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Politics and Palestinian Literature in Exile: Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story
 9781350987531, 9781786731807

Table of contents :
Cover
Author Bio
Soas Palestine Studies
Title
Copyright
Dedication Page
Contents
Series Foreword
Acknowledgements
Note on Transliteration
Introduction
1. Nakba
2. Naksa
3. Intifada
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Back Cover

Citation preview

SOAS Palestine Studies

‘Fixing its creative gaze on the short story – a form with its own of a genre, nationally inflected, but a genre through which the three great watersheds of Palestinian history (Nakba, Naksa, and Intifada) are movingly told ... A surprising and informative take on the varied literary portraits of anticolonialism’s true acid test.’ Timothy A. Brennan, Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota ‘In this beautifully written, textured, and thoughtful book, Farag traces the development of the Palestinian short story and highlights the significance of historical catastrophes, political commitment, and bold aesthetic innovation in the emergence and flourishing of this long-neglected genre. A must read for anyone interested in Palestinian literature and cultural production.’ Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS, University of London ‘Written in a flowing and engaging style, the study ultimately and forcefully fulfils its promise: showing the ways in which the historian and the political analyst, and their respective disciplines, can benefit from deeper study of Palestinian literary production.’ Ayman A. El-Desouky, Senior Lecturer in Modern Arabic and Comparative Literature, SOAS, University of London

Jacket image: A Palestinian fighter holds a kitten in the refugee camp of Burj Al Barajneh near Beirut, 8 July 1988. © Aline Manoukian

POLITICS AND PALESTINIAN literature in exile

peculiar logic, pacing, and poise – this book is not only the history

Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story

Joseph R. Farag is Assistant Professor of Arab Studies at the University of Minnesota. He holds a PhD from Queen Mary University of London where he was also Lecturer in Middle Eastern Literary Studies. Farag has also held a EUME postdoctoral fellowship at the Forum Transregionale Studien in affiliation with the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. His research examines the intersection of history, politics and cultural production in the modern Arab World, with particular emphasis on the Palestinian context.

Jacket design: Simon Levy ISBN 978-1-78453-655-8

www.ibtauris.com Centre for Palestine Studies

9 781784 536558

JOSEPH R. FARAG

Despite, or even because of, their tumultuous history, Palestinians are renowned for being prolific cultural producers, creating many of the Arab world’s most iconic works of literature. In particular, the Palestinian short story stands out due to its unique interplay between literary texts and the political and historical contexts from which it emerges.

SOAS Palestine Studies

J o seph R . F a r ag

P O L ITI C S AN D PA L E STINI AN L IT E R AT U R E IN E XILE Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story

Politics and Palestinian Literature in Exile is the first English-language study to explore this unique genre. Joseph R. Farag employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the political function of literary texts and the manner in which cultural production responds to crucial moments in Palestinian history. Drawing from the works of Samira Azzam, Ghassan Kanafani, and Ibrahim Nasrallah, Farag traces developments in the short story as they relate to the pivotal events of what the Palestinians call the Nakba (‘catastrophe’), Naksa (‘defeat’) and First Intifada (‘uprising’). In analysing several as-yet untranslated works, Farag makes an original contribution to the subject of exilic identity and subjectivity in Palestinian literature. This book offers the opportunity to engage with literary works as well as to learn from a literary account of history, and will be of interest to students and scholars of both Arabic literature and Middle East Studies.

Joseph R. Farag is Assistant Professor of Arab Studies at the University of Minnesota. He holds a PhD from Queen Mary University of London where he was also Lecturer in Middle Eastern Literary Studies. Farag has also held a EUME postdoctoral fellowship at the Forum Transregionale Studien in affiliation with the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, Freie Universita¨t Berlin. His research examines the intersection of history, politics and cultural production in the modern Arab World, with particular emphasis on the Palestinian context.

