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.

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).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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