Welcome back to my second day broadcasting to you from the great city of Jenin--
Yes. Yes, thank you. I love you too, Jenin. Now, let's get right to today's first guest. Amongst a people renowned for it's enduring love of poetry, the distinction of being a great poet is high praise indeed. Our first guest is just such a bard. Honored at home and abroad, his poems have been translated into many languages, including English, and have lifted the spirits of countless Palestinians in their struggles, whether it be against occupation or overeating. Please welcome Abu Makir.
[Abu enters, bows humbly, approaches couch where Oprah waits to hug him, and sits down. Oprah sits too].
Abu, it's so good to have you.
Thank you. Good to be here.
I can't tell you how much I love poetry. From a childhood spent soaking up the crazy rhymes and rhythms of Dr. Seuss to an adulthood enriched by the spirit of rap and hip hop
, poetry simply infuses my soul. It enriches all of us, doesn't it? [she looks to the crowd for confirmation.]
Tell me, Abu, what do you try to accomplish with your poetry? Is it to educate, or to elevate, or simply to entertain and enthrall?
Every one of my words gives courage to the brave brothers and sisters out there in the resistance, Oprah.
Yeah. Fight the power! That's a little Chuck D by the way, truly gifted in his own right. Have you heard of Chuck D? No? Anyway, I had my producers pick up a little collection of some of your work translated into English so my American audience can get a flavor for the cadence and themes of your work. Let me read a few lines here from one called, "O Allah, My Blood Flows For You." Such a beautiful title. May I?
[with a proud smile] Certainly.
My flesh O my flesh,
Mist of my blood,
Every last particle and piece,
On its separate, spinning, parabolic trajectory,
Quenching our land's thirst for blood.
All fate in Allah's merciful hands,
At work there are no accidents.
Nothing explodes but by His will.
Could His will not have waited for a few Jews as well?
I miss my spleen.
Brave testicles, prematurely ejected,
Erstwhile seed of a Palestinian nation.
Each sinew and bloody lump of cartilege,
Cries out Shaheeeeed,
Before splattering the walls of the explosives lab.
Never forget, O brother,
How Grandpa Awad told us,
Of his Uncle's key, held since Nakba.
Our dear nephews must return even if we cannot,
To room 32, Hilton Hotel, Haifa.
Sadly, alone my eternal reward now calls me,
But not you O brother, no, not you, not yet!
As I await you here in paradise,
I pray only for your recovery and harbor no grudge,
Even though I distinctly remember asking you not to smoke in the lab.
That's stunning imagery. It must be just so... so cleansing to just let it all out like that, to really symbolically express what's inside.
[shrugs] I do not know what you mean by symbolically. I express exactly what I feel.
Oh yes indeed, keepin' it real. I feel that. I feel that inner rage all the time -- like when I specifically request a double half-caff uncovered, and they add cinnamon sprinkle. But as I've gotten older, I've learned to just LET IT GO. If you keep that all inside, it'll just eat you up. It's like I think it was Jung
who said, "Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression." Such a brilliant psychological mind!
[shrugs] This so-called dark side has its uses.
You know, now that you mention it, you are so right. I can't help noticing though -- and please, this is no criticism coming from the likes of me -- but your poem doesn't seem to rhyme. You know, like, "The CAT, in the HAT, came BACK."
Well, it is a translation -- and a poor translation at that -- from the Arabic. What is said in Arabic
rarely sees the full light of day in English.
I see. So what else would you say has been lost in translation here?
Oh, this and that. There were certain deeper implied meanings, layers having to do with the order in which certain devices are constructed, or the importance of nails and ball bearings. Little things like that. But really, Oprah, you should spend a few years learning Arabic from the teachers at your local mosque, and then try it in the original. If you really pay attention and accept what they teach you, you'll return to my material with a much fuller appreciation of what it all means.
Well, between doing my show and trying out all these various diets I'm not sure I really have time, but I thank you for the suggestion. Thank you so much for being here Abu, and for your gift of the word. Now, before I sign off though, I want to bring you all up to speed on what happened to me when I tried to make young Mustafa's dream of peace
come true yesterday. You'll remember he asked me to carry a very special gift -- a peace offering -- to Israeli leaders. Well, here's what happened next.
[cut to video showing Oprah approaching an Israeli security station]
Hi, I'm Oprah, and I'm here to deliver a peace gift to the Knesset on behalf of a very special young man. That's my crew. [points to camera]. We don't have any weapons.
Ok, Miss Ofrah, please put your belongings on the table and step through the metal detector.
No, you don't understand. This is a PEACE gift. I have a very, VERY popular television show, and you're actually on it right now.
I understand, Maam, but I have to check everything anyway.
I'm so tired of this. I am NOT going through this whole Hermes
business again, even if that thing did end up turning out ok
. Life is just too short for Oprah to get angry -- especially at you, kid. So will you please harness your power of positive thought for just one moment and give peace a chance? You're about to seriously disappoint a very well-meaning young man, and get one billionaire talk show hostess mighty ticked off to boot.
Sorry Maam but I have to check everything.
Ok, that's it! Take the package and deliver it yourself. You've just blown an important cross-cultural moment, my young friend. Turn off the cameras, we're out of here.
Boo...boooooo...Death to the--
Yes, I know. How can there be peace until there is a little trust. So, if you're watching this, young Mustafa, you can see that I tried. I hope your package eventually got delivered, but apparently Israeli security has it in for famous, fabulously wealthy black women as much as for oppressed, uneducated, poor Palestinian boys. This is a sad day indeed for peace. I'm going to need some serious meditation and affirmations to get over this. Ok, well, tommorrow, besides seeing if I can followup a little bit on the barbaric rudeness we all just witnessed, I'll have a very special celebrity guest and together we'll take a look at feminism in the Middle East -- a girl power hour. Please don't miss it.
Oprah's Jenin Week (best read in order)
Day 1: Mothers
Day 2: Poet
Day 3: Go Girl
Day 4: Snitch
Day 5: Massacre
Linked with thanks to Pirate's Cove
, Outside the Beltway
, Planck's Constant
and Adam's BlogTechnorati Tags: parody, oprah, hamas, poetry, israel, work accidents as poetic justice, jenin