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Mahmoud Darwish Office

Mahmoud Darwish Office

We still maintain Mahmoud Darwish’s office in the center exactly how it was when he left, and it’s open for visitation under the team’s supervision.

When Mahmoud Darwish moved to Ramallah in 1997 to re-launch al-Carmel Literary Magazine, which he co-edited; he was hosted by Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center. From a room on the first floor, Mahmoud Darwish worked on editing al-Carmel magazine during the last decade before his death. Originally Darwish founded al-Carmel in Beirut in 1981 and then moved to Nicosia in 1982 after the invasion of Beirut.

Fakhri Saleh describes a day in the life of Mahmoud Darwish:

“In Ramallah, he wakes up at 8am and gets ready to go to al-Carmel magazine, whose office is located at Khalil Sakakini Center and doesn’t exceed a ten-minute walk from his house. At 10:00 am in his office he meets his friends whom are writers, intellectuals, and politicians and whoever else desires to meet up with him. His office at Sakakini Cultural Center was more of a forum where he exchanged ideas and news with his visitors. But he spent most of his time editing many articles and material he received to get published at al-Carmel, where it gets printed in Ramallah and is distributed in Palestine, and then in Amman, Jordan and the Arab World.”

(Fakhri Saleh, in besieged Ramallah, a day in the life of Mahmoud Darwish, al-Hayat Newspaper, March 6, 2002).

Poem: “He sees himself as absent”

In this poem Mahmoud Darwish describes an evening at Sakakini Cultural Center:

I’ve been here for ten years, and this evening

I sit in the small garden on a plastic chair

And look at the place, dazzled with the red stone.

Counting the number of steps leading to my room

On the second floor, eleven steps. 

To the right, you’ll find the big fig tree 

Providing shadow for the peach trees

And to the left, you’ll find the Lutheran Church. And on the side

Of the stone stairs is a deserted well and rusty bucket and flowers 

Unwatered and looking to absorb drops of milk of the night’s beginning  

I’m here, with forty people, to watch a small play

That talks about curfew, and its forgotten heroes are spread

In the garden, on the stairs and wide balcony 

An improvised play, or still being written 

Just like our lives. I look into the open window of my room

And wonder: am I really there? 

I like to roll the question on the stairs,

And include it in the play: in the last chapter

Everything will remain the same …

The fig tree in the garden. The Lutheran Church

On the opposite side. 

Sunday in its right spot of the calendar. The abandoned well and the rusty bucket.

As for me, I will not be in my room nor in

the garden. As the text requires: Someone must be absent

As to ease the heavy load of the place!

Sat ‒ Wed: 10am ‒ 07pm
Thu, Fri. Closed