Toronto protest: “If I get hungry, I eat the flesh of my usurper”

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Nakba Day protest in Toronto 18 May 2019. Photo: JCPA.ORG

On May 18, 2019 a pro-Palestinian demonstration titled “Nakba 71: Cross-Canada Day of Action” took place at Toronto Dundas Square. For more information about its organizers, endorsements and messages click here.

During the demonstration, the poem “ID Card” by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish was broadcast over the PA system provided by the organizers.

Here are the lyrics of the poem (translated from Arabic by Salman Hilmy):

ID Card

Write down:

I am an Arab.

My ID card number is 50,000.

My children: eight

And the ninth is coming after the summer.

Are you angry?


Write down:

I am an Arab.

I work with my toiling comrades in a quarry.

My children are eight,

And out of the rocks

I draw their bread,

Clothing and writing paper.

I do not beg for charity at your door

Nor do I grovel

At your doorstep tiles.

Does that anger you?


Write down:

I am an Arab,

A name without a title,

Patient in a country where everything

Lives on flared-up anger.

My roots…

Took firm hold before the birth of time,

Before the beginning of the ages,

Before the cypress and olives,

Before the growth of pastures.

My father…of the people of the plow,

Not of noble masters.

My grandfather, a peasant

Of no prominent lineage,

Taught me pride of self before reading of books.

My house is a watchman’s hut

Of sticks and reed.

Does my status satisfy you?

I am a name without a title


Write down:

I am an Arab.

Hair coal-black,

Eyes brown,

My distinguishing feature:

On my head a koufiyah topped by the igal,

And my palms, rough as stone,

Scratch anyone who touches them.

My address:

An unarmed village—forgotten—

Whose streets are nameless,

And all its men are in the field and quarry.

Are you angry?


Write down:

I am an Arab

Robbed of my ancestors’ vineyards

And of the land cultivated

By me and all my children.

Nothing is left for us and my grandchildren

Except these rocks…

Will your government take them too, as reported?


Write at the top of page one:

I do not hate people,

I do not assault anyone,

But…if I get hungry,

I eat the flesh of my usurper.

Beware…beware…of my hunger,

And of my anger.

To read Salman Hilmy’s article “ID Card” by Mahmoud Darwish— A Translation and Commentary” click here.