If ever anyone in history deserved the title of a Poet Laureate, it was indeed Mahmoud Darwish, who spoke the mind of his people in a way I doubt anyone has ever been able to do for any other people. Today, I wake up missing my voice. The real travesty of Darwish’s death is that it revealed to me that he is no longer there to eloquently express to me how I feel about such travesties. Saifedean Ammous comments. Read more about Mahmoud Darwish: Palestine's prophet of humanism
Imagine an American TV network deciding to take the American Idol format and apply it to poetry: lining up poets to read their poems in front of temperamental judges while the nation gets out its mobile phones to vote for its favorite poet. One can be sure the show would not survive the first commercial break before the chastened executives pull the plug on it and replace it with yet another series on the Life and Times of Nicole Ritchie. Yet, that was exactly the formula for the latest TV sensation to take Arab countries by storm. Read more about Arab poetry's sometimes subversive answer to "American Idol"
While in Paris a few weeks ago, whenever the Middle East came up EI contributor Saifedean Ammous would be met with the traditional refrains of classical anti-Americanism: “they have no culture and deal with the world as if it had no culture,” “they have no morality in their foreign policy,” “they go to war for oil and money” and so on with inane over-simplified stereotypes. Soon after would come the cackle of self-righteous pride: “we Europeans are different,” “we want our foreign policy based on a concept of morality,” “we attempt to promote justice in the world and fix up the mess left behind by the Americans.” Read more about European hypocrisy