‘Fixing its creative gaze on the short story – a form with its own peculiar logic, pacing, and poise – this book is not only the history of a genre, nationally inflected, but a genre through which the three great watersheds of Palestinian history (Nakba, Naksa, and Intifada) are movingly told. In Farag’s confident and well-argued study, Sartrean “literature engage” takes the form, alternately, of surrealist phantasmagoria, blunt militancy, and a searing, melancholic interiority. A surprising and informative take on the varied literary portraits of anticolonialism’s true acid test.’ Timothy A. Brennan, Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota ‘In this beautifully written, textured, and thoughtful book, Farag traces the development of the Palestinian short story and highlights the significance of historical catastrophes, political commitment, and bold aesthetic innovation in the emergence and flourishing of this long-neglected genre. A must read for anyone interested in Palestinian literature and cultural production.’ Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS, University of London ‘Farag’s excellent choice of focus on the short story, one of the most complex and yet understudied genres, furthers discussion of the aesthetic thrust of the form, its place within the larger literary history in Palestinian and Arabic literature, and its comparability to the force of poetic practices as the celebrated genre of resistance. Written in a flowing and engaging style, the study ultimately and forcefully fulfils its promise: showing the ways in which the historian and the political analyst, and their respective disciplines, can benefit from deeper study of Palestinian literary production.’ Ayman A. El-Desouky, Senior Lecturer in Modern Arabic and Comparative Literature, SOAS, University of London

SOAS PALESTINE STUDIES

This book series aims at promoting innovative research in the study of Palestine, Palestinians and the Israel–Palestine conflict as a crucial component of Middle Eastern and world politics. The first ever Western academic series entirely dedicated to this topic, SOAS Palestine Studies draws from a variety of disciplinary fields, including history, politics, media, visual arts, social anthropology, and development studies. The series is published under the academic direction of the Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS) at the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) of SOAS, University of London.

Series Editor: Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS, Chair of the Centre for Palestine Studies

Board Advisor: Hassan Hakimian, Director of the London Middle East Institute at SOAS

Current and Forthcoming Titles: Palestine Ltd.: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory, by Toufic Haddad Politics and Palestinian Literature in Exile: Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story, by Joseph R. Farag Palestinian Citizens of Israel: Power, Resistance and the Struggle for Space, by Sharri Plonski

POLITICS AND PALESTINIAN LITERATURE IN EXILE Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story

JOSEPH R. FARAG

Centre for Palestine Studies Published in association with the Centre for Palestine Studies, London Middle East Institute

Published in 2017 by I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd London • New York www.ibtauris.com Copyright q 2017 Joseph R. Farag The right of Joseph R. Farag to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. References to websites were correct at the time of writing. SOAS Series on Palestine Studies 2 ISBN: 978 1 78453 655 8 eISBN: 978 1 78672 180 8 ePDF: 978 1 78673 180 7 A full CIP record for this book is available from the British Library A full CIP record is available from the Library of Congress Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: available Typeset in Garamond Three by OKS Prepress Services, Chennai, India Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

For my parents, Ramez and Hanaa

CONTENTS

Series Foreword Acknowledgements Note on Transliteration Introduction Chapter 1

xi xiii xv 1

Nakba

Narrating the Nakba: History, Testimony and Re-Membering Form and Function in Arabic Literature: Realism and the Nation Samira Azzam Ghassan Kanafani’s Pioneering Modernism Chapter 2 Naksa Nakba to Naksa The Palestinians and the Rise and Fall of Pan-Arabism Refugees to Revolutionaries: Palestinian Identity of Resistance and its Antecedents The Reclamation of Dignity and the Battle of Karama Commitment to Resistance Ghassan Kanafani’s ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq Resistance and its Discontents: Yahya Yakhlif’s Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj Internal Resistance and the Gender Politics of Patriarchy and Modernism: Liana Badr’s ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’

18 23 34 57

75 76 82 89 91 96 114 128

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Chapter 3 Intifada The Intifada and Palestine Studies: Emergence of a Field Prophecy or Perception? Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya Women, Exile and the Intifada in Liana Badr’s Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ ˙

137 142 171

Conclusion

196

Notes Bibliography Index

204 229 239

SERIES FOREWORD

The question of Palestine – with its corollaries, the Israel–Palestine and Arab– Israeli conflicts – has been a key issue of world politics and a major source of world tension since the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Few global issues have attracted so much attention over such a long period of time. As a result, despite its small territorial size, Palestine has become a key component of Middle East studies in the academic community as well as a field of study in its own right, in the same way that France or Germany are each the subject of individual study while being part of European Studies. This ‘disproportionate’ status of the Palestine topic is due to several factors. First is the strategic location of Palestine at the Mediterranean door of the Middle East and the ‘East of Suez’ world. This strategic position – the source of British interest in Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century – has been enhanced by the greater importance of the broader Middle East in global affairs as manifested by the high frequency of wars and conflicts in the region since World War II, and even more since the end of the Cold War. Secondly is the very particular fact of what has been described as a ‘settler-colonial’ project in Palestine that was boosted by the huge human tragedy of the Nazi genocide of European Jews in 1941–5. The result has been a complex mingling of the Holocaust, which the Zionist movement claims as legitimizing its actions, with what Palestinians call the Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’, which describes the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Arab Palestinians from great swathes of Palestine in 1948 by the Zionist drive towards the creation of Israel.

