It was so amazing to get out of Boise this past weekend and be around people who feed my soul. I don’t think it’s possible for me to let one year to pass without seeing Laila. There is always good energy–synergy–between us. And telephone conversations or email doesn’t cut it. It has to be face to face–sharing ideas about poetry, activism, intellectual ideas. And it’s not just Laila. Everyone I’ve ever met through her is equally as sustaining and amazing. From Fadi to Rosie and everyone in between–even just a slight 24 hour period is so beneficial to my soul.
It is because of Laila that I was able to meet and interview Suheir Hammad this weekend. Hammad is this generation’s June Jordan. Her poetry packs as much of a punch as Jordan ever did. She makes similar connections and dislodges the way that the hegemonic powers coopt language. Hammad’s poetry is deeply inspirational and is also food for the soul; hearing or reading her poetry always makes me want to keep up the fight to end the occupation of Palestine. On the home front, her poetry also inspires me to want to help Rosie and all of the s*&^ that’s hitting the fan at Columbia University right now. The attacks on Dr. Joseph Massad and Dr. Rashid Khalidiare so uncalled for. I cannot believe that someone cannot call Israel what it is, racist, and be attacked for it on a college campus. Look at the facts; compare it to South Africa–are there any real, substantive differences? Read Jonathan Cook’s outstanding article from Al-Ahram last summer on Democratic Racism. I wish I could do something to help. They need some progressive Jews to speak out against this Daniel Pipes-esque smear campaign that is deeply hurtful, uninformed, and completely hypocritical.