assignment textual analysis essay draft 2
Jerusalem behind the walls
Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian, poet once, “We suffer from an incurable disease called hope.” The poem “In Jerusalem” by Tamim Al-Barghouti was written after the poet was denied entrance into Jerusalem because he was under thirty-five years of age. Israel claimed it was for security reasons. Barghouti discusses the Old City, Jerusalem, in the poem using the three lenses of landscape, diversity, and hope.
Barghouti starts his poem discussing the first lens, landscape. He defines his relationship with the city as two lovers separated by the rules and regulations of the Israeli occupation. As soon as he was turned back from the check point Barghouti starts visualizing himself walking through the streets of the Old City. He sees what he cannot bear, people from many different nations all in the city that he and many many other Palestinians struggle to enter. To Barghouti, Al-Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, is a human, a lover. He states” and every absentee surrenders to happiness.” Everything in the city can speak “with a tongue everything in the city is, when you ask it shall disclose” Tamim argues. You can ask any creature, wall, or street and it will disclose an answer. “in Al-Quds beauty’s identification is octagonal and blue” Barghouti describes the Dome of the Rock. Topped with a mirror-like, curved, golden dome. The Dome of the Rock is a very significant piece of art. “synopsized in it you see the sky’s face” Tamim continues his description. The walls of the Dome of the Rock are decorated with citations from the Koran and the Gospels along with beautiful artistic decoration which catch the eye of all tourists in spite of their religious beliefs. In Al-Quds there is a strong bond between the people and the sky. They protect each other. Although the Israelis try to deny the history of Palestine, history marks itself in every detail of the city “in Al-Quds graves arrayed in lines they are, as if lines they are in the city’s history and the book is its soil” Barghouti continues.
The second lens discussed in the poem is diversity. Jerusalem is known to be the home of three major religions in the world Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Tamim stumbles upon many diverse people in his imaginary trip to Jerusalem. He comes across a cabbage vender from Georgia. Although they are both in the streets of Jerusalem, they differ in their plans and thoughts “Blond European tourists, Al-Quds they never see” Tamim describes the difference in the meaning of the city between him and the tourists. Continuing the diversity, the poet mentions a school for a Memluke, and Egyptian slave, who came from beyond the rivers. That same Memluke was sold to a Baghdadi merchant in a slave market in Asfahan. The slave was taken to Allepo and there he was given to a caravan going to Egypt. Back in his motherland this slave became the Mongols defeater and a sultan. While walking Barghouti passes by a perfumer’s shop “a smell there is, which establishes Babylon and India” Tamim describes the smell. As Tamims imaginary journey comes to a near end he notices that everyone passes from Jerusalem. He explains the kindness of the city saying, “Al-Quds accepts anybody who visits it.” Yet the kindness of the city is restricted by the bitterness of the occupier. Even though the city is open to all languages that the poet knows, the occupier blocks the way with the laws and walls.
The last lens is regarding the importance of never losing hope. Despite the smell of tear gas bombs Barghouti comforted by the words he heard from the gas telling him not to worry, “and it tells me when tear gas bombs they shoot at me: “don’t worry ..”” Tamim states. Although Al-Quds has been through many nakbat, tragedies, “a smell of childhood there is in the wind.. the wind of innocence” Tamim describes the hope in the air. In that same innocent wind you will see pigeons flying from between two bullets, “announcing a state” Barghouti feels the hope. Hope is never lost as Tamim ends his poem describing a smile that reached to him from between his tears and comforted him. He was told there is hope, “you Arab your eye shouldn’t cry.. you should know that” Tamim argues the hope he has.
Tamim was turned back and the lenses he saw from the landmark, diversity, to the hope were left behind. Jerusalem greets Tamim with close doors. He reaches the checkpoint and gets turned away by the closed gates but his mind gave him a scenario of the Old City but it wasn’t equivalent to actually entering the city. Armed with machineguns and soldiers stand “protecting” the gates which lead to the Old City. The cab driver turns around as the golden dome flashes in the mirror.