print
memri
August 3, 2002 No.
407

National Weekly Arab-American Paper Publishes Poems: 'Yes, I am a Terrorist' and 'Bush is an Ape'

Al-Watan is an Arabic-language "national weekly Arab-American newspaper" published in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, whose mission is to provide Arab and Muslim Americans "with the most current, valuable, reliable, and informative news on political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues, which concern the Arab-American community in their relations with the U.S. society at large… through maintaining a positive relationship with the community... coordinating efforts with Arab and Muslim American organizations to promote the achievements of the community as well as empower them through active involvement through political, media, social, and educational sectors."

Recently, Al-Watan published a series of poems titled, "Yes I am a Terrorist" and, "The Ape," which was accompanied by an image of President George W. Bush together with one of a howling chimpanzee. The poem depicts Bush as an ape worshiped by some Arab leaders. The following are the poems:

Yes, I Am A Terrorist
By Ahmad Matar [1]

The West cries in fear
When I make a toy from a matchbox

While they [the West] make a gallows of my body
Using my nerves for rope.
The West panics when I announce one day
That they have torn my galabia
While it is they who have urged me to be ashamed of my culture
And to announce my joy and my utmost delight
When they violate me.
The West is sorely grieved when I worship
One God in the stillness of the prayer niche[2]

While from the hair of their coattails[3] and the dirt of their shoes
They knead a thousand idols that they set atop the dung heaps made of the titled ones
So that I become their slave
And perform amongst them
The rituals of flies.
And he, they
Will beat me if I announce my refusal.
If I mention among them the fragrance of flowers and grass
They would crucify me
Accusing me of terrorism!
Admirable are all the actions of the West, and of its tails
As for me, as long as I am related to freedom
Everything I do is considered
Terrorism.
***

They have destroyed my world
Let them reap what they have sown.
If on my lips and in the cells of my blood
The globalization of destruction has borne fruit
Here I say it. I write, I draw it
I imprint it upon the forehead of the West
with my wooden shoe:
Yes, I am a terrorist!
An earthquake has its reasons.
If you understand them
You will understand my reasons.
I shall not carry a pen, but my claws
I shall not hone ideas, but my teeth
I shall never be kind,
Until I see the law of the jungle
And all its adherents
Returning to the jungle.
Yes, I am a terrorist
.From now on, I advise any informer
who follows me barking
To clothe himself with a tank
Because I will smash his head in
If one day he knocks at my door.

The Ape
By Nasir Thabet [4]

An ape is ruling this world
From Washington to China.
It doesn't matter,
But
The Arabs make him the prophet of the age.
Prostitution takes many forms.
* * *
The Arabs said: "He will soon become a human being."
I said: "You can count years and centuries."
* * *
They made me lose my temper when they said:
"What a just man!"
I shouted like a madman:
"Does he even know the language of reason and law?"
* * *
He [the ape] told them that day he would deliver his great speech.
They sat [waiting] like children for years in their chairs...
The accursed ape did not come.
They said: "It won't take long, he has reasons that we don't know."
And [still] the accursed ape did not come.
They left all their honor in the toilet
And kept waiting for wisdom [to issue] from the madman.
They abandoned their children, and their subjects' predicament, and their Honor.
But the accursed ape did not come.

Days passed
They were heavier to bear than Sharon.
He said: "The pressure on Zion has intensified."
Is it conceivable that silly children with stones will upset him.
While he [Sharon] is the poor wronged one?
Death to the children of Palestine,
Death to you, all the Arabs of the world.
You should be like mules kicking with joy.
Your honor is cheaper than a can of sardines.
O Arabs of the world,
When Sharon spits on you…
He is the wronged one,
And you – despite your feebleness – you are "terrorists."
They said, with a stupid smile over their mustaches:
"What shall we do with the spittle of your poor, pampered Sharon?"
"Let it be a gift for the holiday, a charity, some debt."
* * *
The [Arab] leaders have been asked:
"Your excellencies, what do you think of the ape's speech?"
They tremble with joy:
"It is most wonderful in its honesty and emotion,
" It is most eloquent in its vocabulary and lofty style.
"Thanks to the accursed ape."


[1] www.watan.com/Kalam43.htm, July 24, 2002.

[2] In Arabic, mihrab – a prayer niche in a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca

[3] That is, the pro-Western Arab leaders.

[4] www.watan.com/adab7.htm, July 17, 2002.