Poetry for Gaza

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), who was well acquainted with exile and deprivation during one of the darkest times of human history, once asked himself the question whether there would be singing in the dark times. His answer:  “yes, there will be singing, singing about the dark times.” Poet and novelist Hiba Abu Nada’s voice rang out from one of Gaza’s darkest hours, on October 10, with a poem, “Refuge I Seek,” that has gone around the world. Ten days later she perished at Khan Yunis, the victim of an Israeli bomb attack. Abu Nada (1991-2023), poet, prizewinning novelist, and diplomaed nutritionist, is one of many tragic losses in Gaza since the breakout of hostilities with Israel. The Jump Cut editors commissioned a translation from the renowned scholar and translator Shakir Mustafa, an Iraqi native and professor of Arabic at Northeastern University, which we present here along with the original Arabic text.   

The attacks on Gaza have shocked and stunned people everywhere. Again, a poet has found the words: Julia Wright, the author of  “The Pain of Genocide Cannot be Paused” is the elder daughter of Richard Wright, and executor of his literary estate. She is an independent journalist, essayist and poet (currently finishing her memoir) whose main themes are abolitionism and liberation.