What I Will by Suheir Hammad

This poem spread among my friends on Facebook yesterday. These are the words I needed following the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s assassination in the midst of endless war. Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian-American poet and acivist. She was born to refugees in Jordan and immigrated to Brooklyn. “What I Will” was written in response to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It feels incredibly apt right now.
Transcript from TED Blog after the jump.

Also check Hammad’s words on 9/11, “First Writing Since.”

h/t Yasmine, Bilen and many others.

What I Will
by Suheir Hammad

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin beak for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain’t
louder than this breath.

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  1. Posted May 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow. She is amazing. Thank you so much for posting this.

  2. Posted May 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Why is it so difficult for people to realize hatred never leads to happiness?
    We need more of this!

  3. Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink


  4. Posted May 4, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Her 9/11 poetry was particularly on point for me. Thank you for inspiring me with her words.

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