Poetry for Palestine: Testament / Sajél, by Farid Bitar
Thursday, 13 June 2024 04:35

Poetry for Palestine: Testament / Sajél, by Farid Bitar

Published in Poetry

Farid Bitar's Testament / Sajél, as its title suggests, is a testament to our tempestuous times, taking in the seismic events and vicissitudes of the past few years, including the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-22, and the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the death of George Floyd. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the current and agonisingly ongoing Israeli seige of Gaza, and mass displacement of Gazans, which some term the second Palestinian catastrophe or Nakba, dominates this collection.

Farid Bitar is one of many contemporary Palestinian poets who are bearing witness through their poetries to a second Nakba, and quite apart from artistic qualities the sheer emotional courage of such output at this time must be applauded. Bitar is a poet who has spoken out before in his work on the Palestinian plight, in collections such as Screaming Olives (Smokestack Books, 2021), and in Testament / Sajél there is a further cementing of this polemical resolve, but interweaving all is a verse of deliverance. Farid has also illustrated the book with 34 beautiful images, like this one:

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This is the poetry of trauma. But in spite of the bitterest of experiences, Bitar's is a spirited poetry, a poetry of hope, which Culture Matters is proud to publish, particularly at this catastrophic time for all Palestinians. 50% of sales proceeds will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Testament / Sajél by Farid Bitar, ISBN 978-1-912710-68-3, £12 inc. p. and p. in UK, £12 plus £5 p. and p. elsewhere. Please pay via the Donations button here, and send your name and address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Credit: Oxfam
Thursday, 13 June 2024 04:35

Comrades in Alms

Published in Poetry

Comrades in Alms

by Chrissie Roberts

Relentless live-streamed death
Revulsion at the West’s collusion
And we stand
And we march
And we post
And we share
In our powerlessness.

What ordnance do we have
To assuage our nausea
Our impotence
As bystanders
Held hostage by our Governments

Become quick on the draw with our plastic
Swipe away the sorrow
Chip and pin away the pain
ApplePay our way to absolution
In this dark atrocious game

Solidarity expressed with
A wrist flick
A finger touch
A phone flash

But the bombs keep falling

And our tears keep flowing.

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