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Literature and Nation in the Middle East$
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Yasir Suleiman and Ibrahim Muhawi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748620739

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620739.001.0001

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Darwish's ‘Indian Speech’ as Dramatic Performance: Sacred Space and Transformation

Darwish's ‘Indian Speech’ as Dramatic Performance: Sacred Space and Transformation

(p.79) 4 Darwish's ‘Indian Speech’ as Dramatic Performance: Sacred Space and Transformation
Literature and Nation in the Middle East

J. Kristen Urban

Edinburgh University Press

The paradox underlying national movements based on ethnic-religious-cultural claims is that there is a need both for clear boundaries and for coexistence. At the level of geographic identity, concern for physical boundaries makes political sense: physically separating populations can enhance the reality of self-determination. However, at the level of psychic and cultural identity, the drawing of clear boundaries – boundaries that distinguish us from them, and which promote group solidarity, giving it political momentum – also makes coexistence of such clearly delimited groups more difficult. Self and other become brittle constructs. This chapter focuses on Mahmoud Darwish, a national poet of Palestine whose poetry galvanises Palestinians around the Palestinian enterprise and provides a means by which the boundaries can be abridged, hence making coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis imaginable. Beyond bridging the gap between Palestinians and Israelis, his poetry also reaches beyond the frontiers of Palestinian nationalism, speaking not only to a broad literary audience, but to an audience of peace educators whose focus (in effecting peace) is on the possibilities resident within blurred boundaries.

Keywords:   national movements, boundaries, coexistence, Mahmoud Darwish, poet of Palestine, poetry, Palestinians, Israelis

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