If you would have ever told me that I will write a piece comparing myself to the USA… well, I wouldn’t take it gracefully and my response might have been ugly. However, now, this is exactly what I was tempted to do. All the blame is on the hapless President Biden, or, more specifically, on his relentless search for allies that will stand by the USA in its desperate quest to contain China. This reminds me of some dark pages from my own past.
* * *
I was born in a small village, and my parents’ house was the last along the small road leading to it. My big brother was a year and a few months bigger than me. When I was born, I robbed him of his mother’s attention, and I felt his ire over the next years. Even worse, it happened that in the houses around us there were some kids of his age, but none of my age. The kids in the village (in the fifties of the previous century) use to roam around in the yards and between the fields, coming home only to eat and sleep. All I could do was to try to join my brother’s “gang”, or try to follow them, or spy on the awesome things they were doing. As far as I can remember, I was an unwelcomed interference wherever I went.
When I grew up a little, maybe four or five years old, I expanded the geography of my wandering, and discovered some kids of my age. It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. We constituted our own gang and now we could roam around together. Finally, I felt empowered to confront my brother and his vicious gang.
I don’t remember much from these far away days, but one moment of disillusionment struck me so hard that it stayed with me for the rest of my life. After playing with my new friends and having fun together, I shared with them my plans for confronting my brother’s gang. They didn’t think it was a good idea. All my dreams of leading my own gang to glory collapsed prematurely.
* * *
What are the lessons for the USA?
First, China, as a state and an economy, is your bigger brother, having many more people, and there is little that you can do about it. True, the USA used to be the hegemonic power, but the only way to preserve that status was to prevent others from developing. Well, you tried your best, but failed. Actually, since maybe 2014, China’s is the biggest economy by the most “objective” measure of the capitalist economic “science”, GDP by PPP. It doesn’t matter how everybody in the capitalist propaganda press will repeat the term “the second biggest economy”.
Second, going around the world and just propose on all other nations “let’s confront China together” is foolish and futile. China is a vital component of our one world and the world-wide ever more integrated economy. Everybody should play together if we want to save the planet and pool its people out of poverty. Well, you don’t, but at least you should pretend to care.
The last years are a museum of failed senseless USA initiatives of this kind. Who remembers the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that was all designed to exclude China? Who remembers the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, that was declared ceremoniously by the G7 in June 2021 as an alternative to China’s “Belt and Road”, only to be forgotten and replace by a new empty catch-phrase in the next summit?
Well, in short, do your own thing, have some fun, go play with the kids.
The Trial: Step by Step
On October 11, 2015, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was arrested by Israeli police and border guards in a pre-dawn raid on her house in Reineh, near Nazareth. She was held in the Jelemeh detention center and interrogated by officers of the Nazareth station. All her interrogations were about her publications in social media and her political activity.
You can read a detailed analysis of the verdict here (and in Hebrew here).
November 2, 2015 – The Indictment
On November 2, 2015, she was indicted in the Magistrates’ Court in Nazareth for “incitement to violence” and “support of a terrorist organization”.
The indictment is all based on three publications by Tatour:
1) The poem “Resist My People, Resist Them” – which Tatour published in her Youtube channel and Facebook page. A distorted Hebrew translation of the poem, made by a policeman with no qualification in translation or literature, is fully cited in the indictment document.
2) A Facebook post mentioning that Islamic Jihad called for an intifada in the West Bank and later contains a call for intifada within the green line to support Muslim’s rights to pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque is the base for the accusation of “supporting a terrorist organization”. Clearly the reference to Islamic Jihad is just citing a news item and Tatour explained her call for intifada as a call for legitimate mass struggle.
3) The last publication mentioned in the indictment is composed of two pictures: A picture of Israa Abed (a women from Nazareth that was wrongly suspected as a terrorist attacker) lying on the floor of the Afula central bus station after she was shot by Israeli police and guards – posted as Tatour’s wallpaper on Facebook, and a small black picture with white Arabic writing “I am the next martyr”, that was her profile picture. The prosecution claims that by posting these two pictures together Tatour was inciting for violence. Tatour explained that the profile picture “I’m the next martyr” was first posted by her and by many activists after the burning alive of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu-Khdeir in Jerusalem in July 2014. It was a protest at the killing of innocent Palestinians that was reused after the murder of Kheir Hamdan by Israeli police in Kafr Kana in November 2014. And she published the picture of Israa Abed after watching a video of her shooting and being sure that she was shot even though she didn’t attack anyone – a claim currently accepted by the Israeli authorities.
First hearing, April 13, 2016 – The police translator
In the first hearing of the trial, on April 13, 2016, the prosecutor chose to start presenting her case with the Hebrew translation of the “Resist” poem. For this purpose she brought the police translator, Warrant Officer Nissim Bishara. The veteran policeman testified in court that his qualification for translating the poem was his study of literature in high school and his love for the Arab language.
Second hearing, May 5, 2016 – Demonstration and closed doors
Before the second hearing on May 5, 2016, there was a solidarity vigil with Tatour in front of the Nazareth court. As a result there was more media attention and Haaretz wrote about the trial for the first time (in English and Hebrew).
Because of the vigil, many people, including some Arab Knesset members, came to attend the hearing. The judge didn’t like it and held the hearing beyond closed doors.
Third hearing, July 17, 2016 – Proving the Facebook
On the 3rd hearing on July 17, 2016, the prosecutor brought as witnesses Tatour’s best friend Samira and her young brother Ahmad to prove that her Facebook page belongs to her – a fact that she herself testified to repeatedly in her interrogations in the police.
The prosecutor also brought as a witness Rami Amer from Kafr Qasim, one of the organizers of the yearly commemoration of the Kafr Qasim massacre. They brought him to witness how and why he invited Tatour to read from her poems in the commemoration ceremony. Initially Tatour was interrogated about her participation in this commemoration as part of the accusations against her. Later the prosecutor tried to use it to prove that she is a famous poet, and for this reason her incitement constitutes severe danger to state security. In the court Amer explained that “the fact that I know her as a poet doesn’t mean that she is a known poet”.
Forth hearing, September 6, 2016 – Interrogating the interrogator
For this hearing Tatour’s lawyer Abed Fahoum made the not-so-common effort to go over the video that documented her interrogation by Officer Samer Khalil. He confronted the prosecutor witness with big gaps between what was recorded on the video and what was written in the interrogation’s protocol.
Finally the video proved, and the officer had to admit, that Tatour was forced to sign the protocol (written by Khalil in Hebrew, even though the interrogation was held in Arabic), without being allowed to read it, as she explicitly requested to do.
With this testimony the prosecution rested her case.
Tatour had to start her testimony on the same day, but the court failed to find a translator.
Fifth to seventh hearings, November 17 & 24, 2016 and January 26, 2017 – Tatour’s testimony
On November 17 the trial resume and Tatour had new lawyers, Gaby Lasky from Tel Aviv, accompanied by Nery Ramati from her office.
In her testimony Tatour admitted to posting all the publications that were attributed to her in their original Arabic form, but explained that the police translation distorted her words and that the police and prosecution distorted their meaning. She explained how all her publications were legitimate expression of protest against the crimes of the Israeli occupation and the settlers, and that all her calls for struggle are not meant to incite violence.
In three long sessions of counter interrogation the prosecutor Alina Hardak grilled Tatour again and again about many details from her publications, her interrogations in the police, other posts on her Facebook page and even comments by other people on her page. She tried to mislead Tatour, enter words to her mouth and find contradictions in her explanations – but couldn’t divert Tatour from her simple and sincere explanation of her publications.
Eighth hearing, March 19, 2017 – Experts’ opinion for the defence
On March 19, 2017, the defence presented two expert witnesses, Professor Nissim Calderon and Dr. Yoni Mendel.
Professor Calderon, an expert in Hebrew literature, explained how the most famous Hebrew poets expressed furious protest under Tsarist Russia and the British Mandate in Palestine, and were never prosecuted by these undemocratic regimes like Tatour is now targeted by Israel.
Dr. Mendel presented his own translation to Hebrew of the “Resist” poem and explained how the police translation distorted its meaning.
They were both grilled in counter interrogation by the prosecutor, trying to prove that they were not objective, that Tatour was not a poet and that the Palestinians were not living under occupation.
