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Out of Gaza: new anthology includes poems by two Palestinian poets killed by bombings

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A new anthology about Gaza which includes poems by two poets who have been killed during intensive Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave - in response to atrocities committed by the Palestinian group Hamas - has been published by Smokestack Books. The anthology, Out of Gaza, includes poems by university professor and writer Reefat Alareer and poet and novelist Hiba Abu Nida. Both wrote poems and posted them on social media shortly before they were killed. 

The poem by Reefat Alareer, ‘If I Must Die’, was widely shared on social media before and after his death.

Sources including the independent human rights organisation Euro-Med Monitor have said that he and his family were deliberately targeted by an IDF 'surgical bomb' that struck their apartment.

In the introduction, the anthology’s co-editor Atef Alshaer, a senior lecturer in Arabic and cultural studies at the University of Westminster, writes: “This poetry does not represent ‘recollection in tranquillity’ as William Wordsworth defined poetry. Rather, it emanates from a place of urgency and struggle to stay and record life amidst acts of destruction.”

He goes on to say that “many Palestinian poets of Gaza, women and children, have perished” during the Israeli bombardment.

Fellow anthology editor Alan Morrison adds: “It is significant that most of the contributors to this anthology are poets of the Palestinian diaspora who, by dint of residing in other countries (the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway and Egypt among them), are better placed than their Gazan contemporaries to be able to write about the ongoing Palestinian catastrophe. The notable exception in this book is Mosab Abu Toha, a survivor of Gaza, who was able to eventually escape the Strip after having been detained by the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] during which time he was beaten, and whose release came about due to mounting international pressure.”

At least 30,410 Palestinians have been killed and 71,700 injured during four months of bombardment by Israel on Gaza since 7 October 2023, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Sunday. in the 7 October attack by Hamas on southern Israel, 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed.



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