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Thirdly is the sheer complexity of the Palestine question engendered by the Nakba and the subsequent occupation by the state of Israel of the West Bank and Gaza following the Six-Day War in 1967. As a result of these, the Palestinian people today are living under very different conditions and legal regimes: they encompass those who remained in Israel after the state’s establishment in 1948; those, including refugees, under direct Israeli occupation or indirect Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza; those displaced by the wars of 1948 and 1967 to the eastern bank of the Jordan River, some of them still living in camps, and most of whom became Jordanian citizens; those living in the refugee camps of Lebanon and Syria; those of the diaspora living in other Arab countries; and those of the global diaspora. Finally, the question of Palestine plays such a major role in Arab politics in general and represents such a major trauma in collective Arab memory that it has been the focus of prolific artistic and literary energy, a drive that goes beyond Palestinians to include creative minds and talents from all Arabic-speaking countries. This complexity and the unparalleled diversity of contemporary Palestinian locations and situations help to explain Palestine’s ‘disproportionate’ status and account for the abundance of publications on Palestine and its people. And yet, surprisingly, there has until now been no universitybased English-language book series specifically dedicated to Palestine Studies. The SOAS Palestine Studies series, published by I.B.Tauris in collaboration with the SOAS Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS) at the London Middle East Institute (LMEI), seeks to fill this gap. This series is dedicated to the contemporary history, politics, economy, society and culture of Palestine and the historiographic quarrels associated with its past. The subject of Palestine has aroused intense passions over several decades. On such a topic it is very difficult to exclude passion, and the pretension to be ‘neutral’ is often disqualified by both sides. But we will make sure that none of our books stray beyond the realms of intellectual integrity and scholarly rigour. With the Palestine Studies series we hope to make an important contribution towards a better understanding of this most complex topic. Professor Gilbert Achcar, Editor Chair of the Centre of Palestine Studies, SOAS, University of London

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals who contributed to this work in one way or another while holding none responsible for any shortcomings this work may contain. I feel I must begin by thanking my parents, Ramez and Hanaa, without the support and lifelong encouragement of whom, it is no exaggeration to say, the present work would not have been possible. My doctoral supervisors, Jacqueline Rose and Bill Schwarz, at Queen Mary University of London, have been and continue to be models of generosity, inspiration and guidance. Wen-Chin Ouyang kindly and selflessly provided invaluable advice and assistance throughout the writing of this work. Laleh Khalili was and remains a staunch ally, friend and mentor to whom I am grateful and indebted. Jasmin Habib was instrumental in the fruition of this project insofar as it was through her that I was first introduced to Palestinian literature in the form of Ghassan Kanafani’s ‘The Land of Sad Oranges’. Since my days as her student, she has been a mentor and a friend, for which I’m incredibly grateful. It was arguably Sandie Bartel who first sent me down my current path before even I was aware of it. As my high school English teacher, it was she who inculcated me with not only a love of reading, but also an adamant belief in the significance of literature’s role in the wider world. Nora Parr has served as one part sounding board, one part co-commiserator, and one part fellow traveller in the often bleak but always rewarding world of Palestinian literature, but above all, she has been a valued friend. Amal Eqeiq, another fellow

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scholar of Palestinian literature, demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond at several points in the research process. I wish to thank Georges Khalil and the Forum Transregionale Studien, and the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies at the Freie Universita¨t Berlin which hosted me as a postdoctoral fellow in 2013 –14, providing the freedom and intellectual community that were essential for the completion of this project. My fellow postdoctoral fellows that year, Samer Frangieh, Alya Karame, Naomi Davidson, Dina Ramadan, and Walid Houri were indispensable to creating an intellectually rewarding environment, and have become among the dearest of friends. Finally, I would be utterly remiss if I failed to convey my sincerest gratefulness to Ainsley Boe, whose unwavering support, unflagging humour, and seemingly boundless faith and empathy sustained me throughout the writing of this work.

NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION

This work uses the standard International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES) method of transliteration. For greatest ease of reading, names have been transliterated using the most common English spelling.

