According to a post that appeared on the +972 blog, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour has been charged with incitement to violence based on a poem she posted on Facebook, shifted between prison and house arrest. In her first hearing, held April 13, a policeman translated the “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” poem at the center of the trial:
It was around 3 a.m. on October 10, 2015, when Tatour was first arrested, according to +972.
The main clause of the indictment, which came later, was apparently was based on a poem posted on Youtube under Tatour’s name, with the, “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” (Resist my people, resist them). Another clause in the indictment, according to +972, refers to a post on her Facebook page calling for a “comprehensive intifada.”
The +972 poster, the pseudonymous Yoav Haifawi, discussed the gaps in translation between how Israeli security sees words like shaheed and intifada, and how they’re understood and expressed by Palestinians. But the strangest moment in translation came at the April 13 hearing. Haifawi writes:
The prosecution started its plea by calling the policeman who translated the “Qawem” poem to Hebrew to the stand. The scene was completely surreal. Poems, by their very nature, are incommensurate with the concept of “proven beyond reasonable doubt” that stands at the heart of criminal law. The witness, a policeman, was struggling with the ambiguities of the poem’s content, supplying his intuitive interpretation to the phrases. We were torn between the urge to laugh out loud and the bewilderment that gripped us, bearing in mind that the freedom of our dear Dareen depends on this nonsense.
There is a more detailed report available in Hebrew.
Haifawi said there was a small supporting crowd at the April 13 hearing, which included some of Tatour’s relatives “as well as Muhammad Barakeh, the head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee (the official representative body of the Palestinian citizens in Israel), and Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi.” Haifawi went on to call for international solidarity among writers and poets:
Yet I think that the case of Dareen Tatour deserves special attention.
She is a woman and a poet. The main charge against her is based on her poem. This is a good opportunity for poets and writers to take a stand against the occupation and its practice of criminalizing any Palestinian expression of the desire for freedom and dignity.
Read the whole essay on +972.