If Mahmoud Darwish wrote the Palestinian Declaration of Independence–where is it?

According to the New York Times obituary for Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish:

Darwish wrote the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, read by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat when he unilaterally declared statehood. The declaration was symbolic and had no concrete significance.

What? Why not?

If you google “mahmoud darwish declaration of independence” you get 5400 hits. Everyone is repeating the phrase all over the blogosphere. But where is the document?

Apparently the document does exist. The book Paradoxial Citizenship says it was translated from Arabic into English by Edward Said. But there is apparently no corresponding constitution.

The last Palestinian statehood rumor went around in 1999. Arafat was mentioning the magic date of May 4, but statehood never happened. Instead 1999 became the year of the second intifada.

Why did Palestine never become independent? Or is Palestine really secretly independent and nobody put it in a history book? Here is some legalese, but it doesn’t make any sense. Somebody explain this to me. I just don’t get it.

Why should you need firm boundaries to have a country? America has changed borders numerous times. First there was the westward expansion, then the Indian wars, after that, the Louisiana purchase, etc, etc, etc. When America declared independence there were exactly 13 colonies. Count ’em, thirteen. What if the international community had said, no, you can’t be a country until you have all fifty states together? We would still be waiting, wouldn’t we. For that matter, what if Israel had waited until all of its ducks were in order and had a complete international consensus about borders before setting up their own state? They would never have made it.

Ah, here is the document. Nov. 15, 1988.

And the U.S. election? Nov. 2, 2008.

I just got a tingly feeling going up my leg.

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Posted in Middle East, Palestine, peace. Tags: , . Comments Off on If Mahmoud Darwish wrote the Palestinian Declaration of Independence–where is it?