Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died yesterday from heart surgery complications in Houston at age 67, the Los Angeles Times reports. Considered Palestine’s unofficial poet laureate, Darwish penned the territory’s symbolic Declaration of Independence in 1988 and depicted life under Israeli rule in his work. "He was the Palestinian conscience," a Palestinian MP told the Daily Telegraph.
After his first poetry book was published in 1960, officials repeatedly imprisoned Darwish for his writing and activism. He exiled himself to a perpipatetic life in 1970 but continued to write about homeland. Both a member and critic of the PLO during his lifetime, Darwish returned to Ramallah to give a reading last year and drew enormous crowds. President Mahmoud Abbas has declared 3 days of mourning.