First Intifada Anniversary Today: Three Poems for Palestinian Resistance

December 8 marks the 34th anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada. (Photo: File)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

December 8 marks the anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising).

On that day, in 1987, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to protest against the brutality of Israeli occupation, organizing mass demonstrations, forming resistance committees and staging strikes all over the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli forces brutally repressed the uprising, which lasted for nearly six years, killing thousands of Palestinians and injuring many more.

The Palestine Chronicle pays tribute to the Palestinian people by publishing three poems dedicated to Palestinian resistance. 

Martyrs of the Intifada 

By Fadwa Tuqan

They drew up the map of the road to life

they paved it with precious stones and with their young hearts

they raised their hearts as stones on their palms

embers and flame

and with these they pelted the monster of the road,

now is the time to show courage and strength,

their voice was heard strong everywhere

it reverberated everywhere

and there was courage and strength

they died standing

blazing on the road

shining like stars

their lips pressed to the lips of life.


Death charged and drove its scythe through them

they stood up in the face of death

fairer than palm groves

fairer than the yield of wheat

fairer than bright day rising

fairer than the trees which the rain has bathed in the lap of dawn

they rose they sprang they were on their way to the battlefield

and there they spread like balls of fire

they burned they shone and gave forth light

in the middle of the road–and then disappeared like the sun.


Ah dream of theirs which appear in the distance

embracing the happy future!

You will bring about their rebirth

along with their great tomorrow.

Their rebirth will come will rise out of the depth of death and darkness,

on its face it bears good tidings

and on its broad brow a star shines.


Earth shall suckle him all through life

neither the concentrations of evil

nor the demons of earth land and sea

shall tear him from its breasts

never will he be weaned whatever the usurper’s cruelty

he shall not be weaned

until in a perfidious night death paints

the nipples of the bountiful breasts with the juice of bitter apple.


Look at them in the distance!

How they rise up higher and higher

while the whole world watches!

How they climb up ever higher

on a ladder of their gushing blood!

Never shall treacherous death seize their hearts

as long as rebirth and the new dawn

remain their vision which guides them on the path of sacrifice!

Look at them falcons in their Intifada

how they join to the heavens the land and their sacred country!

(Translated from Arabic)

– Fadwa Tuqan, was a Palestinian poet known for her representations of resistance to Israeli occupation in contemporary Arab poetry. Sometimes, she is referred to as the “Poet of Palestine”

Hand of War

By Hosam Maarouf

We hold war’s hand,

not so that it walks among us,

but it is death,

a bit tardy, we cajole it.


We hold war’s hand,

convinced that this is the last time

it waves catastrophe to us,

since the road is a futile wall,


and the country is searching

for a photograph

of collective sorrow.

(Translated by Fady Joudah)

– Hosam Maarouf is a Palestinian poet and novelist from Gaza. His poetry collection Death Smells Like Glass was awarded the Mahmoud Darwish Museum prize in 2015. He also writes on literature for various Arabic newspapers.


By Fadlurrahman


Return to your land

And I will go back to mine.

You sowed the seed.

But it’s nourished by the blood

of my brethren.

The orange trees bear fruits of


The olives reek of death.

It is on my beloved land,

You have cast your walls of


The lambs of the prophets of

Golan Heights

Graze on blood-stained grass.

Jerusalem, the land of peace,

You know the prophets roamed

These lands,

Gaza still echoes of poetry,

Darwish and Barghouti.

Holy land, indeed.

Your cruel bombs,

Your drones,

Your cut-throat bullets;

Elements of the brief monsoon.

Spring blooms of trees

Erupting off Qabrs

Pampered by breeze

Fragranced by martyrdom.

 (Translated by Anan Ashraf)

Fadlurrahman was born in 1995, in Vazhikkadavu village, in India . Apart from literature and academics, he pursues his interest in political activism and theater. This poem was originally published in The Palestine Chronicle

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