Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish dies at age 67

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died Saturday in southern American state of Texas three days after heart surgery at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

Darwish's poems are considered as an encapsulation of the Palestinian cause.

Palestinians in Ramallah went to the streets, some weeping, gathered around candles in the darkened streets and lit candles expressing their sadness.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning.

"The passing of our great poet, Mahmoud Darwish, the lover of Palestine, the pioneer of the modern Palestinian cultural project, and the brilliant national leader, will leave a great gap in our political, cultural and national lives," Abbas said. "Words cannot describe the depth of sadness in our hearts, Mahmoud, may God help us for your loss."

A day after his death many intellectuals and politicians in the Middle East gave their tributes in honor of him.

Ahmed Fouad Negm, a famous Egyptian poet, told Reuters "[h]e translated the pain of the Palestinians in a magical way. He made us cry and made us happy and shook our emotions, Apart from being the poet of the Palestinian wound, which is hurting all Arabs and all honest people in the world, he is a master poet."

"Mahmoud Darwish knew how to express the attachment of an entire people to its land and the absolute desire for peace. His message, which calls for coexistence, will continue to resonate and will eventually be heard", French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a statement.

Darwish will get the equivalent of a state funeral in the West Bank on Tuesday, the first since Yasser Arafat died in 2004.