If the Olive Tree Knew

Translation / Interpretation / Caption Text

Arabic translation: If the olive tree knew [what was happening to] its planter, its oil would become tears

The caption for this poster is likely derived from a poem by Mahmoud Darwish:

لو يذكر الزيتون غارسه

لصار الزيت دمعا !

يا حكمة الأجداد

لو من لحمنا نعطيك درعا !

According to Rochelle Davis and Tamim Barghouti the publishers of this poster, the Palestinian Peasants Union, likely made an error in transcription, substituting the word "know" for the word "remember". The tense of the verb has also been changed thereby altering the meter of the poem.

Curator's note: Another possibility is that the publishers knowingly altered, i.e., "remixed" the poem to serve some unknown, arcane objective.

This image has become iconic in Palestinian visual culture.


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