“Write down, I am an Arab” wrote the late renowned Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, in the opening lines of his controversial poem entitled after its opening lines, boasting about and promoting then-declining Pan-Arabism. Toward the middle of the poem, he writes, his anger obviously amounting, “Patient in a country/ where people are enraged” and self-assuredly he concludes with a line he never knew it would become a slogan of his angry self-democratizing Arab fellows in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and across the middle east, “Beware, beware/ Of my hunger/ And my anger!” Had the Arab presidents dwelled upon Darwish’s lines, they would have known how to avert their people’s anger. We are Darwish’s fellows, “angry” young men as well, living in Gaza, under siege, occupation, poverty, everlasting military conflict, social injustice, political corruption, repression…
Britain’s “angry young men” appeared in the 1950s and aspired to fight against the established sociopolitical order of their country. They had to endure the implications of a world plagued with two fatal wars. To our men, they left one thing: Osborne’s Look back in Anger. In a war-riddled Middle East, our young men, including me, are looking back, looking forward in anger.
It does not take someone a lot to be angry in Gaza. Anger is essentially characteristic of every normal Palestinian being, and he who is not angry in Gaza is, to put it bluntly, abnormal. When they have every reason to be angry, and they are not, they simply breach the rules of normal functioning. Anger, then, is a hypothetical state, and a useless word (This needs not be further explicated, does it?) However, some people are better at hiding their emotions than others, at self-suppressing their anger, unless they be forcibly suppressed by others. A few others are good at transforming their anger into wholesome energy by which they carry on with their lives, more determined, more patient. I’m of the worst kind of them all; my anger being daily transformed into obscene words as I fatuously spit them out.
But there comes March 15th, the day when our anger is directed toward one cause with one collective aim. The day our anger is directed the right way, at the right people, transformed into the right form of patient expression. For once, to chant in harmony against one ghostly enemy, to carry the same flag, to be properly “politicalized” for one cause.
Last week I met one of Gaza’s angry men, writer of the angry “manifesto” against the unjust political circumstances we’re living under. I was offended when he said I am a liar as I denied I was “politicalized” because (in the sense he meant it) I was not. But later I thought he was right indeed: the very fact of me being de-politicalized under such political ferment is political—otherwise, adversely, it’s extremely abnormal.
“I have been unable to live an uncommitted or suspended life. I have not hesitated to declare my affiliation with an extremely unpopular cause,” said the late Edward W. Said. There comes the day when we all declare our affiliation with an “extremely unpopular cause”, and carry one simple message at our hearts: Palestinians on the earth, unite! end the division, end the conflict, stop the state of animosity between yourselves, and, why not, hug each other.
On March 15th, Gaza’s angry young me are neither on this side, nor on the other side. We are on the unpopular side. We are on the fence. A “lost cause” we are.
Mohammed Rabah Suliman