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When I Stoop: A poem for Mahmoud al-Sarsak

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One poem for Mahmoud al-Sarsak, the prisoner who imprisoned his jailer.

Mahmoud al-Sarsak

The walls of my prison

Whisper to me;

They tell me stories of people who were here

Of people who lived here.

There was the weak

And there was the old.

There was the child.

There was the lady.

They were here,

But now they are there.


In my prison, I talk to the walls

And they to me talk

That one day I will walk:

One day my jailer will stoop

At my feet

To unlock the chains.

It does not matter why

But he will stoop.


Inside my prison I draw my future

With minute details.

On the other side of the wall

(Behind the bars)

Sits the jailer.

As he turns back

And looks me in the eye,

He pours mountains of boredom

And let’s loose of a sigh.

I look back and smile.

He clears his throat

Blinks once then twice

And moves his lips.

I walk away

And give him my back.

I smile again

Winking at the wall.

‘See,’ it tells me

‘I know,’ I reply,

And bend down

And shake my chains.

The look in his face,

The fear in his eyes

Both make my day.


Inside my prison,

I also stoop,

But when I do,

I stoop to conquer.

Refaat Alareer
About Refaat Alareer

Refaat Alareer is a young academic and writer from Gaza who blogs at You can follow him on twitter at @ThisisGaza.

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3 Responses

  1. Mustafa Afana
    Mustafa Afana on July 25, 2012, 12:42 pm

    wonderful !

    “Inside my prison,

    I also stoop,

    But when I do,

    I stoop to conquer.”

  2. Mndwss
    Mndwss on July 25, 2012, 4:27 pm

    I put out comments in several papers here in Norway when Sarsak won.

    Almost all on sport pages.

    I called israel the only nazi-regime in the ME.

    And i was shocked.

    Almost all agreed.


    Til ettertanke:

    Sarsak vant i dag.

    Eric Cantona vant i dag.

    Sarsak’s willingness to die gains him freedom after 92 days of hunger strike:

    92 dager med sultestreik mot det eneste nazi regimet i midøsten lønner seg…

    men bare fordi UEFA ville fått problemer med å arrangere U21 i israel neste år dersom israel lot Sarsak dø….

  3. ritzl
    ritzl on July 25, 2012, 8:22 pm

    Sarsak made a difference. I hope he regains his health and plays for Palestine again.

    Thoughts and prayers for those still hunger-striking. What a terrible price Israel extracts for a couple of months less of something that shouldn’t have happened (be happening) in the first place.

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