Just as we began the poetry unit once again in AP College English, I realized I thought it would be only fitting to pursue poetry for a project in my Modern Middle East class. My friend and I decided that we would research the role of poetry in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For those who are unfamiliar with the issue, Palestine was a mandate of Britain following WWI and up through just after WWII. As Arab and Jewish violence increased, Britain looked to the United Nations to resolve the conflict. Ultimately, Resolution 181 divided Palestine into Jewish (Israel) and Arab (Palestine) territories. Although the Jews were contended with the terms of the resolution, there was much protest from the Arab community, which proved futile in the resolution process. This resolution removed many Palestinians from their homelands and has fostered much contempt between the two sides, as Israel continued to take even more territory.
Essentially, the Palestinians of today express anger at Israel, as well as the previous generation who so easily surrendered the ancient lands of Filistine. Poets such as Ahmad Dahbour and Mahmoud Darwish present the sentiments of these wronged Palestinians through poetry. Their works are of immense significance in the construction and advocation of a Palestinian identity. Without a formal nation, these Palestinians must unite on a basis beyond that of political or geographic boundaries. Poetry, a form of oral tradition that conveys the true feelings and grievances of the Palestinian population functions as arguably the most cohesive tool in the uniting process.
I was wondering if we ever see poetry in regards to social movements and protests throughout history? What impact does literature and expression such as poetry have on the movement as a whole?