This counter interrogation produced many surrealistic dialogues that were cited in many articles and some of it has even constituted the text of a short play that was shown in the Yaffa Theater in a solidarity event with Tatour on August 30, 2017.
Ninth hearing, March 28, 2017 – The defence claims discrimination in the enforcement of the law
On March 28 the defence brought as a witness a police officer, who presented to the court a statistical report about interrogations and indictments concerning incitement. The defence claimed that these statistics prove that the enforcement of the incitement law is one-sided against Arabs, ignoring severe Anti-Arab incitement by Jewish Israelis.
The defence rested its case, but then the prosecution surprised everybody with a request to present more evidence.
Tenth hearing, April 27, 2017 – The prosecution tries to use Tatour’s first lawyer against her
The trial of poet Dareen Tatour was resumed in Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, April 27, at 12:00, before Judge Adi Bambiliya.
In this hearing the last prosecution witness testified, after all defence witnesses were heard in March. The witness was a lawyer who advised Tatour on the first day of her detention, in October 2015. As Tatour mentioned his advice in her testimony, the prosecutor took the rare step to force the lawyer to testify for the prosecution in order to disproof Tatour’s words. In the court the lawyer, Hussam Mow’ed, didn’t remember any details from his meeting with Tatour, only how shocked he was at her situation after being dragged from bed to the police station at the middle of the night. Anyway, with this nonsense the prosecutor prolonged the trial and added another full month to Tatour’s house detention. This had to be the last hearing before the verdict. The judge gave each of the sides 45 days to prepare written summaries. She didn’t set a date for herself for giving the verdict, saying that she will set a date for the verdict only after she will have the summaries, “as they are likely to be delayed anyway”.
June 26, 2017 – The Prosecutor’s Summaries
After some delays, on June 26 the prosecutor has already presented her written 43 pages summary, which repeats and stresses furiously all the original accusations. She even claims that the big differences between the translation of the poem that was done by an unqualified policeman and the professional translation presented by the defence prove that the defence’s translation is not reliable!
October 17, 2017 – Date set for verdict postponed
The defence lawyer, Gaby Lasky, requested to present new evidence that disprove some of the claims of the prosecution and establish the case for discriminative enforcement. Only when these issues will be resolved we will have a new date for the verdict.
The immediate result for Dareen Tatour of these delays is that her house detention – to which she was subjected “until the end of legal proceedings” – is prolonged even more. This extended period of confinement and suffering will not be reduced from the “punishment” (up to 8 years imprisonment) that might be imposed on her by the court at the end of the trial.
Lawyer friends tell me that this is nothing special against Dareen. Such delays are daily practice of the courts and many of the accused pay the price… Not much of condolences.
Eleventh hearing, November 15, 2017 – More evidence from the defence
Defence attorney Haya Abu Warda (from Lasky’s office) presented two new pieces of evidence:
The first was an image from Dareen Tatour’s Facebook page proving that the status “I am the next martyr” was first published on July 2014, just after the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, exactly as Dareen testified. In these circumstances it is clear that Dareen meant to say that any of us may be an innocent victim. The prosecution claimed over the trial that the status was first published in October 2015, in support of “the third intifada”.
The prosecution refused to the acceptance of the image without counter-interrogating either Dareen herself or her lawyer as witnesses. Abu Warda refused to allow any new interrogation of Dareen or putting herself as witness in the case and claimed that the image is like any document that doesn’t require a special witness to present. The judge sided with the prosecution and refused to accept the evidence.
The second piece of evidence was a video from the Facebook page of Miri Regev, Israel’s culture minister. On September 3rd, 2017, Regev published the video with Dareen’s poem “Resist, My People, Resist them”, the same video that Dareen is accused of incitement for publishing. Regev only added a new distorted Hebrew translation of the poem and the question “where was this video displayed?”
By presenting this video, which was already viewed more than 75 thousand times on Regev’s page, the defence supports the claim of discriminatory law enforcement. According to the indictment and the prosecutions position in the court, the fact that Dareen published this video constituted a real danger of causing violence. The indictment even specifies that the video was viewed by 153 people on Dareen’s youtube site before her detention. But the prosecution didn’t act to prevent Regev from publishing the same video to a much bigger audience.
The prosecution agreed to the presentation of this video to the court, on condition that it will be allowed to present 3 more videos from Regev’s Facebook page. Apparently they believe that the anti-Arab incitement on Regev’s page balances the “danger” of publishing Dareen’s video…
December 28, 2017 – Oral Summaries Postponed
When the testimonies stage came to an end, the prosecutor requested to move to oral summaries, while the defence insisted on its right to submit written summaries. When the judge accepted the defence’s request, the prosecutor requested the opportunity to respond to the defence summaries. She explained that during verbal summaries she could interrupt the defence’s statement, which would not be possible during written summaries. The judge ignored this unusual request.
On April 27 the Judge ordered the two sides to present written summaries, granting 45 days to each of them. The prosecution has already presented summaries (after some delays) but the defence requested to present new evidence – a request that was heard on November 15 (see below). Because of the additional evidence, the judge has scheduled a round of oral summaries to be heard on December 28, after the written summaries are submitted.
On December 28 the defence didn’t present the written summaries yet, but attorney Haya Abu Warda suggested that, as the extra oral summaries are related to the additional evidence, they will be heard anyway. The prosecutor returned to her initial claim that the main purpose of the extra summaries is to allow her to relate to the defence summaries. The judge agreed and postponed the oral summaries to January 28, 2018. The defence protested at the idea that the prosecution should be given the right to answer the defence summaries.
New Date, Sunday, February 18, 2018, at 8:30am, for Oral Summaries – February 15, after January 28, also abolished
Breaking: Hopefully the last delay. Oral summaries in the trial of poet Dareen Tatour now set for Sunday, February 18, at 8:30 am, in the Nazareth court.
Prosecutor asked for, and received, more time to study the defence written summaries before oral summaries. The hearing was set for February 15 (and later postponed to the 18th), after the designated hearing for January 28 was abolished. Dareen’s house arrest was automatically extended due to these delays…
Twelfth hearing, February 18, 2018 – Supplementary summaries for the prosecution
On February 18, the prosecutor was allowed to present oral supplementary summaries, in response to the written summary of the defence and some new evidence. Detailed report about this 12th hearing was published in +972 and in Free Haifa Extra. A Hebrew report may be found in Local Call and Haifa Ha-Hofshit. Basically, the prosecution repeated the same slander that was already presented over so many hearings, misinterpreting Tatour’s poetry to fit its idea fix that any type of Palestinian resistance to the occupation is terrorism.
There was some heated confrontation about the authority of the prosecution to present the indictment, infringing the basic right for freedom of expression. There was also a rare dialog between the judge and the audience, with the court for the first time semi-officially “recognizing” the presence of the dedicated group of the poet’s supporters.
As the prosecution brought new legal materials, including different court rulings and protocols from the Knesset that are supposed to clarify the intention behind the relevant articles of the law, defence attorney Gaby Lasky requested more time to study those materials and respond in writing.
Only after her response will be presented to the court (and hoping that the judge will not let extra time for the prosecution for another response), the judge is expected to set a date for the verdict.
Date set for verdict postponed to May 3, 2018, at 11:00
Apparently, the judge wanted some more time to write her conclusions – so today (April 18) she informed Dareen’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, that the verdict will be postponed – and will be finally announced on May 3, at 11:00.
May 3, 2018: Dareen Tatour convicted on all counts. Arguments about the sentencing will be heard on May 31, at 11:00
If anyone had any hope that judge Bambiliya will give any weight to the strong case of the defence or to the protests of thousands around the world in defence of free speech – it all came to a brutal end today at the Nazareth court. The courtroom was full with supporters, maybe 50 of them, and this time also many journalists, photographers and TV crews. The judge came in only after the media was allowed to take pictures in the courtroom. She sat on her high bench, said that the verdict is long, and that she would read only some of it. She read in a low voice and people complained that they can’t hear. She usually uses a mike – but not today. The guards wanted to throw out of the court the people that complained – but the judge requested them not to do it.
