Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Maya and Me


The great Maya Angelou died earlier this week at the age of 86. In 1978 she wrote a wonderful poem titled Still I Rise that beautifully narrated the African-American experience.

Shortly before my trial in 2005 and while in solitary confinement I wrote a response poem titled We Shall Rise drawing a parallel between the African-American and Palestinian struggles.

At the time I was gratified to know that my late attorney Bill Moffit gave Dr. Angelou a copy of the poem which she appreciated very much.

Here it is given below for anyone who appreciates poetry. May the souls of Dr. Angelou and Bill rest in peace.

May God have mercy on them and all of us.


by Sami Al-Arian

To Maya Angelou

Like the dream of the slave
You rise
And with the scream of the brave
I shall rise

In honoring the memory of your ancestors
You rise
With my stateless brothers and sisters
I shall rise

Like dust in the sunlight
You rise
And as ashes in a fiery night
I shall rise

You offend
Because of your existence
And I
For my resistance

You upset them
Recalling their past
And I
By holding steadfast

They may trod you in dirt
May cause me all the hurt
Inflict upon you excruciating pain
While they shut me up and detain
But they won’t see you broken
Neither would my faith be forsaken

As you’ve never bowed your head
And never lowered your eyes
I’ll continue to raise my fist
And hide my mother’s cries

They may shoot you with their words
Cut me up with their swords
They may insult you with their eyes
Denigrate me with their lies
Trying to kill you with their hate
Bury me alive to seal my fate

But they’d certainly
Be shamed and fail
As the free chant and sing
On their march to prevail

So keep your head held high
As I follow you and try
And keep your beautiful smile
As I walk my first mile

They’ll pressure and blame
Throw us in prison to control and tame
They’ll exile and defame
Lynch us all or shoot and maim
Burn crosses with no shame
Target our children in a dirty game

By why is that a surprise?
Despite their evil and terror
Their falsehood and lies
You shall rise
And I shall rise

You’re the black ocean
Leaping and wide
I’m the Mediterranean
With a stormy tide
Staying together
Side by side

It’s no surprise
We shall rise
Surely shall rise
We together shall rise

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 20, 2016
Eric Draitser
Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Extreme Unction: Illusions of Democracy in Vegas
Binoy Kampmark
Digital Information Warfare: WikiLeaks, Assange and the US Presidential Elections
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Bogus History Lesson
Bruce Mastron
Killing the Messenger, Again
Anthony DiMaggio
Lesser Evil Voting and Prospects for a Progressive Third Party
Ramzy Baroud
The Many ‘Truths’ on Syria: How Our Rivalry Has Destroyed a Country
David Rosen
Was Bill Clinton the Most Sexist President?
Laura Carlsen
Plan Colombia, Permanent War and the No Vote
Aidan O'Brien
Mao: Monster or Model?
David Swanson
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Less Than Two Weeks
Victor Grossman
Suicides and Hopes and Fears
October 19, 2016
Dan Schiller – Shinjoung Yeo
The Silicon Valley Candidate
Mike Whitney
Trump Unchained
Paul Buhle
Criminalizing the Struggle: Incarceration and the Rise of the Neoliberal State
Linn Washington Jr.
Abusing the Abused: Philly Police Abuse Case Typifies All-Too-Common Misconduct by US Prosecutors
Terry Tempest Williams - Brooke Williams
Rejected by the BLM
Binoy Kampmark
Neither War Nor Peace: Shimon Peres, Israel and History
Patrick Cockburn
This Battle for Mosul Will Not Be the Last
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau Bullying on Trade Deal
Thomas Mountain
Revolutionary Islam and Regime Change in Ethiopia
Serge Halimi – Benoît Bréville
The Limits of Eloquence: the Failures of Barack Obama
Mel Gurtov
America’s Dangerous Moment
Jerry Kroth
Questions for Obama Before Leaving Office
Michael Garrity
America is a Nation of Laws: Collaboration and Its Discontents
October 18, 2016
Srećko Horvat
The Cyber-War on Wikileaks
Zoltan Grossman
Stop the Next President From Waging the Next War
Jim Kavanagh
Hillary’s Hide-and-Seek
Robert Fisk
After Mosul Falls, ISIS will Flee to Syria. Then What?
Ted Rall
The 4 Things Hillary Could Do To Close the Deal Against Trump
Pepe Escobar
Why Hillary Clinton is a Bigger Concern for China than Donald Trump
Colin Todhunter
World Wide Fund for Nature: Stop Greenwashing Capitalism, Start Holding Corporations to Account
David Macaray
Whiskey Workers Go on Strike: I’ll Drink to That
James A Haught
After the Election, Back to Important Things
Arturo Desimone
How a Selective Boycott Can Boost External Support for Palestinians
Russell Mokhiber
If Chris Wallace Asks About Street Crime He Should Also Ask About Corporate Crime
Mark Kernan
Moloch in Paris: on the Anniversary of COP21
Carol Dansereau
The Hillary Push: Manipulation You Can Believe In
Andre Vltchek
Will They Really Try to Kill the President of the Philippines?
Sean Joseph Clancy
The Wreckage of Matthew: Cuba and Haiti
October 17, 2016
Paul Street
Pick Your Poison? Presidential Politics and Planetary Prospects
Patrick Cockburn
US Allies are Funding ISIS (and Hillary Knew All Along)
David Swanson
What Hillary Clinton Privately Told Goldman Sachs
Fran Shor
A Rigged System?