Dareen Tatour: ‘I Will Not Leave My Country’

This poem is from Dareen Tatour’s collection, The Last Invasion (2010). Tatour is currently under house arrest for a poem posted to YouTube: 

dareen_collectionI Will Not Leave My Country

By Dareen Tatour, trans. Ghada Mourad

They signed for me

And turned me into

A file, forgotten

Like the butts of cigarettes

Alienation tore me

I became an immigrant

Inside my own country

I left the pens

Weeping over the sorrows

Of inkwells

They left my right and my dream

On the entrances to


And yes: one waiting

Laments his luck

While life passes

Besiege me

Kill me, detonate me

Assassinate me, incarcerate me

I will not abandon

My country

Demolish my home

Destroy my years

Burn my trees

Before you I remain

A fighter

Sow death in my land

Rain bombs

Over me

I will not leave

My country

No judaization

No confession

And no enlistment

I was born to struggle

On this earth I am

A proud palm

I’d rather die of thirst and hunger

Than consent to bow

I will never sell my homeland

Deprive me

Of my mother’s lap

Of the morning’s smile

Rob me of meanings

And of paging through books

Deprive me of everything

Deny me

Comfort and sleep

I will stay

I will live

In my country

I will not travel

I will remain in a sunrise

Like a sun

Radiating warmth—resisting

I will not leave

The shadows of my country

If I am killed, unjustly

A child fighter

Will be born

After me

To bring me back to life

I will continue

No and a thousand thousand nos

I will not, will not, I will not, leave. . .

Tatour’s next court hearing is scheduled for 1:30, Sunday, May 8, and there will be a vigil beginning before that in front of the Nazareth court building.

You can follow her case on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FreeDareenTatour/

Ghada Mourad is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature and a Schaeffer fellow in literary translation at the University of California, Irvine. She translates from Arabic and French into English. Her translations have appeared in Banipal, the Denver Quarterly, A Gathering of the Tribes, The Missing Slate, Jadaliyya, Transference, among others.