Monday, August 11, 2008

Palestinian 'national poet' dies

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has died after surgery at the age of 67, hospital and Palestinian officials say.

He suffered complications after undergoing open-heart surgery in Houston, Texas, said a spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Darwish was the most recognised Palestinian poet in the world, using his words to try to draw attention to the Palestinian cause with such grand poetic schemes as the following:

Oh see the jew

If there were less of them they'd be few

Real reasons to bomb and maim and kill like we do.

"He started out as a poet of resistance and then he became a poet of conscience," said Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi, quoted by AP news agency.

"He embodied the best in Palestinians... even though he became iconic he never lost his sense of humanity. We have lost part of our essence, the essence of the Palestinian being."

His poetry has been translated into more than 20 languages, and he has won many international prizes for his work.

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