For The Struggle

“The poets, by which I mean all artists, are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only the poets.” — James Baldwin

As we wrote last week, in the coming weeks, we will be sharing a selection of works by artists from around the world that we hope might illuminate the darkness of our times. This week, we’ll start by sharing a poem and playlist.

The poem is by Palestinian Hind Joudah, a poet from Al-Breij Refugee Camp in Gaza. She published two collections of poems entitled “Someone always leaves,” and “No sugar in the city.” 

The poem was published by Passages Through Genocide, a collective of volunteers who gather, translate and publish texts from Palestinian writers confronting the genocide in Gaza, to lift up their words. They urge people to share, print, publish and distribute these texts by all possible means, in support of Palestinian liberation.

This is an all volunteer project — coordinators, translators, graphic and web designers — will remain anonymous as a sign of respect and humility towards their people in Gaza. Poems have so far been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Swahili, Bahasa, Portuguese, French, Russian, Spanish, German, Turkish. If you are able to help with translations, get in touch with them through the website. Or you can simply hold public poetry reading events to share their work with others.


Poem by Hind Joudah


Oct. 30, 2023

What does it mean to be a poet in times of war?

It means apologizing  …

extensively apologizing 

to the burnt trees

to the nestless birds

to the crushed homes

to the long cracks along the streets

to the pale faced children before and after death

to the faces of every sad or murdered mother

What does it mean to be safe in times of war?

It means being ashamed …

of your smile

of having warmth 

of your clean clothes

of your idle hours 

of your yawning 

of your cup of coffee

of your restful sleep

of having alive loved ones

of having a full stomach

of having available water

of having clean water

of being able to shower

And for incidentally being alive!

Oh God,

I don't want to be a poet in times of war.

*****

Soundtrack to The Struggle

"When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang-ups.” — John Coltrane

Click here to listen to our playlist Soundtrack to the Struggle. Unfortunately we were only able to compile this playlist on Spotify (many of the tracks were not available on other platforms). You can still listen without an account, you just may have to bear some boring adverts. Or you can look up the tracks on other platforms of your choice.


Featuring:

Soundtrack to the Struggle 2, Lowkey, Noam Chomsky
Dissolving Boundaries, Anoushka Shankar
It’s a good day (to fight the system), Shungudzo
From Gaza, With Love, Saint Levant
Phantom of Aleppoville, Benjamin Clementine
Migration, Nitin Sawhney
Anywhere on This Road, Lhasa de Sela
2000 Blacks Got to Be Free - Edit, Fela Kuti, Roy Ayers
The War Racket, Buffy Saint-Marie
Mississippi Goddamn - Live at Carnegie Hall, Nina Simone
Bella Ciao - Version Lenta, Manu Pilas
Police State, Pussy Riot
My Queen is Harriet Tubman, Sons of Kemet
You Build a Wall, Grace Petrie
Colonial Mentality, Fela Kuti
Hear Me Chant, Fikir Amlak, King Alpha
Letter to the 1%, Lowkey, Mai Khalil
Hind’s Hall, Macklemore
The Last Tears of a Deceased, Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou
Ancestral, Nitin Sawhney, Hak Baker
Mourir mille fois, Youssoupha
You Got Me Singing, Leonard Cohen
Gaza Mon Amour, Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble
Oud Solo, Alsarah & The Nubatones
Sikhulekile, BCUC, Femi Kuti.

Compiled by Veronica Yates and illustration by Miriam Sugranyes.

We welcome contributions to future playlists, but also poetry, comedy, photography, animations, anything that lights up your day, send it our way: info@rights-studio.org

Further Resources

Passages Through Genocide: https://www.gazapassages.com/.

Hind Joudah: https://www.gazapassages.com/hind-joudah/english

Jan 1, 2021

The Books we Read

Sep 30, 2022

In Conversation With...

Feb 3, 2023

Welcome to our Garden

“If war has an opposite, gardens might sometimes be it, and people have found a particular kind of peace in forests, meadows, parks and gardens.” — Rebecca Solnit

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