Poetry by Palestinian Students from An-Najah University

During June 2011, I was working with Palestinian undergraduate students in Nablus in the West Bank, running public speaking workshops as part of the international youth exchange program called Zajel. I ran a few poetry workshops for students to feel comfortable with finding an artistic method of expressing themselves to present to their peers and community, considering many of the students shared their admiration for various Arab poets and Shakespeare. The majority of the students said they had never been given an opportunity to express themselves by creating their own poetry and said they would continue to write to discover their own talent and enjoy the therapeutic healing process of dealing with the daily injustices of living under Israeli occupation and to be able to own their own narrative. We always see artwork, rap or poetry written and performed by the international community in regards to their feelings against oppression. I feel it is more important to give a platform and raise the voices of those oppressed by the Zionist entity, whom gather the courage to share their personal stories, their supressed emotion for being the victims of dehumanisation whilst living a life being given no rights but forced to sit and wait at checkpoints impatiently waiting for Israeli soldiers to no longer be amused by themselves, to no longer be used as human shields and add to a history of losing loved ones to Israeli bullets.

Many of the students aged 18 to 24, showed symptoms of psychological trauma, which can only be blamed on the reality of living a life where freedom and the outside world is unimaginable whilst living under occupation. I recall a young woman attending one of my classes to share how she had walked to school with her best friend, aged 17, how Israeli soldiers had shot and killed her and the fact she had a bullet in her leg.

Below are a few pieces of work I collected and would like to share with the international community and people from colonized lands, in order to gain empathy for Palestinians living their lives in an open prison under the harsh claws of 64 years of oppression inflicted by Israel, with the psychological scars only seizing to continue to expand from burnt bark to tangled branches.

We Will Not Go Down
“We are Palestinian, 
We are the free people, 
We are not terrorist people,
But if somebody hurts us and kills our children and women and old people, 
How do you want us to be quiet?
We will not go down.
And some day we will restore our stolen right and we will go back to Jerusalem to her happiness”
Ameed Souf


   “I love the sea, though i never see
    It’s mysterious, warm and shy as I want to be.
    I hope one day to go, embrace and cry,
    I really need to play, run and laugh as the water reaches my knee,
    Stand on sand as the sun goes down
     Feeling or not thinking, dreaming, just me and the sea.”
      Haneen Mallah

“Al Israel, don’t feel jealous,
The clock if stopped, it will run again.
Feathers fall from hawks wings
Raping the country, don’t fear us
And long third, don’t kill us, because the water stays inside the stones.
Yes we are Palestinians, if we screamed then fate will listen.”


“When I look at you 
My heart beats
You you you
Don’t cry our capital
We will liberate you
When I look at you
My eyes cry
Jerusalem I miss thy
We will visit you
We will liberate you.”
Alaa Hajji

“Every day we tell each other that this day will be the last
And tomorrow we can all go home free
And all this will finally end
Palestine tomorrow will be free
I will caress with my bare hands
Every precious grain of sand
Every stone and every tree
Cause no matter what they do
They can never hurt you
Cause your soul will always live.”

Hamza retells a story of a visit from an Israeli soldier which frightened him as a child.

“When I was sat alone one day under a tree
In my house suddenly a man was coming
He said to me up up,
And you down down
If you want I will replace the safety with air and water
I said no no, I said no no”
Hamza Al- Johari


“Never give up
You shall try
Whatever the condition was
Never give up
You shall try
Whenever you loose
Look at the sky and never give up
You shall try
How bad you seem like
God exists and never give up
You shall believe
You need to try
Wherever you’re lost and alone
There is a friend who hopes that you will never give up
You need to try
Because without you he will die.”
Mohammad Sawalha 

“In the oceans waves I saw you
In the sound of music I saw you
That’s because you surround me
You grab me
Please cure me
Make me alive again
So release me
But the problem is
You were living a long time in my hurt
Until you became my heart
So leaving you is hard
And forgetting you is harder
So you will stay in my heart forever
Wherever, whenever
My home land Palestine.”
“Home is in my mother’s sweet kisses
Home is in my grandmother’s lovely prayers for me when I leave the house
Home is in my father’s proud eyes   
Home is in my sister’s right advice
Home is even in my brother’s teasing
Home is in between the two mountains Eibal and Jarzim
Home is in Nablus
Home is in the valley
Home is where my family is.”
Yasmeen Amer