INTRODUCTION

The present book is, at once, a literary history as well as a literary account of history. It covers trends and developments in the Palestinian short story written by authors in exile – that is, outside the territory of historic Palestine – from the period immediately following the fall of Palestine in 1948 until the period immediately preceding the Oslo Accords of 1993. This time span covers what are perhaps the three key politico-historical junctures in modern Palestinian history: the 1948 Nakba (‘catastrophe’) that was the fall of Palestine and the displacement of the overwhelming majority of its indigenous inhabitants; the Naksa (‘setback’) of 1967 which saw the utter decimation of three Arab armies (Egypt’s, Jordan’s and Syria’s) in an Israeli surprise attack that also saw Israel consolidate its hold on the remainder of historic Palestine in the form of the West Bank and Gaza in addition to its territorial acquisitions of the Sinai and the Golan Heights; and finally, the First Intifada (‘shaking off’) that erupted in 1987 and was characterized by widespread popular demonstrations, strikes and civil disobedience campaigns waged by Palestinians in protest against Israeli military rule and occupation of their lands. As will be seen, each of these events played a significant role in influencing, shaping or otherwise altering Palestinian literary production in their wake. As shall also be seen, however, Palestinian literary production has often demonstrated remarkable prescience, sometimes presaging key political and historical turning points and always making them more comprehensible within their socio-cultural context in retrospect.

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The past decade and a half has witnessed a flourishing of interest in Palestinian cultural production. Scholarly interest in the study of Palestinian literature, film, art, music and other cultural forms, had long been eclipsed by successive historical and political events affecting the Palestinian people – relegating cultural production, at best, to marginal curiosity, or, at worst, a distraction from the seemingly more pressing political exigencies of the day. However, there has been a belated appreciation of Palestinian cultural production’s importance, both for the sake of its own artistic merit as well as its centrality to those very historical and political events that long occluded sustained examination of cultural production in its various forms.1 Rebecca Stein and Ted Swedenburg’s 2005 edited volume, Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture, which collapses the high–low brow dichotomy by exploring such diverse forms as popular music and cyberculture as well as film and literature, is emblematic of this new-found appreciation for Palestinian cultural production.2 More specialized, sustained studies have followed, such as Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma and Memory by Nurith Gertz and George Khleifi,3 and Hamid Dabashi’s edited collection of essays, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema.4 Palestinian art has also received scholarly treatment in Kamal Boullata’s Palestinian Art 1850–2005.5 On both film and art, however, these works signify promising beginnings and much work remains to be done in these fields. English-language studies of Palestinian literature, perhaps the most socially entrenched cultural form, have been somewhat more numerous, but mixed. Ami Elad-Bouskila’s Modern Palestinian Literature and Culture,6 and Ibrahim Taha’s The Palestinian Novel: A Communication Study,7 focus exclusively on literary production by Palestinian citizens of Israel, thereby excluding the crucial dimension of Palestinian exile subjectivity that applies to the overwhelming majority of Palestinians today. In the case of Elad-Bouskila’s book, it is difficult to reconcile the modest scope of the work’s focus and discussion with the book’s ambitious title. On the other hand, Taha’s book, true to its title, is more an examination of transmission, reception and the mediation that occurs between authorial production and readers’ consumption of a text, than it is a work of literary analysis per se. Published slightly earlier, one work on Palestinian literature that is undeservedly often overlooked is Barbara Parmenter’s slender albeit highly insightful and illuminating book,

