Darwish to Militants: Leave Us Alone

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish lashes out at militants who have taken to disrupting cultural events, the SF Chronicle reports:

It’s been a hot summer on the Palestinian arts scene: gunmen broke up the concert of a popular West Bank singer after he refused to limit his repertoire to political songs, and a Hamas-run town banned a music festival to prevent mingling of the sexes.

Now, Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish is striking back, saying fanatics have no right to deprive Palestinians of beauty in their lives. “There are Taliban-type elements in our society, and this is a very dangerous sign,” Darwish told a gathering of artists and intellectuals this week.

It’s not just an argument over artistic freedom, but over whether a future Palestinian state will be a theocracy or a pluralistic democracy.

Read the rest here.