Samih Al Qassim, pull out of Bahrain’s “Spring of PR”!

Below is “Travel Tickets”, by Palestinian poet Samih Qasim, “The day I am killed, my killer. . .will find travel tickets, one to peace. . .the other to the conscience of mankind”, so very apt to the situation in Bahrain, where millions of dinar are being spent on PR to ensure that the conscience of mankind the world over remains ignorant of the crimes of the Khalifa regime in Bahrain.

How sad then, to see Samih Qasim, heir to the tradition of Mahmood Darwish, is scheduled to recite his poetry at Bahrain’s 2012 “Spring of Culture”, a PR event designed to ensure that the world thinks that everything is alright in Bahrain and that the murders, torture, gassings and beatings aren’t going on.

In the name of the martyrs of Bahrain and of Palestine, I ask Samih Qassim to reconsider his invitation to Bahrain, don’t participate in the regime’s attempts to cover up its crimes.

تذاكر سفر

وعندما أٌقتَل في يومٍ من الأيام
سيَعثُر القاتل في جيبي
على تذاكِرِ السفر:
واحدة الى السلام
واحدة الى الحقول والمطر
الى ضمائر البشر

ارجوك الّا تُهمِل التذاكر
يا قاتلي العزيز
ارجوك ان تسافر

And I dedicate “Travel Tickets” to Ahmed Farhan

The day I’m killed,
my killer, rifling through my pockets, 
will find travel tickets:
One to peace,
one to the fields and the rain,
and one 
to the conscience of humankind.

Dear killer of mine, I beg you:
Do not stay and waste them.
Take them, use them.
I beg you to travel.


7 thoughts on “Samih Al Qassim, pull out of Bahrain’s “Spring of PR”!

    • I’d imagine Samih Qassim would argue along the lines “literature/art can bring people together”; yes it can, but that’s not the issue in Bahrain, the issue is the regime’s suppression of a popular democratisation, civil society, and human rights movement. In so far as Bahrain is a divided society, it is like that because the regime has done its damnedest to turn it into one during 2011 as part of a divide-and-rule strategy. In Israel-Palestine bringing Others together through art and literature IS important. In Bahrain it’s a deliberate distraction from the real issue!

  1. Samih al Qassim did not receive any invitation from bahrain. any way he will not participate even if the bahranians invite him

    • Thank you, Waddah. I hope this is indeed true. I taught Comparative Literature in the GCC region from 2002 to 2010, and in Bahrain was always struck by the parallels that Bahraini students drew between the conflict depicted in the poetry of poets like Samih and Mahmoud Darwish, and the sectarian situation in Bahrain. My information regarding Samih’s appearance at the 2012 “Spring of Culture” in Bahrain comes from the Spring of Culture’s own website: If Samih would like to confirm he is not attending, I’d be happy to publicize it.

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