The revolutions of the Arab Spring gave a new lease of life to an enormously popular poem by Palestinian-Israeli poet and activist Tawfiq Zayyad. ‘I Call on You’ had previously been set to music by the Lebanese musician Marcel Khalifeh. Now a new generation of Arabs addressed the poem to the masses in the streets.

I call on you
I clasp your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
And I say: I offer my life for yours
I give you the light of my eyes
as a present
and the warmth of my heart
The tragedy I live
is but my share of your tragedies
I call on you
I clasp your hands
I was not humiliated in my homeland
Nor was I diminished
I stood up to my oppressors
orphaned, nude, and barefoot
I carried my blood in my palm
I never lowered my flags
I guarded the green grass
over my ancestor’s graves
I call on you
I clasp your hands

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