Poet Mahmoud Darwish dies at 67

Palestinian writer penned famous Arafat speech

LONDON — Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, whose work came to symbolize the Palestinian struggle for statehood, died Aug. 9 at the age of 67 after suffering from complications following open-heart surgery in Texas.

Darwish was the most celebrated Palestinian poet in the world. He famously penned Yasser Arafat’s speech to the United Nations in 1974 when the late Palestinian leader said, “I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

He would also write the largely symbolic 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence.

In later years, he became increasingly frustrated at the in-fighting between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas. Last year he condemned the explosion of internecine violence between the two groups in Gaza as “a public attempt at suicide in the streets.”

Darwish played himself in French helmer Jean-Luc Godard’s 2004 feature “Notre musique.”

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