Palestinian poet Samih Al-Qasim died yesterday, aged 75, after a long battle with cancer.
Al-Qasim, who was known for his nationalist poems including “Do Not Ask Permission from Anyone”, spent his last days in a hospital in Safed, northern Israel, as a result of his deteriorating health. He is due to be buried today.
Born in 1939, in the Jordanian city of Zarqa, Al-Qasim grew up and lived in the village of Rameh, near Safed, and studied in Nazareth. After the Nakba, the “birth” of Israel, which he described as an intruder in his life, he became a political activist joining the Israeli Communist Party, before moving to journalism and then devoting himself to writing poetry.
Known as a “resistance poet”, Al-Qasim’s poems were widely embraced across the Arab world as a symbol of steadfastness in the struggle against the occupation.