Week 10: Poetry from the Refugees

This week, I refocused my section back onto poetry from the Middle East of that time period. However, I used two artifacts from people whose family fled from the Middle East. The first artifact I used was a transcript of a YouTube video about Amal Kassir, a young Syrian-American poet who uses her words to bring attention to the events happening in the Middle East. This artifact was titled “The Conflict in Syria through the Eyes of a Young Poet” and it has Kassir discussing her poetry as well as performing some of it to describe the devastation of having to leave a place she considered her home. Though not exclusive to Egypt, I chose this artifact because I felt that Kassir captured the ideas of what it’s like to be facing a tyrant and being defiant in the face of danger. The second artifact I chose was a poem titled “I Am a Refugee” by an 80-year-old Syrian writer, Mohamed Raouf Bachir, who wrote about being exiled from his home into Turkey at his age. Though Bachir also did not write exclusively from Egypt or about Egypt, I felt that the feeling of having to leave a place one had called home for years (maybe even decades) because of safety or because of being thrown out (similar to week three’s Ganzeer) ┬áresonated with what was going on Egypt also.

I chose these articles because I felt like they covered the ideas of what we discussed this week on the ideas of the binaries we impose on the “Western” and the “Eastern” world and how, inside of these two poets, both of these binaries are combined. Kassir is a poet who resonates with the Western world because she is, ultimately, from it. With a mother that is American and being born in America and returning to it when things go disastrous in the Middle East, Kassir is part of the Western world as much as she is a part of the Eastern. I selected the poem by Bachir because I felt like it also connected these binaries because it was could be from a narrator that is traveling from the “Eastern” world to the “Western” world and wondering if they will be accepted into this society.

I think both of these poets showed hints of Political Idealism because of the fact that they had expectations for their countries to develop into a better democracy that would help them connect with other countries. Although, as I have learned throughout covering this subject, I feel like they also share a cosmopolitan view because they also believe that people have a say in the government.

2 thoughts on “Week 10: Poetry from the Refugees

  1. An Egyptian friend of mine wrote in a poem that the journalists arriving in Egypt are weary and the graffiti artists are taking up their burden. You should watch his videos on Youtube–Maged Zaher.

    The Sad Panda artist is so self-consciously cosmopolitan, right? People have been telling me about an add for an Egyptian cheese spread that has an Angry Panda as its mascot.

    I like that you gave so much representation to women artists in your presentation.

  2. Oh, and in your final blog post you can explain the symbolism of the blue bra–it relates to a veiled protester who was stripped and beaten by the police on camera.

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