February 11, 2018

George Abraham

ODE TO MENNEL IBTISSAM SINGING HALLELUJAH ON THE VOICE (FRANCE), TRANSLATED IN ARABIC

to be read from right to left, after Marwa Helal

(click the poem to enlarge)

from Poets Respond
February 11, 2018

[download audio]

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George Abraham: “This poem is an ode to Mennel Ibtissam, an Arab, Muslim singer who auditioned for The Voice (France) this past week with enormous success, singing an Arabic translation of ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. As the week progressed and Mennel’s audition video went viral, Zionist websites harassed and stalked her personal social media accounts and found pro-Palestinian posts written in the midst of Israel’s bombing of Gaza during the summer of 2014, when over 2,000 Palestinians were slaughtered. Due to the targeted, anti-Arab backlash to Mennel’s views, she withdrew from the competition on Friday, despite being one of the top contenders. The poem is written as a double golden shovel, based on lyrics from ‘Hallelujah,’ written in Marwa Helal’s invented form, The Arabic, because it is the only way I can express my feelings, being a Palestinian-American watching the world tear Mennel apart for being a successful Arab who refuses to be silenced.” (web)

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