Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mornings in Jenin by Susan AbulHawa

Whether you’re already a strong supporter of the Palestinian issue, a distant sympathizer, a neutral by-stander who doesn’t care much for either sides, or even if you’re a hard core Zionist, I dare you to read this book

Susan Abulhawa has skillfully weaved a tapestry of heritage, love, pain, injustice, hope, despair, violence, tenderness, cruelty, and sacrifice that will force you to re-examine all your comfort-zone ideas and beliefs.

We all know the recent history of the region, and most of us might not need or want to be reminded of it or of the major events that lead to and followed the creation of Israel, yet Abulhawa, ever so softly & skillfully, retells this history from an extremely humane perspective.

Through the lives of four generations of the AbulHeja family, we see how a typical farming family, defined by the abundance of love and the deep connection to the land, is suddenly and literally uprooted from the land and lifestyle it has know for forty generations, into a brutal and arid life of displacement and refugee camps.

And while it’s true that the men in subsequent generations of AbulHeja are the ones who disappear or are killed because they the main target of the Zionist military might, or because they are expected to carry arms in defense of the women, children and the elderly, yet the real suffering is experienced by the women who are repeatedly left alone to care for themselves and their children under the most brutal of conditions.

I must warn you though; this book will not only make you cry it will make you itsha7tef (an Egyptian word meaning not being able to stop crying for six months).

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