In Praise of Fairuz

by Mark Chmiel

While on my walk
The soft, tender voice of Fairuz was borne to me on the breeze
As if coming from an ethereal howdah:
“One day we shall return to our neighborhood….”
Fairuz’s voice, in songs that sprang from Palestinian sources
Gives me the feeling that our life has stability
That no matter how circumstances scatter us
Our ties to this precious stolen country will remain firmly secure
When I hear her songs about my country
My emotions rise and glow
I see my country as more beautiful than it actually is
I love it more than I ever have
I sense the tragedy of its loss as I have never felt it before
I love every face I see in its streets and ancient marketplaces
Its shops, schools, factories and fields
I experience the sense of belonging to something
Even if it has been lost
When I listen to Fairuz’s voice in her Palestinian songs
The sun shines in my heart and I realize that night exists on the outside only

–Adapted from Fadwa Tuqan, A Mountainous Journey

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