“I see and my heart is never lying
A spirit full of elegance and greatness
I see majesty, light and an angle
A face greeting us and smiling.” Hafez Ibrahim
He departed silently and peacefully, smiling, as he was gone to meet the two beloved ones that never left him.
His wound did not heal when his beloved son Faisal, the closest to his soul departed, and when his companion, friend and the love of his life “Issam” left this world.
He loved his country deeply, was honest, cultured and progressive. He was also a shrewd economist, and presented a great example of the man being the woman’s partner, the believer in her rights. He was constantly supporting her in a conservative society not yet accustomed to a woman going out to public work, especially at a young age when mother began her social work in the Arab Women Union Society in Nablus, two years after her marriage. He continued to support her even after her responsibilities increased following her election as the President of the General Union of Palestinian Women in 1965 upon its establishment in Jerusalem.
He was proud of her. He did not hide his admiration for her personality and writings. He supported her in her social and political works, in her literary writings, and in her speeches in national, Arab and international forums.
“I kept encouraging Issam, and cooperating with her, bearing sometimes her absence, when she was on a mission outside the country; as I knew that she was carrying out her national duty the best that is. She is as described by the poet “Fadwa Toukan”: Issam is a lady of words and deeds. I felt great pride, as she recited her speeches and poems, I also felt limitless pleasure and joy, as If I was myself reciting the words.”
I will never forget the deep political debates and the fun of the literary sessions in our house in Nablus. I won’t forget what was written and what she wrote, and the poems they memorised that influenced our love of poetry and Arab literature and taught us the art of poetry recital debate (Munazarah in Arabic).
He lived with poetry, and poetry infiltrated his whole life:
His relationship with poetry started at the age of five, when he was enchanted to hear it from his father, repeating it with his deep voice. Haj “Abdulhadi Abdulhadi” was a poet, a literary, and owns a huge library containing literary and legal books. He was a lawyer, studied in Istanbul, and lived in Beirut, where he worked as governor
“Poetry dwells in my senses, I am enchanted to its tune and recital. Poetry enters the details of my life, and I cannot imagine life without poetry. I memorised poems for “Almutanabi” and some of the poems of “Abi Tammam” , “Buhturi” , “Al-Khansaa” , “Ahmad Shawqi” , “Hafez Ibrahim” , “Abd el Rahim Mahmoud” , “Ibrahim Toukan” , “Abi Salma” , “Alakhtal Alsagheer” , “Muthaffar Al-Nawab” , I loved the poetry of “Nizar Qabbani” , “Mahmoud Darwish” , “Fadwa Touqan” , “Tawfiq Zayad” , “Samih Al Qasim”, “Mourid Barghouti” and “Haidar Mahmoud”
“Poetry is the spirit of God in a poet
One inspires, the other publishes
Three stay sublime as long as I live
Love, poetry and the podium”
Since my early childhood, I have seen and heard my father practicing his political, intellectual and humanitarian convictions, through words and actions. He was a nationalist and a unionist, eager to see the Arab unity achieved.
A special relationship developed between him and the poet “Abdel Rahim Mahmoud”: “He was my teacher at Al Najah National College in Nablus, and I loved him as a poet and as a role model. My teacher highly appreciated me. A special relationship developed between us, and we became friends despite the age difference. We used to go to Alhamuz café to smoke and talk about poetry.”
“Most people heard the timeless wisdom that was set by “Gamal Abdel Nasser,” after the 1967 defeat: “What was taken by force, can only be restored by force,” but what was not heard by many is that the martyr, the poet “Abdel Rahim Mahmoud” came first to this timeless saying, when he emphasized in his poem “Brave People”:
He knew the way to his right
And walked adversities for it
Right will not be restored
Without raising the spears of might
My father believed that the Arab human is a man or a woman. And this is how he was the first to welcome the commander and martyr “Abu Ammar” when he knocked at our door along with his companions in Nablus asking to speak to my mother in 1967 and assign her a specific task. At the time he did not know who the commander was or any of his companions. My mother narrated, within her testimony on the political contribution of women after 1967:
“I remember the visit of brother “Yasser Arafat” to our house in Nablus in 1967, when I welcomed five people at my house that I did not know about, and one started to speak confidently clarifying the reason for their visit: “They sent me from Jerusalem, and they asked me to talk to you. We started forming and assembling ourselves for resistance work. If you’ve seen us competing to death wherever it may find us, you wouldn’t be surprised. And there we are, the first people to see and do something useful to fight occupation, and mitigate its effects”. They told me: we want to collect money for the resistance, and give them to Issam Abdulhadi; she will give them to Rohi el Khatib or to Abdelhamid Alsayeh. We came to you as you represent the Palestinian Women.
We knew later that the house was surrounded by youth from the resistance, seven times.
My husband told me after they left: “Their leader is the one who spoke.” I did not know the name of their leader except when we later saw his picture in one of the American newspapers.”
When my mother was arrested the first time, after “Yasser Arafat’s” visit, early July 1967, my father replied in response to the questioning of the Israeli military governor: “She is collecting alms for the poor”. And he replied when the military governor did not believe him and tried to provoke him; inquiring whether he accepts that his wife receives men in his house in his absence: “I trust my wife, and do not interfere with her work.”
After my deportation with my mother, in 1969 to Amman; my father remained in Nablus, and he was prohibited from traveling for a long time. He was only seen with a frown, and when he was able to get e permit allowing him to travel to Jordan; he smiled unusually and chanted:
“If only Laila would know that today I am her neighbour
My travel is to my country, her home
As I pull my legs they falter
My heart tells me her visit is soon
How am I not to reach Laila, and her fire is sparkling in my heart?
Soon is her visit my dear beloved, as you always used to chant, your tired heart was your guide, so when would the visit of our freed homeland come close so your wishes and all of our wishes would come true?!
Dear compassionate father, the sincere nationalist, my teacher and professor, my wonderful friend. Your presence will remain shining in my memory, and in the memory of our family, friends, loved ones, and your practical, professional humanitarian and national contributions will remain engraved in the hearts of the Palestinian people and their collective memory.