Monday, September 9, 2013

On Artistic Freedom in the National Era. Salman Masalha. Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden

On Artistic Freedom in the National Era

As I am not a state, I have
no secure borders nor an army
guarding its soldiers’ lives
night and day. And there is no
colored line drawn by a dusty general
in the margins of his victory. As I am
not a legislative council, a dubious
parliament that is wrongly called a house
of representatives. As I am not a son
of the chosen people, neither am I
an Arab mukhtar. No one will falsely
accuse me of being supposedly
a fatherless anarchist who spits
into the well round which the people
feast on their holidays. Rejoicing
at their patriarchs’ tombs.
As I am not a fatalist or a member
of an underground that builds churches,
mosques and synagogues in the hearts
of children. Who will no doubt die for
the sake of the Holy Name in Heaven.
As I am no excavation contractor
or earth merchant, nor a sculptor
of tombstones polishing memorials
for the greater glory of the dead.
As I have no government, with
or without a head, and there is no
chairman sitting on my head, I can
under such extenuating circumstances
sometimes allow myself to be human,
a bit free.

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