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Giving Voice to Stones: Place and Identity in Palestinian Literature.8 A geographer as well as an Arabic literary scholar, Parmenter deftly puts exilic Palestinian literary production into dialogue with the conceptual categories of space/place and landscape which, given the Palestinians’ condition of statelessness or exile, are central to Palestinian literary (as well as cinematic) discourses, but, notwithstanding Parmenter’s important contribution, have yet to be sufficiently examined or theorized. Khaled Furani’s Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry, published in 2012, is the first English-language study to systematically examine Palestinian poetry, taking the question of verse form and poetic metre as its central concerns and combining literary analysis, author interviews, and ethnographic methods.9 The most recent works to examine Palestinian literature, Anna Ball’s Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective (2012),10 and Anna Bernard’s Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine (2013)11 are products of and important contributions to the growth of scholarship on Palestinian literature. Both works contribute to the growth of the field by explicitly situating their works and identifying their target audiences outside the traditional field of Arabic or Middle East Studies. They do so, in part, by relying exclusively on Palestinian texts in English translation, that is those texts that would be encountered by a non-Arabic-speaking, metropolitan audience. I mention this brief account of what can be termed ‘Palestinian cultural studies’ to emphasize just how recently this nascent but bourgeoning field has emerged; to highlight the compressed time span in which this considerable but still far from exhaustive body of work has been produced; and, finally, to outline the diversity of forms and genres contained within this field – spanning ‘high’ and ‘low’ brow work, and traditional forms such as poetry and newly emerged forms such as Palestinian rap/hip-hop or cybercultures – despite and, indeed because of the field’s relative youth. Yet, despite this diversity, one form remains conspicuously absent from these studies – the short story. This oversight, far from being unique to Palestinian cultural studies, is in fact symptomatic of a widespread tendency in literary studies more broadly to overlook the short story genre. In this regard, the novel can be regarded as a three-fold colonial genre: not just because it made its way into Arabic literature beginning late in the nineteenth century as a result of a series of colonial encounters with Europe; and not only because,

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as Mary Layoun notes, ‘the novel metaphorically “colonized” preexistent narrative production; already existent modes of narrative production subjugated and refashioned in the image of the novel;’ but, moreover, because the novel has also effectively colonized scholarly inquiry into modern Arabic literature today, coming to hold a virtual monopoly on the field.12 Indeed, arguably even the term ‘literature’ itself has become a sort of shorthand, popularly understood to refer to novelistic literary production, with the occasional allowance made for poetry. This is not to say that the novel’s prominence is undeserved. Rather, the novel’s primacy is a reflection of the genre’s remarkable portability, flexibility and adaptability to myriad social and political contexts, not least the Arab world’s. But while the novel is remarkable in these respects, it is not unique. The novel’s neglected sibling, the short story, has proven no less adaptable and responsive to, and expressive of the prevailing conditions and contexts of its production. This omission of the short story genre from scholarship on modern Arabic literature is all the more glaring given that for the better part of the twentieth century, it was short fiction, not the novel, which enjoyed pre-eminence in Arabic prose broadly and in the Palestinian case particularly. This was by no means incidental. The prominence of short fiction was a symptom and reflection of, and direct literary response to the prevailing socio-political conditions of the Arab world, particularly during the second half of the twentieth century, when most of today’s Arab nation-states achieved independence. As Layoun observes, ‘the predominance of the short story and the serialized novella over the longer form of the novel is undoubtedly related to the easier access to publication available in daily newspapers and periodicals and the concomitant constraints of that [i.e., the novel’s] publishing format’.13 In other words, the short story’s defining characteristic, namely its brevity, permitted it to be published and circulated far more widely than the novel in the mid-twentieth-century publishing landscape of the Arab world. What applied to the Arab world generally was compounded by orders of magnitude in the case of Palestinian writers – stateless, uprooted, displaced, and with even more limited access to presses through which to publish lengthier works. Illustrating this point, the Palestinian author, Atef Abu Saif, from Jabaliyya in Gaza noted in a 2014 interview that the Gazan short story ‘flourished during the first occupation in the 1960s when printed material was censored, so writers

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wrote short manuscripts by hand as they were easier to smuggle,’ adding: ‘in the 1980s and 1990s Gaza was known as the exporter of oranges and short stories’.14 The present book, therefore, in addition to charting the manner in which the Palestinian short story in exile anticipated and responded to the key twentieth-century historical events affecting Palestinians (on which, more below), also charts the fortunes of the Palestinian short story itself. The period under scrutiny – from the immediate aftermath of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948 until the eve of the Oslo Accords in 1993 – charts the rise, apotheosis, and relative decline of the short story as it subsequently came to be eclipsed by the novel. Reasons for this eventual decline are difficult to definitively determine. Certainly, the Palestinians’ condition of displacement, dispersion, and subjugation, which in part gave rise to the short story’s prominence after 1948, had not changed, but perhaps Palestinians’ positions within so-called ‘host-communities’ had. Over the course of this period, Palestinian refugees’ presence became more entrenched, enabling not only the lengthier rumination that is the domain of the novel, but also access to printing and publishing facilities that also came to be established throughout the Arab world over the course of this period. Moreover, this was also a reflection of broader global trends in commercial publishing which (here again that colonizing tendency) the novel had come to dominate. As with any knowledge gap, the paucity of sustained scholarship on the short story – generically, in Arabic broadly, and Palestinian in particular – simultaneously poses exciting opportunities as well as daunting challenges. Whereas the extensive body of work on the novel across regions and time periods allows for fruitful juxtapositions and comparisons, scholarship and theorization on the short story remains diffuse and marginalized from the main body of literary discussions and debates. Of course, none of this is to say that research on the short story has been absent altogether.15 Most relevant to the present discussion of the Palestinian short story is Sabry Hafez’s 2007 work, The Quest for Identities: The Development of the Modern Arabic Short Story (though, contrary to his book’s title, Hafez confines his discussion to the Egyptian short story). Hafez’s book is significant in that it is the first work of its kind in English to explore the dynamics of short story writing in Arabic, noting that

