The acclaimed Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti was in Delhi recently for a series of events organised by the publishers Women Unlimited. Writer Githa Hariharan spoke to Mourid Barghouti on how literature, and poetry in particular, challenges authoritarian discourse around the world. Barghouti discusses the fine balance between the writer’s primary identity as an artist, and the inevitable relationship with politics. “Palestine does not need a bad poem,” he says. To Hariharan’s question, “What does Palestinian identity mean?” Barghouti replies, “It means a lot of lost meanings.” But this must not mean Palestinians should be seen as a problem: “We are not a problem; we have a problem,” he says. He concludes by reading a poem about the wish of oppressed people everywhere: the freedom to get on with the business of day-to-day life.