Zatoun Activism

Literature & Poetry

Wall & Poster Art

Film

Art & Craft

Dance & Music

“Insisting on culture and identity is automatically political.”

The art and culture of Palestine and its people is little known in the West.  Such poverty of awareness is used to ignore or deny the humanity and agency of an entire people which serves to rationalize or overlook the oppression and violence against Palestine. The simple act of learning, enjoying and sharing Palestinian culture and art can begin to reverse the negative cycle and to enrich and empowering both the giver and the receiver, the observed and the observer. If political means being cultural and interested in the life of another, then what choice is there?   It is possible to get a sense of Palestinian culture but it requires enormous time and effort as elements are scattered across the internet, hard to find and even harder to gain a unifying perspective.  This page is a limited attempt to assemble a starting point.

Literature & Poetry

Ghassan Kanafani is the great modern Palestinian writer. Born in Akka in 1936, his family was part of the Nakba exile and fled to Lebanon and then to Syria. He lived and worked in Damascus, then Kuwait and later in Beirut from 1960 onwards. He was assassinated by a car bomb planted by Mossad in 1972 in Beirut. In his short life Kanafani had published eighteen books and written hundreds of articles on culture, politics, and the Palestinian people’s struggle. He left an indelible stamp on Palestinian life and identity. He infused his passion with intense expression of Palestinian experience deeply rooted in Arab Palestinian culture, inspired a whole generation during and after his lifetime, both in word and deed.. Am artist, a novelist, a short story writer, a journalist and a political thinker with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) he was the centre of Palestinian resistance in the sixties until his murder. His most popular writings are: Men in the Sun (1962) which has been made into a classic of Arab cinema The Dupes which can be viewed here; All that’s Left For You (1966) and Return to Haifa (1970) which later became part of collection entitled Palestine’s Children.  The great critic and writer John Berger reads Kanafani’s early work Letter from Gaza (1955) at inauguration of the Palestine Festival of Literature in 2008.

Kanafani’s clear thinking and incisive words are evident in this just recently found footage of a 1970 interview in Beirut with Richard Carleton, an Australian journalist.

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Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s most renown poet was born in al-Birwa, Galilee in 1941 and died in 2008. A poet and author, he won numerous awards worldwide. In his work, Palestine became a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He has been described as incarnating and reflecting the man of action whose action is poetry.

There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of his poems, recitations, poems set to music, etc. scattered all over the internet.   Wikipedia provides an excellent overview of his life.  Almost 100 of his poems can be found on PoemHunter site.  See a worthwhile essay about Darwish’s life and work.

A few of Darwish’s best known poems are: Identity CardI Come from ThereState of Seige (2002)  and A Lover of Palestine.  Recently a museum and foundation dedicated to Darwish opened in Ramallah.

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Wall and Poster Art

In classic blowback, Israel’s Apartheid Wall,