It all took hardly a few minutes, the only sentence that could be heard clearly was when the judge cited some old court ruling about the importance of the freedom of expression. Soon she concluded: “I decided to convict…” Then she went on in a very low voice to name the articles of conviction by their technical numbers, without any explanation, and soon disappeared through the back-door to her chamber.
Everybody jumped at lawyer Gaby Lasky: What? What did the judge say? Of what did she convict Dareen?
I’m not sure whether Lasky herself could hear what the judge murmured but soon she received the 52-page verdict and she could tell us all: Dareen Tatour was convicted on the two charges in the indictment, both “incitement to violence” and “support of a terrorist organization”.
We stayed almost another hour in the court’s waiting hall. Everybody was shocked and angry and trying to console Dareen, who was laughing and saying “I never expected justice from an Israeli court.”
You can read a detailed analysis of the verdict here – and in Hebrew here.
May 31, 2018: The prosecution asks for prison sentence between 15 and 26 months
On May 31 there was a special hearing where both sides had to declare what, in their view, is the due sentence, according to the verdict which convicted poet Dareen Tatour both for “incitement to violence” and “support for a terrorist organization”.
The prosecutor, unexpectedly, presented her arguments in writing to the court. At the time we couldn’t even know what she was asking for. Defence lawyer Gaby Lasky was given a short time to read the prosecution’s claims and respond. When she started talking, we learned from what she said that prosecutor claimed that Dareen should be sent to prison for a period between 15 and 26 months. Lasky, of course, said that Dareen should not be sent to prison at all.
The judge set the date for announcing the sentencing to June 24m at 11:00.
Sentencing will be announced on July 31, 11:00
More delays prolong the ordeal of poet Dareen Tatour – Sentencing now set to July 31, 2018…. After the sides finished stating their arguments concerning the due punishment, on May 31, the judge asked Dareen Tatour whether she wanted to postpone the sentencing until the submission of a report by a probation officer. Dareen sternly objected. She already spent more than 2 years and 8 months between prison and house arrest, and she wants to see the end of her ordeal, even if it will come after another term in prison. So, the judge set the date for announcing the sentence to June 24. As the date came close, the judge decided against Dareen’s wishes to ask for the report anyway, and postponed the final decision to July 31.
July 31, 2018: poet Dareen Tatour sentenced to 5 months in prison
After an absurd trial that consumed the best part of three years, poet Dareen Tatour will be sent back to prison!
The trial finished and Dareen will go to prison on August 8. On July 31, 2018, the hall was more than full with local and international media and dozens of supporters of the poet. The judge read only the last lines of her long sentencing decision: Dareen was sentenced to 5 months in prison for her poem and two statuses on Facebook that Israel regarded as “incitement to violence”. As she already spent 3 months in prison just after her arrest on October 11, 2015, Dareen actually will have to spend a new term of 2 months in prison. She was ordered to come to the Gelemeh detention center on the morning of August 8, to start serving her prison sentence.
In addition to the 5 month of actual imprisonment the judge added 6 months of suspended imprisonment sentence for a period of 3 years.
For the period until August 8, the judge abolished Dareen’s house arrest and the restriction that obliged her to be accompanied by custodians 24 hours a day. But all the other restrictions, including a ban on all publications and any access to the internet, remains in force.
August 8, 2018: poet Dareen Tatour in prison again
Dareen Tatour is in prison again, after serving 3 months in prison in 2015 and more that two and a half years under house arrest since then.
Dareen Tatour entered the Jelemeh detention center on Wednesday morning, August 8, 2018, after a prolonged legal battle, she started serving the remaining 2 months of the 5 months prison sentence that was imposed against her by the Israeli court. She was accompanied by some two dozens of her supporters, who gathered at the prison gates and held last “Farewell ceremony”. The event was help with the spirit of defiance, almost victory. All promised that the persecution of the poet and the imprisonment of thousands of other activists will never succeed to silence her voice or the voices of the resistance to the Israeli Apartheid regime.
The Jelemeh detention center is used to hold prisoners temporarily (in harsh conditions) until they are “sorted out” and assigned to an “appropriate” prison.
20 September 2018 – Dareen freed after spending her 5 months prison term
On the morning of September 20, Dareen Tatour was released from the Damoun prison, after serving the 5 months to which she was sentenced. The imprisonment term includes 3 months that she was in three different prisons just after her arrest on October 2015 and until she was transferred to house arrest in January 2016.
November 29, 2018, at 11:00 – date set for the appeal – POSTPONED!
Dareen’s appeal against her conviction in the Israeli District Court in Nazareth postponed again. The next chapter in the long struggle against the persecution of poet Dareen Tatour was scheduled for Nov 25 but postponed. You are all invited to keep tuned and to express your solidarity!
Appeal heard on December 25, 2018, in the district court in Nazareth
The appeal hearing in the Nazareth district court lasted several hours… The is no justice for Dareen but it seems that the judges would like to abolish the article of the conviction that is related to her poem “resist” – recognizing that the poem can be read in different ways. So, they want to clean Israel’s record as a state that arrest poets for the poetry but still justify Dareen’s imprisonment on the basis of 2 “non-poetic” statuses on Facebook… There is no date yet for the final decision.
Appeal partially accepted on May 16, 2019, in the district court in Nazareth
After three and half years of persecutions, spending 5 months in jail and two and a half years under house arrest – the district court in Nazareth partially accepted today poet Dareen Tatour’s appeal and acquitted her from all the charges related to the publication of her poem “Resist My People”.
In an absurd twist they upheld the charges related to 2 “non-poetic” Facebook posts – and justified her imprisonment…
It is a victory to the freedom of the arts – as the wide solidarity – locally and internationally – taught the Israeli oppressive apparatus that there is a high price to pay for imprisoning a poet for his poems….
Yet it is in no way vindication of the fake “Israeli Democracy” – as it still shows how any Palestinian can be persecuted and imprisoned for the slightest expression of verbal opposition to the crimes of the occupation.
Finally, the prosecution wanted to appeal, but Israel’s “High Court” refused to hear it
Four years after she was arrested by Israeli police over a poem, Dareen Tatour’s legal battles are finally over.
The Israeli “High Court” refused to hear an appeal filed by the prosecution against the Nazareth district court decision that the poem doesn’t contain incitement.
Artists all over the world express their solidarity by works of art based on the poem “Resist”
Artists around the world initiated a call for solidarity with Dareen Tatour and established a special site to promote it under the title “Poem On Trial“.
This initiative was covered by a radio program that will be broadcast in 9 different radio stations in different countries.
Three poems by Dareen Tatour translated to English and published in Brooklyn Rail
Andrew Leber translated the three poems:
“Detaining a Poem” is the poet’s lyric response to the accusations against her.
“Beware” is an emotional response to the harsh experiences of detention.
“Story of a Child” is a more personal poem about the suffering of girls and women who fall victims to abuse.
They were all published together in March 2018 in the “in-translation” section of Brooklyn Rail.
“A Poet’s Hallucinations” – new video with English subtitles
A new video with Dareen Tatour reading her poem “A Poet’s Hallucinations” was published, with full translation to English by Jonathan Wright, as initially published in ArabLit. It came soon after the judge in the Israeli court in Nazareth refused Dareen’s appeal to abolish her house arrest.
If you know of more poetry by Dareen Tatour that was published online please send us a link.
See below links to more poems by Dareen Tatour in English and many other languages
A Poet Behind Bars
By Dareen Tatour
Translated by Tariq al Haydar
First published in the site “Arabic Literature (In English)”
In prison, I met people
too numerous to count:
Killer and criminal,
thief and liar,
the honest and those who disbelieve,
the lost and confused,
the wretched and the hungry.
Then, the sick of my homeland,
born out of pain,
refused to go along with injustice
until they became children whose innocence was violated.
The world’s compulsion left them stunned.
They grew older.
No, their sadness grew,
strengthening with repression,
like roses in salted soil.
They embraced love without fear,
and were condemned for declaring,
“We love the land endlessly,”
oblivious to their deeds…
So their love freed them.
See, prison is for lovers.
I interrogated my soul
during moments of doubt and distraction:
“What of your crime?”
Its meaning escapes me now.
I said the thing and
revealed my thoughts;
I wrote about the current injustice,
wishes in ink,
a poem I wrote…
The charge has worn my body,
from my toes to the top of my head,
for I am a poet in prison,
a poet in the land of art.
