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    A Peace Poem from Egypt: Chained Wings (The Palestinian Song)

    Text: Solveig Hansen

    Mahinour TawfikLike IFLAC, Mahinour Tawfik contributed with her poetry to the International Day of Peace, celebrated every year on September 21.

    Mahinour Tawfik is a 22 year old medical student from Egypt who studies to become a psychiatrist. She is also a poet with a powerful voice. “As a medical student I believe, as medicine heals bodies, poetry cures souls,” she says.

    Thank you for sharing this poem with us, Mahinour! We always welcome young, strong voices of peace on our site.


    (The Palestinian Song)

    By Mahinour Tawfik, 2015

    Silenced with chained wings
    Humming in agony, the world assumes I sing

    Long ago,
    I opened my eyes to the heaven of Palestine,
    Flew across its rivers and seas,
    Beholding the gold and emeralds beneath
    Danced with the moon, my first kiss was the skies,
    Sang with the Olive trees hasting the sunrise

    Until the last time,
    I was flying across Tiberias Sea
    Chanting my favorite song Fe-da-ee “فدائي”
    “Patriot”, the anthem of Palestine
    Almost finished it but didn’t have the chance
    All became nothing, in a long painful glance

    When lightning struck me down,
    Before the thunder thrashes
    To find the remnants of home underneath the ashes
    To see my parents’ corpses in the claws of vultures
    I can still hear their screams; can still sense their torture

    Since then, Rivers have flooded with mourners’ tears
    Oceans have sunken beneath bloods of martyrs
    The Dead Sea became The Sea of the dead
    The zephyr suffocated and the skies bled

    The olive trees lost leaf by leaf
    Their aroma amalgamated with pain and grief
    The sun parted,
    Leaving millions brokenhearted
    Still, petrified to rise
    To shine upon another massacre, witness another demise

    Silenced with chained wings
    Humming in agony, the world assumes I sing
    Will my wings be emancipated,
    Fly in the paradise across Gaza, Jerusalem
    Across the West back, without being devastated
    Searching for it underneath the tombs
    Watching innocents conveyed to their dooms
    Knowing that the next, is the one in my womb

    Will I regain my plundered voice?
    Sing “The Palestinian Song” again
    But for once, without its agonizing refrain?

    Silenced with chained wings
    Crying for Humanity, for conscience
    For mercy and for justice
    Still, the world assumes I sing
    Until my wings can break the chains
    Until my voice can sing again,
    I pray listeners by then
    Be less human and more humane

    © Mahinour Tawfik


    5 Comments on “A Peace Poem from Egypt: Chained Wings (The Palestinian Song)”

    1. Arshad Akhtar says:

      Lovely 🙂 …


      • adaaharoni06 says:


        The poem is moving but it does not help the Palestinians to reach peace and only perpetuates their feeling that they are the only victims of the Arab Israeli Conflict, which is of course not true. There were more Jews who were thrown out or fled in fear from Arab countries than Palestinians who listened to their Mufti in 1948 and fled from Israel.
        I myself was born in Egypt and in 1949 we were forced to leave. There were 100.000 Jews in the Jewish Community in Egypt then, and to day there are only 10 old Jewish women left in the whole of Egypt! Poets have to show the way to peace between Palestinians and israelis, and how to reach a Peace Treaty that would satisfy both sides, like hte Treaties between Egypt and Israel, and Jordan and Israel. PEACE Poets should help to UNCHAIN WINGS and not perpetuate their chaining.

        Ada Aharoni


    2. Posted by Solveig Hansen, IFLAC Web Editor says:

      We received this comment from Hilarie Roseman:

      I write this comment with the face of an Australia Aboriginal in front of me. He is crying. The Government have given him, and his tribe, part of their original land to care for and regenerate. In his face I see the hope that Mahinour Tawfik is writing about, the hope of her land regenerated with humanity, conscience, mercy and justice. She seems to be blown in the wind, seeing things from afar, but with her wings chained. She is, in another way, the wind of change herself.

      The winds of change have taken a long time to blow for the Aboriginals in Australia. For over two hundred years they have suffered under the rule of white people who have ruined their land for profit…and sometimes just for sheer laziness and convenience. I remember trying to get some help to rehabilitate the beautiful waters of the East Gippsland Lakes. My granddaughter had been taken ill because she had swum in them. And those in power just brushed me off. There was no way forward.

      It was a different scenario with openly acknowledging the massacres of Aboriginals in the area. Their bones and skulls were buried in the silt, and sometimes caught in the fishermen’s nets. I set out to paint a narrative to show that, even if the white people had forgotten what they had done, the land had not. The land itself keeps the history and the blood of yesterday. The spirits of those who suffered and have not been buried, wait. The paintings were exhibited, and in due course engendered enough energy for the Bishop to come down and say ”sorry”. “Why has it taken so long” he said, “to say sorry?”

      Indeed, we can echo the same question, “Why does it take so long to say “sorry”? What can we do to bring a sense of responsibility and hope, mercy and justice. It is the artists and the poets like Mahinour Tawfik who will speak from the heart and pave the way for repentance and reconciliation. Our wings will be unchained, and we can construct a lasting peace.

      Hilarie Roseman PhD 28th September, 2015


    3. ed leonard says:

      The plea for peace, the lament for what has been lost, and the hunger for unbridled openness is very well expressed by this young Palestinian. I pray that all who read it can see this in the spirit in which it is given and not be clouded by anger and prejudice. Peace and Love to all.

      Liked by 1 person

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