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A Palestinian Poet Has Been Imprisoned For A Poem She Posted On YouTube

Dareen Tatour's poem "Resist, My People, Resist Them" led to her being sentenced to house arrest for almost three years.

Posted on July 31, 2018, at 11:48 a.m. ET

A Palestinian poet has been sentenced to five months in prison, following years of house arrest, after she published a poem on social media.

Dareen Tatour / Facebook

Dareen Tatour, 36, was arrested in 2015 after her poem "Resist, My People, Resist Them" was published on Facebook and later YouTube.

Ammar Awad / Reuters

(You can read a full version — translated into English by Tariq al-Haydar — on ArabLit.)

A 2015 YouTube video of her reading her poem over footage of Palestinian protesters throwing rocks was shared online among activists.

Dareen Tartour / YouTube

The poem contained the following lines:

"I will not succumb to the 'peaceful solution'

Never lower my flags

Until I evict them from my land."

In November 2016 prosecutors charged her with incitement of violence after examining those three lines and the YouTube clip.

But last year, in an interview with Reuters, Tatour said Israeli forces misunderstood the meaning behind her poem. "The point of the poem was to say 'enough.' A person feels for their people. I am of the Palestinian people. I live this struggle and I spoke it through the poem," she said.

She was also charged with support for a terrorist organization, as prosecutors alleged that a second post expressed support for Palestinian jihad, as well as a new Palestinian 'Intifada' (meaning a movement to end what Palestinians see as illegal Israeli occupation of their hereditary lands). A third post showed a young woman caught by security forces with a knife with this caption: "I am the next martyr."

On Tuesday, she was finally sentenced to five months in prison. "I expected prison and that's what happened. I didn't expect justice," the poet said after the sentence according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Stringer . / Reuters

She was imprisoned for 97 days, during which she was shuttled from Kishon Detention Center, Hasharon Prison, and Damon Prison, before she was released on house arrest in January 2016. During that time her connection to the outside world was severely limited, if not cut off entirely. Her internet connection was disabled, and she was initially to wear a electronic tag.

But her poem, which was subsequently translated and republished across the internet, has continued to gain more attention.

Facebook: video.php

Last year, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev posted the clip on her Facebook, denouncing it, which only led to it gaining more notoriety.

Before Tatour's detainment and Regev's post, Israeli news sites noted that the poem had not had much reach.

Since her arrest, Tatour has become an international literary symbol.

Jewish Voice for Peace / Screengrab

More than 300 authors, poets, and writers — like Pulitzer winners Alice Walker and Rae Armantrout, and internationally recognized thinker Naomi Klein — have all signed a petition calling for her freedom.

Responding to the criticism last year, Israel's Ministry of Justice said: "The attempt to present her as an artist, a poet, who merely wrote something innocent distorts the truth."

BuzzFeed News has contacted the Ministry of Justice for further comment.

People have reacted with anger at the sentence and her treatment.

Ben White / Twitter
Mariam Barghouti / Twitter
Muhammad Smiry / Twitter

There was comparison made between Tatour and the Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who was released this week.

Sarah Saleh / Twitter

Speaking after the trial to reporters, Tatour said: "The prosecution was political to begin with because I'm Palestinian, because it's about free speech and I'm imprisoned because I'm Palestinian."

Dareen Tatour / Facebook

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.