I am accused of words,
my pen the instrument.
Ink— blood of the heart— bears witness
and reads the charges.
Listen, my destiny, my life,
to what the judge said:
A poem stands accused,
my poem morphs into a crime.
In the land of freedom,
the artist’s fate is prison.
Links to more poems by Dareen Tatour in English
The poem that is at the center of the trial: “Resist, My People, Resist Them” translated by Tariq al Haydar.
“I… Who Am I?” translated by Andrew Leber in ArabLit.
“A Poet’s Hallucinations” translated by Jonathan Wright.
“Rebellion of Silence” translated by Andrew Leber.
Andrew Leber translated three more poems, all published together in March 2018 in the “in-translation” section of Brooklyn Rail:
“Detaining a Poem” is the poet’s lyric response to the accusations against her.
“Beware” is an emotional response to the harsh experiences of detention.
“Story of a Child” is a more personal poem about the suffering of girls and women who fall victims to abuse.
Poems by Dareen Tatour in Arabic
Resist, My People, Resist Them – the video
“Poet Behind Bars” in Arabic in Al-Las’a
From my detention and exile – poetic letter to those in solidarity
Dareen reading 3 poems about the oppression of women on International Women’s Day in Nazareth, 2013
Poems of Dareen Tatour translated to Hebrew
Three poems about the oppression of women published in Haaretz.
The poem at the center of the trial – Resist My People Resist Them – in Local Call
From my detention and exile I love you – poem sent to those in solidarity with her – Haifa Hahofshit
Poet Behind Bars in Haoketz
Words from the diary of a prisoner – 2010 – in Haifa Hahofshit
“Poet Behind Bars” translated to 15 languages
This poem was written by Tatour in Jalameh prison at the day of her indictment.
It was first published in English in the site “Arabic Literature (In English)”.
The original Arabic text “شاعرة من وراء القضبان” was published in Al-Las’a.
On “International Translation Day”, September 30, 2016, Pen International initiated the translation of this poem to many languages. Below are links to another 15 translations:
These are the languages, but recently the links provided by PEN are not functioning: Kurdish, Dutch, Italian (by Trieste PEN), Italian (by Italian PEN), Georgian, Tamazight, Catalan, Spanish, Hungarian, Afrikaans, Basque, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Hebrew.
A poem by Dareen Tatour in Hungarian
The poem that is at the center of the trial: “Resist, My People, Resist Them” was translated to Hungarian and published by by Ádám Répa
If you know about any more translations – please send an email
Qawem Poem in Arabic, English and Hebrew
قاوِمْهُمْ يا شَعْبي
(القصيدة التي سجنت الشاعرة دارين طاطور بسببها والمسجلة بلائحة الاتهام ضدها
وأدينت بالتحريض على العنف بعد نشرها).
في قُدْسي ضَمَّدْتُ جِراحي
وَبَثَثْتُ هُمومي للهِ
وَحَمَلْتُ الرُّوحَ عَلى كَفِّي
مِنْ أَجْلِ فِلَسْطينَ ٱلعَرَبِيَهْ
لَنْ أَرْضى بِٱلحَلِّ السِّلْمي
ما دامَ السُّمُّ قَدِ ٱنْتَشَرَا
يَقْتُلُ أَزْهارًا مِنْ بَلَدي
لَنْ أُنْزِلَ أَبَدًا راياتي
حَتَّى أُنْزِلَهُمْ مِنْ وَطَني
أُرْكِعَهُمْ لِزَمانٍ آتي
قاوِمْهُمْ يا شَعْبي قاوِمْ
قاوِمْ أَطْماعَ ٱلـمُسْتَوْطِنْ
مَزِّقْ دُسْتورًا مِنْ عارْ
قَدْ حَمَلَ الذُّلَّ ٱلقَهَّارْ
أَوْقَفَنا عَنْ رَدِّ ٱلحَقِّ
قاوِمْهُمْ يا شَعْبي قاوِمْ
وَٱتْبَعْ قافِلَةَ الشُّهَداءِ
قَتَلوا ٱلأَطْفالَ بِلا ذَنْبٍ
وَهَديلٌ قَنَصوها عَلَنًا()
قَتَلوها في وَضَحِ نَهارٍ
وَمُحَمَّدُ قَلَعوا عَيْنَيْهِ()
حَرَقوا آمالًا في ٱلـمَهْدِ
قاوِمْ أَخْباثَ ٱلـمُسْتَعْرِبْ
لا تُصْغِ السَّمْعَ لِأَذْنابٍ
رَبَطونا بِٱلوَهْمِ السِّلْمي
لا تَرْهَبْ أَلْسُنَ “مِرْكافا”()
إِنَّ ٱلحَقَّ بِقَلْبِكَ أَقْوى
ما دُمْتَ تُقاوِمُ في وَطَنٍ
عاشَ ٱلغَزَواتِ وَما كَلَّا
فَعَلِيٌّ نادى مِنْ قَبْرِهْ()
قاوِمْ يا شَعْبي يا ثائِرْ
وَٱكْتُبْني نَثْرًا في النَّدِّ
قَدْ صِرْتَ الرَّدَّ لِأَشْلائي
قاوِمْ يا شَعْبي قاوِمْهُمْ.
Resist, My People, Resist Them
Translated by poet Tariq al Haydar
In my Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds
And breathed my sorrows to God
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
since the poison has spread,
killing flowers from my home.
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land.
I would have them kneel for a coming time.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the settler’s robbery.
Shred the disgraceful constitution
which imposed degradation and humiliation
and deterred us from restoring justice.
Resist them, my people, resist them
and follow the caravan of martyrs.
They burned blameless children;
As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,
killed her in broad daylight.
As for Muhammad, they plucked out his eyes,
on a body.
They poured hatred on Ali,
burned hopes in the cradle.
Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
Do not fear the Merkava;
The truth in your heart is stronger,
As long as you resist in a land
That has lived tirelessly through raids.
So Ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwood;
My remains have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם חָבַשְׁתִּי אֶת פְּצָעַי
תִנִּיתִי אֶת צָרוֹתַי לֵאלֹהִים
וְשַׂמְתִּי אֶת נַפְשִׁי בְּכַפִּי
לְמַעַן פָלַסְטִין העֲרָבִית
לֹא דַּי לִי בְּפִתְרוֹן שֶׁל שָׁלוֹם
כל עוד הרעל התפשט
והרג את פרחי ארצי.
לֹא אוֹרִיד לְעוֹלָם אֶת דְּגָלַי
עַד אֲשֶׁר אוֹרִידֵם מֵעַל מוֹלַדְתִּי.
אַכְנִיעֵם לַזְּמַן שֶׁיָּבוֹא,
הִתְקוֹמֵם, עַמִּי, הִתְקוֹמֵם
הִתְקוֹמֵם כְּנֶגֶד חמדנות הַמִּתְנַחֵל
קְרַע אֶת הַמִּסְמָכִים הַמְּבִישִׁים
הַמַּנְצִיחִים אֶת הַדִּכּוּי
ועוצרים אותנו מלְהָשִׁיב אֶת זְכֻיּוֹתֵינוּ.
הִתְקוֹמֵם, עַמִּי, הִתְקוֹמֵם נֶגְדָּם
וְלֵךְ בְּעִקְבוֹת שַׁיֶּרֶת הַחֲלָלִים.
שָׂרְפוּ אֶת הַיְּלָדִים הַחַפִּים מִפֶּשַׁע
וּבְהָדִיל צָלְפוּ בְּפֻמְבֵּי
הָרְגוּ אוֹתָהּ לְאוֹר הַיּוֹם.
את עיניו של מחמד עקרו
צלבו אותו ורשמו את הכאבים
בגופו יצקו את השנאה.
