24 February 2007

Support the Edward Said Mural

The General Union of Palestine Students at San Francisco State University has been working on getting a mural approved for their university campus; the mural pays tribute to the late Dr. Edward Said and to Palestinian culture. The proposal went through committee and student government and university board and received support, but just before the final step of approval, university president Robert A. Corrigan prematurely denied the mural and placed a moratorium on all art at the San Francisco State University Student Center.

What objections did Corrigan have? He stated that the University's policy is to allow for celebration and pride in one's heritage and culture "expressed without hostility or denigration of another" (culture).

Please take a look at the mural proposal above, and try to find what Corrigan is referring to. For deeper scrutiny, you can even go here for a written description of the various elements within the mural.

Did you find anything remotely "hostile" or "denigrating" of other cultures? Look again. You see, it seems Corrigan does not like to look upon the face of Handala, the refugee child icon created by assassinated Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, even though Handala's face is turned from the world. Nor does he want anyone on his campus to see the key that Handala is holding. These are the two elements in the mural with which Corrigan had problems. I guess it is because they are the two elements within the mural that
reaffirm Palestinian national memory and the real focus of the human rights of the refugees.

After initial support from university officials and students, the mural is in jeopardy from Corrigan, and needs your immediate help. Take action now by signing the latest online petition, writing a letter to President Corrigan from you or your organization, or financially supporting the legal process.

Refere to the links below:

Sign the petition: General Union of Palestine Students - San Fran

Article 1 by Will Youmans at Kabobfest Blog

Article 2 by Will Youmans at Arab American News

Dr. Fayeq Oweis, designer of mural proposal

14 February 2007


How do you pronounce Detroit? For that matter, how do you pronoune the or people?

I think the variant ways people speak are all beautiful, especially accents that derive from different ethno-geographic and socio-economic backgrounds. When I was a kid, I noticed that Palestinians pronounced the word people: bee'-bohl. That is fading away fast, and it's a shame.

A man in my family, (you might say he's the patriarch of the family,) has been in the U.S. for almost 40 years, but he still pronounces Detroit: ظيترايض or ee'-ṭaray. His pronounciation of it has such a classical Arabic literary character, whether he knows it or not.


08 February 2007


I do not know the history of this song. Was it part of a play? It sounds very much like many of Fairuz's songs which were originally part of epic musical plays, numerous plays that the Rahbani brothers wrote and produced. But I have never heard of a play about Zanobia. I am familiar, however, with the musical play Petra, which carries many of the themes that this song Zanobia carries. Anyway, I've listened to this song for so long, and now felt like translating it and posting it. Hope you enjoy the song as well as my translation.

powered by ODEO

Zanobia, Zanobia, Listen ...
... The Roman trumpets announce the end of Tadmor.

Tadmor, O star among sunrises, Rome has besieged you,
And your defenders have fallen martyr.
All the way to Basra, your lament can be heard.
O, ye infant among kingdoms.

Flee, Zanobia, flee!
Among the colonnades,
Through secret passageways,
Into the valleys of the ascetics,
And be not humiliated by Rome!
Zanobia, flee!

Even if I were to flee, the land shall never flee.
Everything is fleeing.
This Kingdom of Joy, this infant among kingdoms,
Has escaped from our own hands.

Five years, Zanobia did rule among us.
She built a civilization, and rebelled against Rome.
Five years! Such an abrupt dream they have been, these five years.
Be they five or a hundred years,
Yet they shall pass like a bird,
And time shall consume them,
Time which eats the limestone of walls.

The only thing that shall remain is the honor of the stand,
The outcry in the face of oppression.
The tower has fallen, the walls have been broken,
The soldiers are charging for the Queen,
Like children who run to snatch a toy.

Flee, Zanobia, flee!
And you?
We shall remain, for we are the grasses of this land.
And the storm that passes overhead tears down the high-stemmed roses,
And you are the rose that this storm has come to reap.

I am Zanobia, Queen of this Noble Kingdom.
For the sake of freedom, I choose death,
So give to me the chalice of death.
The Great Queen has rejected oppression and chosen death,
She has chosen forgetfulness.
Wave farewell to Zanobia in the season of tears,
With voices of joy, and with pomegranate leaves.
O Death, you who are the rose of heroes,
You who are the crown of life,
And the bashful gift of love.

O Death, take me by the hand,
Along paths layed down with sleep and contentment.

And people of Tadmor,
Five years of your lives you have lived in liberty,
Possessing your own name and your own sky.
And know that he who has resided in liberty, even for one day,
Never shall Rome be able to take from him his liberty.

I drink my chalice to you, O Death!

Zanobia, you have no escape from Rome, not even in death.
Aurleanos, I reject Rome, and I reject Rome's hegemony.
You have mutinied.
Nay, We have emancipated ourselves.
And you know what will become of you?
I do know. In the streets of Rome shall I be, in metal shackles.
And you shall walk those streets, captured and defeated,
As the Romans stare at the captured queen.
Whatever shall happen is no longer important.
I have played my role, and the role is what is important.
Do not deceive your people! be frank with them,
Tell them that you've been broken and defeated!
Aurleanos, defeat shall pass and so shall victory;
Yet in future days,
Tadmor which now is defeated and Rome which now stands victorious,
Both will become stone,
And you and I shall both be statues in memorial squares.

But in every era and in every place,
A Rome shall rise to tyrannize and oppress,
And a Tadmor shall rise to reject oppression.

And in the very end, in the final pastures of time,
Triumph shall come to Tadmor!
Tadmor is Liberty!
Tadmor is the outcry within the human heart!

Shackle Zanobia! Shackle her and take her to Rome!
The reaping sword shall reap our bodies,
And time shall sit watchful to steal away our days,
If we are to forget Zanobia, and Zanobia's outcry!

Zanobia! Zanobia!
Wave your hands and bid farewell to your Zanobia.
Tell your poets to remain poets,
and tell your rebels to remain rebellious.

The Kingdom of Tadmor is finished from this Earth,
It is now in your hearts, in the cosmos,
It has become your outcry, your fire.

Aurleanos, quickly, take me to Rome,
Their outcry is rising, and growing above the threat of death;
Not your soldiers, Aurleanos, nor the power of Rome,
Nor even Rome in all of its epochs, shall silence their voice!
The reaping sword shall reap our bodies,
And time shall sit watchful to steal away our days,
If we are to forget Zanobia, and Zanobia's outcry!

Zanobia! Zanobia!

05 February 2007

Israeli Apartheid Week

( . . . . I'd like to suggest renaming it "End Israeli Apartheid Week".)

This group that is organizing "Israeli Apartheid Week" is active in Toronto, Montreal, Oxford, Cambridge, London, and New York City.

Click the picture above for their website.

The black spots on the maps are the cantons created within both South Africa and Palestine by both Apartheid regimes, also similar to 19th Century Native American reservations; the objective of such mass concentration areas is to sequester the millions of indigenous inhabitants of the original land in a perpetual stranglehold, a state of outside control, enslaved subjegation, and violent onlaught, leading to irrelevance, continuous expulsion, or outright extermination. In Palestine, the Apartheid Wall is being built by Israel to make these areas permanent.

For information on the Apartheid Wall in Palestine, visit my August 17 post.