I Am No Palestinian

A poem by Farah Chamma

I am no Palestinian

I am no courageous, fearless, valorous, gallant, proud, adventurous, selfless patriot.

I am a soul in exile,

expressing my thoughts in all languages but mine.


I am Palestinian.

Salut, je suis Palestinienne.


I cut my mother tongue in half

نصبت المبتدأ و لعنت أبو الخبر

كسرت الضمة التي ضمت ما بيننا

Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadeh was right when she said

“Allow me to speak my Arab tongue

before they occupy my language as well.”

Allow me to speak my Arab tongue before they occupy my language as well.


to that I must add: allow me to be the Arab that I am.

Allow me my write to learn, to travel, to pray.

Allow me to walk through any foreign street without having to fell this shame,

without having to think twice about my clothes, my face, my name,

or the visa.

Or the goddamn visa I had to work day and night for to claim,

because at the end of the day

I am not the one to blame.

I am not the one to blame for Bin Laden or 9/11

and all your other schemes and games.

I am just a soul in exile.

I am in no hall of fame,

I have to opt to be someone I am not just to fit in your frame.

Despite the agony I went through,

despite the struggles I overcame,

despite the diplomas, the agrees the awards I claim

I am still no Palestinian.

I am still no Palestinian,

no matter how many “I love Palestine” stickers I stick on my car.

No matter how many time I cry over Gaza and argue over the Israeli settlements.

No matter how many times I curse the Zionists, blame the media, and swear at all the Arab leaders,

I am no Palestinian.

Even if I memorize the names of all the Palestinian cities.

Even if I recite Mahmood Darwiche’s poetry

and draw Handala on my walls

and even as I stand here today

in front of you all

I am no Palestinian

أنا مش فلسطينية

And I might never, ever be

and that’s exactly what makes

the Palestinian

in me.

10 Responses

  1. johncoyote says:

    This is needed. Be proud of your heritage. You are a powerful speaker and your words need to be heard and spread. I’m 1/2 Ojibwa. I ensure I hold the old ways taught to be by my elders. I will re-post.

  2. johncoyote says:

    Reblogged this on johncoyote and commented:
    A beautiful woman with a powerful voice. Please listen.

  3. Amit Rahman says:

    Reblogged this on Poems and commented:
    #savegaza please read!

  4. AmyRose says:

    Truly touched by this. No words. Just tears and a huge ache in my Heart. Love, Amy

  5. great poetry Ihab – now retired i have spent a lifetime in the arab world as an indian diplomat – ambassador in several arab countries too – began my journey in iraq moved to lebanon then syria, served in abu dhabi, dubai etc and oman and morocco – in the end i even acquired a daughter in law of arab origin – so i have strong links to your beautiful culture and history and wonderful people – alas i have never understood how such a warm and hospitable people with a great religion are in the throes of confusion and suffering – and instead of peace which their faith itself translates into have managed to arrive at its exact opposite –
    but i do believe that eventually when the spirit of tolerance dawns on them, as it must, their great heritage will once again join those of other great cultures – Palestine is after all the place from which arose the great faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam – there is only one other place on earth where so many faiths arose – India – i believe that when that day dawns when this cradle of faiths achieves peace – that day the world itself will transform beyond our wildest imagination.

  6. Cherylyn Varrdi says:

    “And I might never, ever be and that’s exactly what makes the Palestinian in me.” A magnificent tapestry of words weaving a dolor design of an unwoven world. Thank you for walking me through the mind and heart of your poetry.

  7. willowdot21 says:

    Very compelling write. A terrible situation.

  8. basstubes says:

    Excellent thank you for sharing this and I hope many people take the time to read this .

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