בעלי הבעירו להבות
שרפו תקוות בעריסה
הִתְקוֹמֵם כְּנֶגֶד תּוֹקְפָנוּת הַמִּסְתַּעֲרֵב
אַל תַּטֶּה אֹזֶן לִמְשָׁרְתֵי הַשִּׁלְטוֹן
שֶׁקָּשְׁרוּ אוֹתָנוּ בְּאַשְׁלָיַת הַשָּׁלוֹם
אַל תַּחְשֹׁשׁ מִלְּשׁוֹנוֹת הַמֶּרְכָּבָה
כִּי הָאֱמֶת שֶׁבְּלִבְּךָ חֲזָקָה יוֹתֵר
כָּל עוֹד אַתָּה מִתְקוֹמֵם בְּמוֹלֶדֶת
שֶׁחָיְתָה פְּלִישׁוֹת וְלֹא הִתְעַיְּפָה
עָלִי קוֹרֵא מִקִּבְרוֹ
הִתְקוֹמֵם, עַמִּי המורֵד
וּכְתֹב אוֹתִי בִּפְּרוֹזָה אֶל מוּל הַיָּרִיב
הָפַכְתָּ לִתְשׁוּבָה לִשְׂרִידַי
הִתְקוֹמֵם, עַמִּי, הִתְקוֹמֵם נֶגְדָּם.
Fundraising for the legal expenses of Dareen’s appeal
Dareen’s supporters opened a fundraising page on FundRazr site to help cover the legal expenses of her appeal. Please donate.
Artists all over the world express their solidarity by works of art based on the poem “Resist” – digital album now ready for sale to support legal fund
Artists around the world initiated a call for solidarity with Dareen Tatour and established a special site to promote it under the title “Poem On Trial“.
You can donate by buying a digital album prepared by the cooperation of many artists in solidarity with Dareen Tatour – with all the revenues going to Dareen’s legal defense fund.
This initiative was covered by a radio program that will be broadcast in 9 different radio stations in different countries.
Dareen is free and can be contacted directly
After Dareen Tatour finished serving her 5 months prison sentence, in addition to more than two and a half years under house arrest and severe restrictions – she was released on September 20, 2018. All the restrictions on her access to the internet and the ban on publishing her artistic works have thus expired.
You can now contact her directly at: “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Writing letters to Dareen in Damoun Prison
It is possible to write letters to Dareen while she is in prison.
Please notice that
(1) All letters to prisoners are read by the prison’s security officers and sometimes they are censored, delayed or confiscated.
(2) As it is not sure that the letters will be really delivered to Dareen, please send us a copy that will be delivered to Dareen upon her release.
You can use the following address (any one language should be enough):
Invitation to a spontaneous artistic evening: Farewell to poet Dareen Tatour before her imprisonment – Tuesday Aug 7, 2018
Dareen’s supporters to hold artistic night tonight, Tuesday, Aug 7, near her house in Reineh. After a trial lasting almost three-year, the Israeli court convicted Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour from the town of Reineh in the Galilee of “incitement to violence” and “supporting a terrorist organization”. The entire accusation is based on the publication of the poem “Resist My People” and two statuses on Facebook. Dareen was sentenced to five months in prison, three of which she had already spent in jail at the beginning of her detention in 2015. Dareen should now to go to jail on Wednesday, August 8.
Against this anti-democratic trial, and in order to support the steadfastness of the poetess who has waged a long struggle in the courts and in the public sphere against her persecution and in defence of the freedom of expression and freedom of the arts, we invite the public to participate in a spontaneous artistic evening in the courtyard of the Tatour family in Reineh on Tuesday, August 7, starting at 19:00.
We invite artists to participate in the evening by reading poetry or literary texts, by singing, playing music or by any other appropriate means of expression.
On Wednesday, August 8, we will accompany Dareen on her way to prison. We will gather at 8:00 am next to the family home.
Call for artistic performance in solidarity with Dareen Tatour
Artists Call for Creative Solidarity with Persecuted Palestinian Poet Dareen Tatour
Press Release – July 2018
Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was convicted by an Israeli court in Nazareth of “incitement to violence” for a poem she wrote. The prosecution demanded a long prison sentence and the final sentencing should be announced this Tuesday, July 31.
A group of artists and activists issued a call inviting musicians to contribute to a forthcoming digital album in protest of Tatour’s conviction.
Each musician is invited to contribute a piece of work in any genre using, as their lyrical base, the text of a poem by Tatour. The project aims to undermine and expose the true basis of her conviction by repeating and distributing her ‘illegal’ poem via the medium of music and art.
Pen International visits Tatour in Reineh and issues a new call of action
In the first week of October 2017, PEN International’s President, Mexican author Jennifer Clement, and PEN’s Executive Director, Catalan poet Carles Torner, visited Tatour at her home in Reineh near Nazareth. They conveyed the solidarity of Pen members worldwide with Dareen in her struggle for freedom of expression. They also presented to Dareen the new Pen Charter dedicated to promoting Women’s rights and expression opportunities, and recorded her enthusiastic response.
After their visit, Pen International issued a new call for action for Tatour – published on their site. It encourages Pen chapters to adopt different activities against Dareen’s persecution.
These visit and call of action was also reported in Mondoweiss.
Tatour’s Case tops Pen America site for October 2017
Thanks Pen America for choosing to highlight Dareen Tatour as their featured case for October 2017.
They have updated her case page here: https://pen.org/advocacy-case/dareen-tatour/
Their blog post, and call for supporters to sign the JVP petition, went live on October 1 and is available here: https://pen.org/october-featured-case-dareen-tatour/
Dareen Tatour Solidarity became major issue in the struggle to defend free speech in Israel
The Yaffa Solidarity event (August 30) put the case of Dareen Tatour at the center of the struggle about freedom of expression against the onslaught of the Israeli government led by minster for “culture” Miri Regev. After the event Ms. Regev didn’t only call for cutting public funding for the Yaffa Theatre but also called on the chief of the Israeli police to interrogate the organizers and the management of the theatre for incitement.
In an unprecedented move, the legal adviser to finance minister Kahlon started the process for cutting funding to the Yaffa Theatre, enacting the much denounced 2011 “Nakba Law”. This move started a new phase of organization by actors, directors and theatre managers to resist government pressure. (Some of it is covered by the report about the Yaffa event in Mondoweiss.)
There are many examples how the issue of freedom of expression is making more waves in Israeli public debate, and Tatour became a symbol of cultural resistance.
On September 19, when the Ophir Awards for Israeli cinema (“Israel’s Oscar”) were announced, on the stage one Arab actor, Lamis Amar, declared that “we will continue to create… even if imprisoned like Dareen Tatour”. (You can read about it in Haaretz in Hebrew).
At the same time Regev, which was not invited to the ceremony, issued an anti-Ophir video that started with congratulating herself with “not coming to dance to the songs of the famous Palestinian poets Darwish and Dareen Tatour”!
The essence of the political clash after the Yaffa event is very well summarized in a video by Assaf Harel.
Yaffa Solidarity event great success, August 30, 2017
Supporters of Dareen Tatour and of Free Speech and Arts held a solidarity night in the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Yaffa on August 30, 2017. The hall was crowded and many people stayed to watch the program on a big screen in the entrance.
Government pressure and threats before the Yaffa event
After complaint from extremist, both Israeli minister of “Culture” Miri Regev and “centrist” finance minister Kahlon threatened to stop the financing of the Yaffa Theatre for agreeing to host the event – even though the theatre itself is not in any way responsible for the event itself.
See a report about the threats from Ms. Regev to the Yaffa Theatre here. (Mr. Kahlon joined later, only on August 29.)
Pen America: Distant Lives, Forbidden Voices
On August 25, 2017, Pen America held a special event in New York for the freedom of persecuted artists, including Dareen Tatour..
You can watch the video from the event here, 3 poems from Tatour come at the end.
People all over the world expressed solidarity and demanded the immediate release of poet Dareen Tatour and the dropping of all charges against her
The case of Tatour is recognized world-wide as unjust persecution for legitimate political and artistic expression of protest. She became a symbol for many hundreds of Palestinians that were arrested and prosecuted by Israel for expressing protest against the occupation in social media.
More than 300 prominent writers, intellectuals and artists published an open letter calling for Tatour’s release. Among those who endorsed the letter were Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Dave Eggers, Claudia Rankine and 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, including renowned poet Alice Walker and journalist Kathryn Schulz.
Since then, more than 8,000 people have signed this letter.
Jewish Voice for peace and Adalah-NY were most helpful with the organizing of this petition.
Here is a link to the site of the petition.
More than 200 writers, poets and democratic activists, including David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, signed a Hebrew petition with similar demands.
Here is a link to the original petition in Hebrew.
