Rifqa is Palestinian poet Mohammed El-Kurd's ode to his late grandmother, and to the Palestinian struggle for liberation. 'Jerusalem is ours.'
Rifqa is Mohammed El-Kurd's debut collection of poetry, written in the tradition of Ghassan Kanafani's Palestinian Resistance Literature. The book narrates the author's own experience of dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah--an infamous neighborhood in Jerusalem, Palestine, whose population of refugees continues to live on the brink of homelessness at the hands of the Israeli government and US-based settler organizations. The book, named after the author's late grandmother who was forced to flee from Haifa upon the genocidal establishment of Israel, makes the observation that home takeovers and demolitions across historical Palestine are not reminiscent of 1948 Nakba, but are in fact a continuation of it: a legalized, ideologically-driven practice of ethnic cleansing.
About the Author
Mohammed El-Kurd is an internationally-touring poet and writer from Jerusalem, Palestine. His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Nation, This Week In Palestine, Al-Jazeera English, and the forthcoming Vacuuming Away Fire anthology, among others. Mohammed graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Writing, where he created Radical Blankets, an award-winning multimedia poetry magazine. He is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Poetry from Brooklyn College. His poetry-oud album, Bellydancing On Wounds, was released in collaboration with Palestinian musical artist Clarissa Bitar. Apart from poetry and writing, el-Kurd is a visual artist, printmaker, and most recently, co-designer of a fashion collection with Serbian designer Tina Gancev. Mohammed has spent his undergraduate weekends performing poetry at campuses and cultural centers across the United States and hopes to continue in the post-COVID-19 era.