Mourid Barghouti: Leading Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti dies aged 76

By Sebastian Usher
BBC Arab affairs editor

Published
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mourid Barghouti was a long-serving representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation

Leading Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has died at the age of 76.

He was born four years before the state of Israel was created in a village near Ramallah.

He spent much of his life in one form or other of exile - which he recounted in the memoir I Saw Ramallah that won him an international audience.

The memoir was described by his fellow Palestinian writer Edward Said as one of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement.

Born in 1944, Barghouti was studying in the Egyptian capital Cairo when the 1967 Arab-Israeli war broke out.

He did not return to his birthplace for another 30 years. His sense of being forever uprooted was examined in I Saw Ramallah but also in many of the poems he published in 12 collections as he moved between countries.

He was a long-serving Palestine Liberation Organisation representative but kept his distance from political parties.

He settled in Cairo with his Egyptian wife Radwa Ashour - herself an author who translated many of his poems into English, including these lines: "After the death of the horseman/The homeward-bound horse/Says everything/Without saying anything."

Media caption,
The BBC’s Paul Adams went to a camp in Beirut to meet the Palestinian refugees who still can't go home