The First Person


Iqbal Tamimi returns to the Spotlight with a poem she wrote after meeting Mariane Pearl, the author of A Mighty Heart who lost her husband, journalist and reporter Daniel Pearl when he was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan.

The First Person

for Mariane Pearl

by Iqbal Tamimi


Freedom is a wild child

Cresting pandemonium,

Looting opportunities.


I’m unfolding myself in difficult-to-access pockets

Until the winds calm down.

Crucified many times under the sun,

I lack enough fingers to count

the many times I was blindfolded by pain.

Pain burrowed into my lungs

While I was sniffing the streets to find my way home.

Pain’s wall was erected in my throat.

My songs used to wander in a land free of barriers,

Uninhibited by road blocks,

Until my kingdom was built against his chest.

Once, I was me

And my voice never bounced off walls.

But now it is hard to be detained

between the cell and the sea.

The bird of his eye

Was fluttering its wings

Whenever my dawn torn the shirt of his night.

Have I been falling intensely in love … was it insecurity?

Or merely the masked face of slavery!



I had a discussion with the brave journalist Mariane Pearl about women, loss and journalism. This poem is the part of the conversation that we did not manage to finish when she kissed my cheek in a hurry while dragging her suitcase towards the lift to catch her plane. Please read about Mariane and the way she lost her husband while she was still pregnant.

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