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Humanism, Nationalism and Violence in Mahmoud Darwish’s Poetry

Alshaer, Atef (2013) 'Humanism, Nationalism and Violence in Mahmoud Darwish’s Poetry.' In: Kennedy, Hugh, (ed.), Warefare and Poetry in the Middle East. London: I.B Tauris, pp. 257-283.

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Abstract

This chapter aims to present a theoretical and empirical reading of the great Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish’s (1941-2008) poetry as pertains to the themes of humanism, nationalism and violence within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In particular, the article reads his poetry and prose in conjunction with the views of the German thinker Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and the Martinique psychiatrist Frantz Fanon (1925-1961). These three figurehead thinkers have enhanced our understanding of the human condition within conflict-ridden contexts. Freud engaged critically with Jewish nationalism in its formative years in the 1920s and 30s, whereas Fanon was directly involved with the Algerian struggle against French colonialism in the 1950s. Darwish was a poetic chronicler of the Palestinian question in all its dimensions, particularly since the 1960s. All of them articulated aspirations for universal justice and freedom while taking part in their peoples’ struggles and dilemmas. As will be argued, by emphasising the complementary roles of all members of society in the struggle against the colonizers in his portrayal of the Palestinian struggle, Darwish appears closer to Fanon’s anti-colonial nationalism. Nevertheless, while emphasising the historical conditions that gave rise to Palestinian nationalism, Darwish grew to be critical of it in a tone that is reminiscent of Freud’s criticism of nationalism and collective identities in general. This chapter will examine Darwish’s poetry in relation to the relevance of Freud’s and Fanon’s philosophy.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Media and Film Studies
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
ISBN: 9781780763620
Depositing User: Atef Alshaer
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2012 14:54
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/14320

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