PEN International studied the case of Dareen Tatour and came to the conclusion that the charges against her establish violation of her right for free speech and the freedom of poetry. They issues several statements related to her case.
On The Day of The Imprisoned Writer, November 15, 2016, Tatour’s imprisonment was one of a few cases highlighted by PEN.
Tatour’s case was one of the main themes in International Translation Day 2016, translating the poem “Poet Behind Bars” to 15 languages.
She was also one of the poets highlighted in the World Poetry Day on March 21, 2017.
On World Poetry Day 2017 PEN called for the public to take action in solidarity with Tatour.
More from Pen
Declaration by English Pen
Declaration by Pen center USA
Recognition – Prizes
In June 2017 Dareen Tatour was awarded the Danish Carl Scharenberg award for her poetry and for standing against injustice.
A Hebrew online literature magazine, Maayan, gave Dareen Tatour the 2016 prize for creativity in struggle.
Addameer: Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association
The first poetry night in solidarity with Tatour was held in Haifa al-Ghad club in Wadi Nisnas, with the participation of several young Palestinian poets.
Two more poetry nights, mostly with Israeli poets, were organized by poet Tal Nitzan and a group of poets, in Sipur Pashut in Tel-Aviv on June 27, 2016, and in Al-Yakhour Hostel in Haifa on May 5, 2016. (You can read more about the Tel Aviv event in Mako in Hebrew).
Writing solidarity letters
You can write solidarity letters to Dareen Tatour by old mail (as she is not allowed access to the internet), using the following address (the English should be enough)
Write to Dareen Tatour:
الرينة صندوق بريد 29
الرمز البريدي (الميكود) 16940
Reineh – zip 16940
Now, after Dareen was released from prison, and the restrictions over her access to the internet expired, you can contact her directly by email at: “email@example.com”
20 September 2018 – Dareen is FREE
A small crowd of supporters and the media waited for Dareen in front of the Damoun prison, until she finally walked out of the small blue iron door. Everybody was so happy, hugging and kissing and chatting.
Activists in Reineh organized an official festive reception for Friday, September 21, at 19:00.
You can watch this video from the celebration, where writer Ofra Yeshua Lyth is handing and reading to Dareen a letter signed by 5000 supporters worldwide through Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
19 September 2018 – Dareen’s release brought forward to tomorrow
This evening the Tatour family received an unexpected telephone call from the Damoun prison – informing them that Dareen will be released tomorrow morning (Thursday, September 20) around 8:00 am.
5 September 2018 – First family visit in prison – Dareen promised release on September 21
Dareen’s family was allowed to visit her in prison – and we learned that she was promised release on September 21! On Tuesday, September 4, lawyer Amnon from Gaby Lasky’s office visited Dareen Tatour in Damoun prison. He was told that Dareen would not be allowed a visit this week, but maybe the next. So it came as a surprise when, on the morning of the next day, the family’s request for visiting Dareen was approved.
On Wednesday morning, September 5, Dareen’s mother and father travelled to the Damoun prison to meet their daughter for the first time since she was imprisoned on August 8. They found that she was doing well, in spite of the harsh conditions, keeping high morale and writing new poems.
Through these two visits we also learned that the prison authorities informed Dareen that she would be released on Friday, September 21. Dareen was sentenced to 5 months of imprisonment. She spent more than 3 months in prison just after her detention in October 2015. So she had less than 2 months left to complete the 5. Now, due to the general overcrowding in Israeli prisons, almost all prisoners are released a few days or a few weeks before their scheduled release time, in what is called “administrative release”. This should now reduce about two weeks from Dareen’s period and we hope that she will really be released on the promised date (or, better, before it).
Also, on the occasion of the family’s visit, they were allowed for the first time to enter some extra clothes to Dareen, so she will be change clothes.
30 August 2018 – Dareen denied family visits
Since her new imprisonment, on August 8, Dareen’s family is not allowed to visit her. Usually family visits to prisoners are allowed about two weeks after they are imprisoned. From the declarations of the “Israeli Prisons Service” it seems that they intend not to let the family visit Dareen for the two months that she has to spend in prison to complete her 5 months prison sentence.
As another form of abuse, the Israeli Prison Service also prevents the family from entering to Dareen even the most basic clothes that she needs.
8 August 2018 – Dareen started prison sentence
On the morning of August 8, two dozen supporters accompanied Dareen to the Jelemeh detention center, where she had to give herself up to spend the last 2 months of the 5 months of imprisonment to which she was finally sentenced. We later learned that Dareen was transferred to the Damoun prison on Mount Carmel (near Haifa) where she is held with Palestinian “security” women prisoners.
31 July 2018 – As Dareen was sentenced to prison the house arrest was abolished
In the last hearing of the trial, judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein sentenced Dareen to 5 months in prison plus 6 months of suspended prison sentence. At the same hearing she ordered Dareen to give herself up at the Jelemeh detention center on August 8, at 10:00. For the remaining 8 days until her imprisonment, the judge abolished the house arrest, but left all other restrictions on Dareen in place, including the ban of any access to the internet.
4 December 2017 – The judge refused to release Dareen from house arrest!
Today, December 4, Judge Naaman Idris announced his decision to reject the appeal to end Dareen Tatour’s house arrest. As explained below, Judge Idris heard Dareen’s appeal on November 20. So today he had only to announce his decision. Even though the announcement itself took less than a minute, he let us (ten supporters and family members of Dareen and advocate Haya Abu Warda) wait from 14:00 till 15:30 before he took a small break between his other duties to make the announcement. It was another blow to justice and logic, as there is no date set for the verdict yet, and the trial is expected to last many more months, and those years spent in house arrest are not counted against any possible “punishment”.
The judge agreed to add 3 hours a day to the time that Dareen is allowed to be out of her house. It is now 9am till 10pm (after being set to 9am till 7pm in May 2017). But she still must be accompanied by an authorized supervisor at every step, so she can’t hope to work or lead anything that resembles normal life. All other restricting conditions remain in force, including total ban on connecting the internet. It is also significant for Dareen as an artist that she is not allowed to publish any of her works.
Judge Idris is the same judge that ordered Dareen’s detention “until the end of legal procedures” in December 2015.
Relief of detention conditions as time passes is a regular routine in courts. Most time it is done with the prosecution’s consent. In this specific case the prosecution continues to resist any relief.
The defence team led by lawyer Gaby Lasky is expected to file an appeal in the Nazareth district court soon.
20 November 2017 – hearing to consider abolishing house arrest
Hearing held on Nov 20 to consider request to abolish #DareenTatour house detention…
The Israeli law requires that significant time will pass before you can appeal for another relief in the pre-trial detention conditions. Last time when the conditions were somewhat adjusted (see below), on May 22nd, the judge said that she is pretty confident that the trial will end before the court’s summer vacation.
But time is passing fast and the trial can easily drag for a few more months, to say nothing about a possible appeal. Currently the next hearing in the main trial is set for December 28 for “oral summaries” on top of the written summaries – at the request of the prosecution. There is no date for the verdict yet.
Advocate Gaby Lasky and her team filed a request to take account of the long time that Dareen has already spent under detention and the fact that the evidence that was presented during the trial doesn’t justify in any way the “high dangerousness” that the prosecution attributed to Dareen. They request the abolition of the house detention.
Judge Naaman Idris held a hearing to consider this appeal on Monday, November 20th, at 10:00, in the Nazareth Magistrate Court. The small courtroom was full with Dareen’s supporters. As both sides presented their arguments in writing in advance, there was no much arguing. Advocate Lasky stressed the fact that as Dareen is not allowed to go out of the house without a “supervisor” and not allowed any access to the internet she can’t work or hold any normal life. When the judge asked the prosecutor (not the same Elina Hardak that is responsible on the trial) she simply said that they object to any relief.
The judge postponed his decision to December 4, at 14:00.
11 October 2017 – already 2 years under detention for a poem
While the verdict is going to be postponed, Dareen Tatour “celebrated” on October 11, 2017, the second anniversary of her detention.
The happy news of that day was the publication in ArabLit of another poem by Dareen Tatour, “Rebellion of Silence”, both the original Arabic and an English translation by Andrew Leber. On the same day, also, a group of artists visited Tatour to discuss the production of a play about her trial that may be displayed in the United States.
