The Power of Political Poetry

MK Tibi rejects the witchhunt cooked up against him by the hasbaroid Palestinian Media Watch.

‘Tibi showed the Forward a clip from his speech at this year’s Palestinian Martyrs Day rally, on January 7, where he named people he considers “martyrs,” all of whom were civilians killed by Israel and none of whom perpetrated attacks. By editing last year’s clip to give a different message, Palestinian Media Watch “tried to violate and mislead,” he said.’

Tibi’s satirical poem about MK Anastasia Michaeli’s throwing a cup of water over him during a Knesset sitting also annoys the linguistically challenged Knesset Ethics Committee which bans him from the Knesset for a week for his literary prowess. Who says poems don’t bite and sting in all the right places?

‘The issue in this case was his reading of an allegedly offensive poem from the Knesset podium aimed at Anastasia Michaeli, a lawmaker from Yisrael Beteinu. On January 9, Michaeli, herself a sometime practitioner of politics by provocation, threw a cupful of water into the face of Arab lawmaker Ghaleb Majadle, of the Labor party, after Majadle called her a “fascist” during a Knesset debate. Michaeli was banished from all parliamentary proceedings for one month as punishment for her misconduct.

In his poem responding to Michaeli, Tibi said the Yisrael Beiteinu member had “a problem with her plumbing” and used the Hebrew term “cos amok,” or “cup of frenzy” to describe her act.

The Knesset’s Ethics Committee took this phrase as an innuendo, as it sounds like an Arabic curse that refers to female genitalia, and imposed its ban. Tibi denies any innuendo. “Worse than its stupidity is it not knowing Hebrew,” he said of the committee. ‘

And now, the poem:

“Anastasia, / Who has a problem with her plumbing, / Grew in the dung beds of our home Israel — or shall I say, Russia? / From there it was a short way to the Law of the Muezzin, / Which meanwhile has been / Turned into a joint Bibi [pronounced by Tibi bibey]-Anastasia project, / A thoughtless use of water in time of drought / When every drop counts. / Israel is drying out / But is not ashamed. / Anastasia ran amok and poured / Water on a colleague. / And so I’ll call a spade a spade, / That is, a cup of frenzy.”

That may not make a whole lot of sense to you, much less seem a literary gem — but that’s only because you don’t have the original before you. How many delicate little touches you would notice if you did! The rhyme of “Anastasia” and instalatsia (“plumbing”), for example; or the play on arugot ha-bosem, “spice beds,” from the Song of Songs (“My beloved has gone down into his garden, unto the beds of spices”) and arugot ha-zevel, “dung beds”; or the pun on “Bibi” and bivey, “sewers”; or the inversion of mityabeshet, “is drying out,” and mitbayeshet, “is ashamed.”

Kudos to MK Tibi for his dry wit!

I’m reminded of Henry Lawson and his immortal lines on Australian wowserism:

O this is the Wowsers’ land,
And the laughing days are o’er,
For most of the things that we used to do
We must not do any more!

The power of literature is demonstrated again in Israel recently.

Israeli fascist organisation Im Tirtzu attempts to have Palestinian actor banned from performing in a Lorca play. Fascists are frightened of intellectuals, classically their prime targets. The intellect might restrain the fascist drive for power.

Palestine / Israel Links

IOF soldiers arrest seven Gazans in January including three minors
The Israeli Attorney General attempts to quash Adalah’s petition to annul the racist Admissions Committee Law. “The law, passed by the Knesset in March 2011, allows small communities in Israel built on ‘state land’ (public land) to reject applicants who “do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community.”‘
Anwar revealed as an imperialist friendly zionist stooge committed to Israel’s dupicitous ‘security’ hasbara, the cover it uses to justify its land theft and occupation

Other Links

Saying No to CSIS: Dozens of groups launch campaign to not co-operate with Canadian spy agency
No, @WilliamJHague you can’t weasel out of the British Empire’s responsibility for its nepotism & imperialism in the ME