File - Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim reads a poem during a literary evening in Tunis, September 24, 2008. AFP /Fethi Belaid
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"I hope I could have more time to write love poems only, because I feel it, and I want it, and I need it," lamented Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim in a 2007 National Public Radio interview.Qasim died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 75 . Qasim was born in 1939 in Al-Zarqa in northern Jordan, where his father served in the Arab Legion.His family did not flee Rameh during the Nakba, the Palestinian "Catastrophe" that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948 . In his book "About Principles and Art," Qasim explained that the Nakba remained the founding event of his career. Much of Qasim's work relates to the impact of the Nakba on day-to-day life and the broader Arab struggle against foreign influence.According to the late novelist Ghassan Kanafani, a poem of Qasim's about Israeli border guards' massacre of '48 Palestinian villagers in the town of Kafr Qasim in October 1956 was "memorized throughout the whole Galilee".The poet was jailed several times for his advocacy for Palestinian rights and dissent against Israeli policies – the first time in 1960, for refusing to enlist in the Israeli army, as expected of Israeli Druze.
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