The restrictions imposed on Dareen are still very severe.
- She is allowed to get out of the house only between 9am to 7pm. At home and while going out, she should be accompanied at every step by a licensed “supervisor”. Under these conditions she can’t work neither lead any semblance of normal life.
- She is not allowed any access to the internet, not even reading news. She has never seen this site.
- She is not allowed to publish anything “directly or through others”.
- She is not allowed to attend any political gathering.
1 August 2017 – Adding 3 Supervisors
Dareen Tatour’s detention will complete full 2 years on October 11, before the end of the trial.
Since May 22, 2017, she is formally allowed to get out of her house between 9am and 7pm, but only if accompanied by a certified supervisor at any moment. The “justification” for this restriction is that, because Dareen is prevented from any access to the internet, there should be someone to supervise her at any moment.
The result is that she hardly could use this new partial relief. It certainly doesn’t allow her to work or enjoy normal life.
So some of her friends volunteered to join as guardians… but the court requested the prosecution’s response. And the prosecution delayed, and negotiated, and finally refused any new guardians!
On August 8, Dareen was visiting friends in Yaffa and went for the first time in two years to see the sea that she was so missing.
22 May 2017 – Allowed to get out, but only accompanied
As the trial is unlikely to finish before September (and might easily drag on, including an appeal, into 2018), Defence lawyers Laski and Ramati appealed for an end to Dareen Tatour’s house detention until the end of the trial. In a hearing on May 22, the prosecution strongly objected to any significant alleviation of the harsh house detention conditions under which Tatour is held since her arrest on October 2015 (after initial 3 months in different prisons).
In the end the judge allowed Tatour to get out of her house each day from 9:00 am till 17:00 pm – but she still have to be accompanied by her supervisors at any step, what means that she will not really be able to get out of the house most of the time. There is no easing of the decision banning Tatour from any access to the internet. And there are new conditions: The family had to deposit another 6000 shekel and Tatour is prevented from attending any political gathering or activity.
14 November 2016 – Allowed to work under impossible conditions
As the trial dragged on, lawyers Lasky and Ramati requested that most restriction on Tatour will be removed. The prosecution, as always, strongly objected to any relief.
The detention file was transferred to another judge, Lili Jung-Goffer, who held two hearings to reconsider the detention conditions, on October 31 and November 14.
Finally, she decided to remove the electronic bracelet from Tatour’s ankle, which was a significant improvement in her quality of life.
Tatour’s previous employer, a woman that owns a small beauty salon in Nazareth, agreed to accept her back to work. The judge agreed but on condition of full house detention. That meant that the employer will be a certified supervisor, and will be obliged to stay with Tatour all the time as the small beauty salon will become another location for her detention. This proved impractical and soon Tatour was closed for the whole day in her house again.
26 July 2016 – Allowed to return home
After the drama of her renewed imprisonment, Tatour was finally allowed to continue her house detention at her home in Reineh.
Just before she went home, the judge decided that it is too dangerous to let her go home (with the supervisors) to wait for the operators of the electric bracelet to connect it, so he ordered the police to keep her in custody until everything will be in place. After some hours waiting for the technicalities to be fixed, the police prisoner-guards decided to return Tatour to the Damoun Prison on Mount Carmel. The reception at the prison refused to accept her, as, according to their computers, she was not a prisoner any more. The policemen wanted to go home, so they just left Tatour, unaccompanied, in the middle of the nowhere, with no phone or money, near the prison gates.
Anyway, there were big celebrations in Reineh that night as Tatour came home after nine months in prison and forced exile.
You can read more about it here.
25 July 2016 – Back to prison
After a prolonged legal struggle to be allowed to continue her house detention at her home in Reineh, Tatour informed Judge Hana Sabagh that she is totally unable to go back to her exile in Kiryat Ono. Even though all the conditions for her transfer home were fulfilled, with only some paper work missing, and even though she already was allowed to spend a night at home on the holiday, he promptly order her arrest and sent her to prison.
13 January till 25 July 2016 – house detention with forced exile in Kiryat Ono
After two appeals by the prosecution to the district court, Dareen was finally transferred to house detention on January 13, but under much more severe conditions. She was declared too dangerous to stay anyway near her home town, so her brother had to rent an apartment in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv, especially to be the site for her detention. She also had to wear an electric bracelet on her ankle 24 hours a day, to supervise her movements any moment. She was completely forbidden to access the internet and the house where she would stay had to be disconnected from the net also.
11 October 2015 till 13 January 2016 – Three months in three prisons
Dareen was interrogated only four times, all about her poems and her Facebook posts. Her interrogation was held by the Nazareth police, not the security services that usually handle “security” cases. On November 2 she was indicted for “incitement” and “support of a terrorist organization”. You can read more details about the indictment in the “trial” page of this site.
With her indictment, the prosecution applied to the court to remand Dareen’s detention until the end of the trial. On November 12 judge Naaman Idris agreed to the remand request but requested a report by the parole officer to check whether the detention can be substituted by house arrest. On December 15 judge Idris ordered the transfer of Dareen to house detention in her home in Reineh, but postponed the actual transfer pending appeal by the prosecution.
During her interrogation Dareen was held in the Jelemeh interrogation center. After her indictment she was transferred to the Women’s Ha-Sharon prison, where she was held with the Palestinian “security” prisoners, between them administrative detainees like Parliament Member from the Palestinian Authority Khaleda Jarar. Later there was not enough room in Ha-Sharon and Dareen was transferred with other Palestinian women prisoners to Damoun prison.
11 October 2015 – Pre-Dawn Arrest
At 3:00am before dawn, on October 11, 2015, patrol cars from Nazareth police, escorted by a unit of Israel’s notorious “Border Guards”, surrounded a quite house in the nearby village of Al-Reineh. They broke in and waked up the terrified family. Their target was Dareen Tatour, 33, a Palestinian poet, photographer and activist. They didn’t have a search order, neither an arrest warrant, but they carried the astonished Dareen with them anyway.
The immediate reason for the detention was a profile picture that Dareen published initially on June 2014, in response to the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, saying “I’m the next martyr”. It meant to be a protest against the killing of innocent Palestinians, stating that in current conditions any Palestinian can be killed for no reason.
Someone mistranslated the status to Hebrew as if Dareen wrote “I want to be the next martyr”, and the police misinterpreted it as if Dareen announced that she wants to make a suicide attack. After a few hours the interrogators in the Nazareth police understood their initial mistake, but they decided to criminalize Dareen by any means possible.
You can follow the link to read more about Dareen’s detention.
Interview with Ofra Yeshua Lyth after the conviction of Dareen Tatour – Hebrew with subtitles in English and French
On May 3rd poet Dareen Tatour was convicted on all counts in the indictment – 3 publications were regarded by the Israeli court as “incitement to violence” and one was also labeled “support for a terrorist organization”.
Interviews with Poet Dareen Tatour…
One of the restrictions on poet Dareen Tatour, as part of her house detention until the end of her trial, is that she is not allowed to publish anything…
But she was interviewed several times, and the restrictions don’t prevent others from publishing…Here are some links:
Interview by Ben Norton in Salon.com, October 2016
Interview by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac in Haaretz, May 2016
Interview by Jessica Rohan in Warscapes, September 2016
Interview by Orly Noy in +972, August 2017
In October 11, 2015, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was arrested in a police pre-dawn raid on her home in Reineh, near Nazareth. Now she is in house detention and stand trial for a poem named “Resist. my people, resist them”. This page is dedicated to the solidarity campaign with Dareen – demanding her release and the dropping of all charges against her.
(You can see a video from the same Nazareth vigil here.)
(As the Free Dareen Tatour site may go down – I decided to put its contents on “life support” in this modest free blog)
The Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour from Reineh near Nazareth was arrested in a pre-dawn police raid on her home on October 11, 2015. On November 2, 2015, she was indicted by the Israeli authorities in the Nazareth court of “incitement to violence” over a poem and two statuses on Facebook. She spent three months in different Israeli prisons before being transferred to house arrest.
Dareen held a long legal battle, in which she was represented by lawyer Gaby Lasky, to prove that her poem and statuses constituted a legitimate protest against the crimes of the Israeli occupation.
