The Poets of Marj al-Zuhur: Poetry as the Psychological, Political, and Ideological Weapon of the Hamas Members Deported to Lebanon in 1992

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Abstract

In December 1992, after the kidnapping and murder of a policeman, Israel deported 415 members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Lebanon. Most were affiliated with the Hamas political apparatus and had not been involved in terrorism. The deportees decided to stay together and set up a camp in Marj al-Zuhur in southern Lebanon. Here they engaged in study and various cultural pursuits—including poetry writing. Roughly a dozen of the deportees wrote poetry. The poems were read aloud at gatherings in the camp and published in the Arab press. Their main function was to raise the residents’ spirits and keep their plight in the public eye. They incorporate the expected political messages: anger at Israel and criticism of the international community, the Palestinian leadership, and the Arab states, which were prodded to work harder for the deportees’ return. The poetry was part of a successful media and information campaign, which annoyed Israel so much that it allowed all the deportees to return home by December 1993. Some of the poems were later published and helped cultivate the myth of the Marj al-Zuhur deportation, which Hamas viewed as a victory and symbol of steadfast resistance to Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-179
Number of pages23
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Volume28
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jul 2014
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Counterterrorism policy
  • Hamas
  • Hamas/palestine liberation organization (PLO) relations
  • Palestinian-israeli conflict
  • Terrorism

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