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Jakarta event highlights Palestinian poems

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, August 25, 2017 | 02:21 pm
Jakarta event highlights Palestinian poems

Muslim cleric Ahmad '"Gus Mus" Mustofa Bisri read a poem together with Indonesian actor Slamet Rahardjo at the Doa untuk Palestina event on Aug. 24 at Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

A solidarity event dubbed "Doa untuk Palestina" (Prayer for Palestine) was held on Thursday at Graha Bhakti Budaya in Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) in Central Jakarta.

Initiated by Muslim cleric Mustofa Bisri, affectionately called Gus Mus, the event featured readings of Palestinian poems by renowned figures from various fields, including Indonesian artist Jose Rizal Manua, poet Joko Pinurbo, former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud M.D., musician Renny Jayusman, celebrated poet Taufiq Ismail, actor Slamet Rahardjo and prominent cleric Quraish Shihab, who shared the stage with his daughter, journalist Najwa Shihab.

Prominent cleric Quraish Shihab shares the stage with his daughter, journalist Najwa Shihab. Prominent cleric Quraish Shihab shares the stage with his daughter, journalist Najwa Shihab. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The event began with Jose Rizal Manua reading Ibuku (My Mother) by renowned poet Mahmoud Darwish that was translated to Indonesian by poet Abdul Hadi WM. Joko Pinurbo later came on stage to read Pelajaran Menguraikan Kalimat (Lessons to Elaborate Sentences) by Rashid Hussein, also translated by Abdul Hadi WM alongside Taufiq Ismail.

“Palestine is us; Palestine is [the] struggle for independence, justice and equality for fellow human beings,” said Joko during his performance.

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Meanwhile, Mahfud M.D. read two short poems by Samih al-Qosim, namely Jika Kau (If You) and Darah di Telapak Tangan (Blood on Palm of Hand), which were translated to Indonesian by Taufiq Ismail and Abdul Hadi WM, respectively.

“This is the rage toward people who discussed about peace in Palestine in international forums,” Mahfud said, explaining the meaning behind Darah di Telapak Tangan. “But all of them are just lies.”

Muslim scholar Ulil Abshar Abdalla reads a poem by Mahmoud Darwish.Muslim scholar Ulil Abshar Abdalla reads a poem by Mahmoud Darwish. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

“This event aims to mobilize sympathy and solidarity for Palestine,” said Muslim scholar and head of the event committee, Ulil Abshar Abdalla “Usually Palestine is being discussed in Indonesia in the form of large-scale parades and events, but tonight we will talk about Palestine from different perspective, meaning that Palestine is not only about blood and anguish; it is also about people who created and wrote beautiful poems.”

Ulil said a similar solidarity event was held 35 years ago in TIM where Gus Mus made his debut as a poet by reading a poem by Harun Hashim al-Rashid following a request from former president Abdurrahman Wahid. “It seems that Gus Mus [wants to recreate] that moment, therefore he initiated this event,” Ulil said. (kes)

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