“Don’t cry
Don’t shed tears, make it dry
Because the sadness has no care
Unless we’re going far
Love is a poisonous arrow
And death better than love.”
Islam Z Shadid
“I hope I can go back to the past and back as a child
An innocent young child playing with her toys
Not knowing about life except crying, playing, having fun
A girl living in her parents arms
A child called ‘princess’
She’s a princess by her personality, her existence and by her smile
Oh for these days, which doesn’t make any princess like her in his days.”
Amira Touqan

“Another day passed away
Waiting, my smiles to come back
Waiting, my dreams to wake up again
Waiting, my tears to stop
All I have are some memories with an endless hope.”
Reem Salameh

“The universe is dark
For me you are the sun
The dark has gone
The world is bad
You are the moon
You light the world every afternoon
I cant hear
Except my heart speaks
You’re the best friend of mine
My life with you
Is a fairy tale
It can’t be described
You are the water
You are my breath
You are my life
I’ll give you my blood if I can
I cant cry when you’re far
Because you’re in my heart
So there’s no need to cry.”
Mohammad Sawalha

“Don’t make me sad
Wipe my tears and enter the happiness in my heart
Don’t make me sad
And let me see the bright light of the sun
The weavy colours of the sky
Because I miss the colours of the world
To take the pain away and release me from these heavy lands
Take me by the hand
To a better life, to a better people
To a world without envy or anger
So I can feel free again and happy again
So don’t make me sad
It’s not my fault
You’re sad and I can’t help
To be hopeless is hard
I told you from the start, but you didn’t listen
I told you I can’t, but you refused!
It’s hard to me…”
Enas Lubbadeh

“I don’t know if there is someone like me or not
I have many ambitious things in my life and to understand them you cant
Every day I sit and ask myself why this happens to me and the strongest is what?
To find an answer you can’t!
 Some days I wake up in a good mood but other days I wake up in a miserable state
To know the reasons I don’t
In my opinion, maybe dreams have an effect
Maybe everything
Maybe nothing
Exactly I don’t know
Finally I hope to find the jewel
And to visit you in every June.”

I use to wake up every morning seeing my mother’s face
What a beautiful face
Feeling safe, forget all my sadness
Mom I went away.. Far away
Remember how many times we use to fight together
To stay with you but I was so crazy leaving you
I found that you are my ghost
I think I’ve lost the love I love the most
I miss my mums coffee and bread.”
Majd Khalil 

“Keep out from the flowers cause it hurts
Don’t think that when the flower becomes happy
Watch it from far away how he can enjoy being picked
And wish the good for it and look for who appreciates himself.”
Belal Al-Johari


“I’m the Palestinian, my pain shouted in my mind, the sun rises from my head 
My bread doesn’t fill my hunger
I’m the son of the fire mountain
I’m the son of Hetein
I’m the Palestinian
My revolution filled my cells since I was a child
So who are you Arab to delete me?!
Be silent Arabs, cause your silence now is drinking me
My win is here and my lost before my win will not avoid me from writing
Cause my pen is Palestinian and my pain also Palestinian.
I’m the Palestinian.”
Deya’ Mosleh 

A Child (Short story by Amira Sarawan)

Nothing was found, just the sky above my head. Everything was broken, everything was changed. My toys, where are they? I searched everywhere with a horrible feeling to have lost them. I search and search. I felt I was searching for hours and hours.

“Hey! Where are you my toy? Here is your head, but, what! Where is your body, where is your hands, where is the rest of you? Oh no, my toy, you were with me since I was four years old. Why?! Why did you do that? It didn’t do anything! It’s just a toy. Why did you do that Israel, we lived in peace for hundreds of years, you stole our land, you stole our house, you stole our happiness. We didn’t do anything, it’s just our life. Why don’t you leave and let us live in peace?”

Mmm I found that I was talking and talking and nobody hears me. It’s just me sitting on the crash of our house. Nobody hears me. Nobody can find me. I’m just alone. Why should a small child torture like that? What have we done to you? We just play with our toys or is it wrong to do that?

I search again but now for my family. “Mom, Dad, where are you? Don’t leave me alone. Mom wake up, dad I love you wake up.” There was blood everywhere, no breathing. It’s just me alone in this world, bad world with no feelings. Nobody cares. Where are you?



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