Never in his life
Did he read or write.
Never did he fell a tree
Or stab a cow.
Never did he talk about the New York Times
Behind its back.
Never did he raise his voice to anyone
Except to say:
“Welcome! Tafaddal!
By God, I won’t take no for an answer!”

And in spite of all this?
His case is hopeless.
His situation is desperate,
And his rights nothing but a grain of salt
That fell into the ocean.

Gentlemen!
My client knows nothing about his enemy.
And I promise you
That if he had bumped into the Star Trek crew
He would have served them fried eggs
And fresh labna, straight from the dripping linen bag.

Translated by Smadar Lavie and Anton Shammas [from Mifgash/Liqa’ 2 (1985)]

How to cite this article:

Taha Muhammad Ali "‘Abd al-Hadi Fights the Big Superpower," Middle East Report 164-165 (May/June 1990).
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