.

Palestinian poet to be buried in Ramallah

Thousands of Palestinians are expected to bid farewell to Mahmoud Darwish, whose poetry encapsulated the Palestinian cause, when his funeral is held on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The funeral procession for the 67-year-old poet will be the equivalent of a state funeral, an honour previously accorded only to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who died in 2004.

"He did not die, because he left a legacy of poetry behind him. He is immortal in our hearts," businessman Mohammad Saqf al-Heit said beside the plot where Darwish is to be buried.

During the three days of national mourning following his death, portraits of Darwish lined the streets of Ramallah, together with his famous mantra: "There is much on this land worth living for".

Darwish died on Saturday from complications following heart surgery in a U.S. hospital in Houston, Texas.

His award-winning poetry, which was translated into more than 20 languages, has served as an eloquent witness of Palestinian exile and loss of homeland.

Born in territory that is now in Israel occupation, Darwish made his home in Ramallah. He was jailed several times by the Israelis.

He left in 1971 for the Soviet Union and exile in Cairo, Beirut, Tunis and Paris followed.

During his years abroad he rose to prominence in Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and returned to the West Bank in the 1990's.

He resigned from PLO in 1993 shortly after Arafat and Israel signed Oslo accords.

Friends said Darwish opposed the agreement because it fell short of the Palestinian demands that Israel return all land occupied in a 1967 Middle East war and recognize the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The plot of land set aside for Darwish's grave is on a hill nearby to the Ramallah Cultural Palace where, in July, Darwish read his last new poems.

Reuters

Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2008, 15:14
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