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.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

Read more about Jos

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/sbsolter/ Sarah

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

  • http://feministing.com/members/jennifergates/ jennifer gates

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

  • http://feministing.com/members/twebb/ Taylor

    <3

  • http://feministing.com/members/femidonna/ Donna Haghighat

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