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Articles tagged "Israeli-palestinian Conflict"

from “Almost Dead”

I climbed aboard the Little No. 5 as I did every morning on my way to work. “Little No. 5” is what I call the minibus-sized cab which follows the route of the No. 5 bus. It’s actually a cross between a bus and a cab. You get the best of both worlds—the familiar route and the cheapness of the bus, but they’ve got the speed of a cab and you can hail them and get off where you like. And since there are bombs all the time, I only ever took Little No. 5s to work...

from “Farm 54”

Image description

Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar map a soldier's first evacuation

The graphic novel Farm 54 brings together three semi-autobiographical stories from the childhood, puberty, and early adulthood (military service years) of its female protagonist, growing up in Israel’s rural periphery in the 1970s and 1980s. The stories present the disturbing underground dimensions of adolescence, and the dangers and traumas that subvert the superficial tranquility of youth in the countryside. While these Israeli childhood stories take place in the shadow of war and...

The Soul Mate

My only son has a soul mate I'm not fond of. But what can I do? They bonded in the army, and although they've been out for a while now, the ties have only grown stronger. Is such a friendship like a camel in the desert, drawing nourishment from its own hump? Does it persist only by force of their shared army experience, or does it draw sustenance from any new sources? What is it about this friendship that threatens me? My son's soul mate is a civilized creature, gentle and...

Only Connect

"Only connect," E.M. Forster famously advised novelistsóand this is the governing principle of the International Writing Program, which brings the writers of the world to the University of Iowa for three-month residencies. In retrospect, the IWP, as it is known, was a natural outgrowth of the Writers' Workshop, and yet at the time it seemed, in the words of its co-founder, Paul Engle, "the craziest idea" he had ever heard. The IWP was the brainstorm of the Chinese novelist Nieh...

Nora in Wonderland

Unlike Alice's adventures, Nora's didn't start with the appearance of a late and harried rabbit, checking its waistcoat watch. In fact, hers began immediately after her birth, which was sometime in April 2002. It's safe to assume that she was born in the huge educational compound in Ramallah, under an olive tree or some bushes. On several hundred acres of land surrounded by a high wall on all sides, it accommodates the sleeping quarters and training facilities for young...

Transformations in Palestinian Literature

Leo Tolstoy prefaced his Anna Karenina with the following statement: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Palestinians today are unlucky enough to be counted among the world's leading families of multifarious misery, the Zionist project having transformed them, time and again, into refugees in far-flung places-and also into refugees on the land of Palestine in which they were born. Some of them have had to live through the experience of...

Cinderella

Herzl Haliwa lets out a scream and jerks his head from the pillow in alarm. He comes to his senses very quickly—this had happened before—and lies still, gently inhaling and exhaling. Trying to quiet his thumping heart, he lets the body lying beside him twist a bit and return to the deep sleep of early morning. After making sure that the person—Anna von Something, he couldn't remember at the moment—has drifted back into slumber, he slowly rises from the bed. He...

Elves

Who would of thought that the Katyusha1 would catch me outside? Six years I don't go out. I walk without thinking, house-market-work-house-clinic-work-house-market-house-work. Comes the Katyusha and catches Simona off her path. I put the food on the table for them, the Tuesday couscous with chicken with pumpkin with hummus beans with everything inside. I stand with the Katyushas falling on my head, and what does my head have in it? If they ate the couscous before when the first one...

Time, Place, and Identity in the Literature of the “1948 Region”

A contemporary, retroactive review of the cultural identity of the Palestinian Arabs living inside Israel can form a basis for the critical study of the literary culture of this geographic area that is also known as the 1948 Region. The 1948 Region is delineated by a specific historical juncture and the momentous events related to it, which has had a pervasive, divisive, and acute influence not only on the culture of the Palestinians inside Israel-who are often referred to as Palestinians...

Mordechai’s Mustache and His Wife’s Cats

Mordechai is a simple person, like tens of thousands of others in Tel Aviv (though he would insist that there are few like him there). He enjoys living his easy and comfortable life, gives no one grief, and no one gives him grief. That's why Mordechai's neighbors like him: he doesn't hassle them. Mordechai was in the army, and after his discharge he continued to see himself as a soldier-as indeed he was, in the reserves. He has held many different jobs, simple trades...

Diary

Mahmoud Darwish has recently begun a diary: a daily record of reflections, observations, and intimate personal commentary on the ordinary life of Palestinians today. The following sections were among fourteen published in the Summer/Winter 2006 edition of Al Karmel, the Palestinian literary Journal Darwish edits. Enemy I was there a month ago I was there a year ago I was there always, as if I had never been anywhere else In the year '82 of the last century something happened to...

The Shoes

Perhaps it is merely a clever joke, but it has become a story, everybody's story. No one knew why Nizar insisted on going to Ramallah. The situation is not encouraging—the military checkpoints, the humiliations, the grueling walk through the hills and over the barriers made of dirt. Nevertheless, with a laborer's determination, Nizar insisted: There is a problem that must be resolved in Ramallah. He must go. "I will bear the burden of the road . . . we've grown...

Is This Home?

In the days prior to my return I had decided to assume a cool demeanor and contemplate my country as a tourist might, and not as a rapturous and homesick returnee. I wanted to hold the moment in my hands, examine it, and write up the experience. And I wanted to minimize, to the extent possible, any emotional entanglement on my part, so that I could see things clearly. I've gotten tired of emotional entanglement . . . My entire life has been full of that. Now I am an old man who wants...

from Gate of the Sun

What should I say about Umm Hassan? Should I mention the tears, or the memories, or say nothing? Seated in the backseat of the little blue Volkswagen, she was looking out the window and seeing nothing. "We're here," said Fawzi. Her brother got out of the car and held out his hand to help her out. Umm Hassan moved her stout body forward but couldn't raise her head. She seemed unable to do so, as though her breasts were pulling her down toward the ground. She was bent over...

from Étoile Errante

Set first in the village of Saint-Martin in southeast France, then in the refugee camp of Nour Chams, Étoile Errante (Wandering Star) tells the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath of World War II: Esther, a French Jew who flees for Jerusalem with her mother, Elizabeth, just before the German occupation; and Nejma, a young Arab orphaned and unable to return to the ancient city of her birth, Akka, after the Israeli declaration of statehood. The following...

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