Mahmoud Darwish, the towering Palestinian poet, died this Saturday from complications following open heart surgery.
Darwish was born in 1942 in al-Birwa, a village in Palestine that Israeli forces depopulated in the Nakba when Darwish was six years old. His family fled to Lebanon but managed to return before Israel succeeded in closing the border. Israel's authorities canceled his "citizenship" in 1971 when he left Palestine to study abroad. He was only able to return in 1995, and only to the occupied territories.
Since the beginning of his poetic career nearly fifty years ago, Darwish has given shape and voice to the Palestinian experience of exile, longing, death, defiance and resistance with unmatched power and beauty. His work lives.