On May 3, 2018, judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein in the Nazareth Magistrates’ Court convicted Dareen of all the charges. On July 31 Dareen was sentenced to 5 months in prison and six months of suspended sentence.
On August 8, 2018, Dareen entered the Jelemeh detention center and was sent to Damoun prison to serve the last 2 month of the 5 months prison sentence (as she already spent 3 months in prison immediately after her arrest in October 2015). On September 20 she was released from prison, after 2 weeks were reduced from her imprisonment for “administrative release”.
Dareen appealed against her conviction, as a matter of principle and an important precedent concerning the freedom of speech and artistic protest. Her appeal should be heard by the Israeli District Court in Nazareth on November 29, 2018.
At the center of the indictment is a poem Dareen wrote, translated incorrectly by a police officer. The poem, “Resist my people, Resist them”, speaks about the crimes of the occupation and about Palestinian martyrs. The Israeli police, prosecution and court deny the right of Palestinians even to speak about their suffering and victims and say that while Tatour speaks about martyrs it could only mean encouraging terrorism.
The targeting of this young woman, and the incredible assault the State of Israel is launching on her personal freedom, has become a symbol for the Israeli authorities’ campaign against freedom of speech and artistic expression, alarming many in Israel and all over the world. Repeated unequivocal calls by the writers’ association PEN international for her release were ignored. An international petition by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY drew support from many writers and intellectuals but was also ignored. For detailed information about the case and links to many related articles you can consult the “trial” page in this site. Also, see Free Dareen Tatour on Facebook.
The legal struggle continues now through appeals to the district court and probably the high court of appeal. The legal costs are way beyond her family’s means, so one of the reasons for establishing this site is to help in fundraising. Please contribute to Dareen’s legal defense by buying a digital album prepared by the cooperation of many artists in solidarity with Dareen Tatour – with all the revenues going to Dareen’s legal defence fund.
Dareen Tatour’s voice, and ours, must be heard.
We appreciate your support.
Oxfam Novib/PEN International 2019 award for freedom of expression announced
Dareen Tatour receives the Oxfam Novib PEN Award for ‘Freedom of Expression
Le 29 novembre 2018, le Tribunal de District de Nazareth a ouvert l’audition en appel de la poétesse palestinienne Dareen Tatour, citoyenne israélienne de Reineh en Galilée. Elle fait appel de sa condamnation absurde pour « incitation à la violence » et « soutien à une organisation terroriste », qui s’appuie sur une traduction déformée et une mauvaise interprétation d’un poème qu’elle a écrit et de deux positions sur Facebook.
Dareen a déjà accompli une peine de cinq mois de prison pour les accusations scandaleuses et fabriquées portées contre elle. Pendant son procès, elle a passé près de trois ans en résidence surveillée draconienne, sans pouvoir travailler pour gagner sa vie, étudier, ou vivre une vie normale, déconnectée de tout accès internet par ordre du tribunal qui l’a déclarée « dangereuse ». Sa condamnation comporte également une peine de prison de six mois avec sursis. Cela veut dire qu’un policier peut décider à tout moment qu’un nouveau poème écrit par elle est insultant pour l’ETat d’Israël – et elle se retrouverait à nouveau incarcérée. On peut trouver tous les détails pertinents sur son site web Free Dareen Tatour et sur sa page Facebook.
L’appel contre la condamnation et le prononcé de la peine de Dareen est une question de principe et il devrait intéresser tous ceux qui ont à coeur la liberté d’expression en Israël et, en réalité, dans le monde entier. Il n’est pas anodin que le procès de cette poétesse ait provoqué des remous dans les média, dans les organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme et dans les organisations d’écrivains à travers le monde.
Nous avons besoin de vous pour persévérer dans cet important combat juridique. Dareen est représentée par le cabinet juridique dirigé par l’avocat Gaby Lasky, l’un des rares avocats qui, en Israël, traite des questions de liberté d’expression et de droits civiques. Evidemment, le combat ne se terminera pas au Tribunal de District de Nazareth et ira jusqu’à la Cour Suprême d’Israël, elle-même sous le coup de lourdes attaques du régime actuel nationaliste d’extrême droite. Nous espérons qu’avec l’aide de supporters qui se sont déjà identifiés à la poétesse ciblée par le régime israélien, nous arriverons à couvrir les lourdes dépenses de cette campagne juridique.
On peut envoyer les dons directement à un compte Paypal ouvert pour cette affaire :
Par ailleurs, nous vous encourageons à poursuivre votre démarche en achetant l’album numérique, produit en solidarité avec Dareen Tatour par de nombreux artistes qui ont écrit et enregistré de la musique sur ses textes et ses poèmes. Allez SVP sur FREEDOM OF SPEECH :
Tout le produit des ventes sert directement à couvrir les frais juridiques.
Traduction : J. Ch.
20 février 2019
(This short story was initially published in the Haifa Arabic weekly Al-Madina on September 14, 2018. You can find the original Arabic text in Haifa Al-Hura.)
May 22, 2017 was a special day. We attended another session of the detention court for poet Dareen Tatour. The Court again rejected the request for the abolition of the house arrest imposed on Dareen, which lasted more than two and a half years until she was sentenced to imprisonment for 5 months and was returned to prison. On this special day, however, the court allowed Dareen to leave her family home in Reineh, the location of her house arrest, for several hours each day, provided she was accompanied by “qualified guards” from her family. On this occasion, to make use of the new crack in the wall for breathing freedom, Dareen and her companions did not return home after the hearing. But, for the first time since her arrest more than a year and a half before, she started wandering the streets of her beloved city, Nazareth, and we were wandering with her.
In this short passage, written more than a year later, I do not want to write another chapter in the famous story of the trial of the poet Tatour. But I want to touch on a passing conversation that took place during our tour of the streets of Nazareth. It touched an exposed nerve and its complex meaning is still echoing within my head even today.
We walked through the alleyways of the old market towards the Church of the Annunciation when we met, by coincidence, a group of foreigners, accompanied by a local activist. We learned that they are active in minority rights movements in the United States, especially Black Lives Matter. They came to Palestine as an act of solidarity on an educational tour, and our friend guided them on their trip to Nazareth.
We were pleased with this opportunity to get acquainted, and we requested the guide to tell the respectable foreigners about Dareen’s case as well. He began to explain, but was not familiar with the details. With his permission I explained all the issue of the trial from Dareen’s arrest until the last court hearing on the same day. My explanation was brief but it was ample, and I felt that the guests were delighted to have the opportunity to meet in person one of the conflict stories.
But, when I stopped talking, it seemed that our guide friend was not satisfied. He told me, “Tell them the truth.”
I thought I had explained the details of the case accurately and honestly and did not understand what truth he wanted me to tell, so I did not respond.
However, it seemed that this truth that I couldn’t grasp was clear to other members of our small group, except for the foreigners. Some of them, Arabs, Jews and foreigners, urged me: “Yes, tell them the truth!”
I was confused. I was, as they say in Arabic, like “a deaf in a wedding”. I didn’t understand. “I have told the truth as I know it,” I said. “If I made any mistake, please correct me.”
“No, you were not mistaken. But tell them you are a Jew!”
At this point I lost my nerve. Some of my beloved friends felt that the foreigners, who were of different races and ethnicities, and who heard my balanced and objective words, could miss the main “attraction” – that the person who spoke this was someone of Jewish origin… Seeing such a scene should be regarded like seeing a dancing monkey in a street show.
“OK, OK, I will tell the truth,” I laughed.
“You have to know that we live in a society steeped in sectarianism,” I explained to the guests. “Zionism has taken control of all our thinking and we have stopped dealing with people as human beings. We are dealing with them first and foremost according to their sectarian affiliation. But even our concept of sectarian affiliation is wrong, distorted by Zionist misconceptions. Judaism, as I know it, is a religion. And any religion is based on faith and a set of convictions. As of me, as a person, I do not believe in this religion and have nothing to do with it. But Zionism wants to convince us that religion is transmitted by heredity through our genes… and that the son of a Jewish mother is definitely Jewish. I regret to tell you that, but my friends have requested me to introduce myself to you as a Jew.”
Thus I spoke the truth, as I found it in my heart, to the respected guests, to my beloved friends and to you, my dear readers.