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‘the body of critical work on the Arabic novel, in English and other European languages, has been growing steadily and has been the subject of numerous books; but not that of the short story’.16 Hafez’s assertion that ‘Egypt alone provides a rich enough field for a major study’ of the short story is obviously one I take issue with.17 As should become clear over the course of this book, the Palestinian short story is no less significant, prolific or worthy of ‘major study’ than its Egyptian counterpart. Hafez grounds his study of the Arabic short story in Frank O’Connor’s 1963 work, The Lonely Voice, which, Hafez argues, is ‘the first serious investigation of the “philosophy” of the [short story] genre and one of the pioneering studies of the content of form’.18 One of the most contentious and, for our purposes, pertinent assertions put forward by O’Connor in his meditation on the short story’s unique attributes vis-a`vis the novel is summarized in the following passage: the novel and the short story, though they derive from the same sources, derive in a quite different way, and are distinct literary forms; and the difference is not so much formal [. . .] as ideological. [. . .] I am suggesting strongly that we can see in it [the short story] an attitude of mind that is attracted by submerged population groups, whatever these may be at any given time. [. . .] The novel can still adhere to the classical concept civilized society, of man as an animal who lives in a community [. . .]; but the short story remains by its very nature remote from the community – romantic, individualistic, and intransigent. O’Connor concedes that ‘submerged population group’ is ‘a bad phrase which [he has] had to use for want of a better’, but we can already glimpse its relevance to the Palestinian case. Elaborating upon his concept, O’Connor adds that ‘submerged population group’: does not mean mere material squalor, though this is often a characteristic of submerged population groups. Ultimately it seems to mean defeat inflicted by a society that has no sign posts, a society that offers no goals and no answers. The submerged population is not submerged entirely by material considerations; it can also be submerged by the absence of spiritual ones.19

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Here the applicability of O’Connor’s notion of the ‘submerged population group’ to the Palestinians becomes abundantly clear. Without a doubt many Palestinians, particularly those of the impoverished refugee camps of southern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and elsewhere live in ‘material squalor’, but the crisis of the Palestinian refugee cannot be reduced merely to that. Rather, O’Connor’s notion of the ‘submerged population group’ cuts to the heart of the matter. For the Palestinians’ tragedy is wrought of successive defeats. They remain stateless, floating in a condition of exilic limbo with ‘no sign posts’, and ‘no answers’. As O’Connor states elsewhere in The Lonely Voice, ‘always in the short story there is this sense of outlawed figures wandering about the fringes of society’.20 Few subjectivities today better fit that description than the Palestinians’: marginalized to society’s fringes both in the ‘host countries’ of exile as well as in Israel where s/he serves as an inconvenient reminder of the act of ethnic cleansing that brought the modern state into existence, the Palestinian, like other colonized indigenous peoples, has confronted and resisted repeated attempts to outlaw her/his very identity. What is apparent in O’Connor’s characterization of the short story’s inherent and unique attributes, picked up and elaborated upon by Sabry Hafez in the Egyptian context, are the inherently political valences ascribed to the genre. O’Connor and Hafez are not alone in sensing this political impulse in the short story. Ronan McDonald, extrapolating from the Irish setting, observes that the short story: has proved remarkably congenial for emerging of post-colonial literatures. The expressive gaps or silences of the short story can be powerful indicators of muteness [. . .] It can use its eccentricities and ellipsis to work against dominant discourse, to give voice to occluded narratives without simply reproducing the languages of authority.21 Meanwhile, commenting on the Moroccan short story’s development, Abdellatif Akbib observes that: the real [Moroccan] short story [. . .] began in the early 1940s, and coincides with the birth of nationalism and anti-colonial resistance. The fact is that the national movement was the womb

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in which the modern cultural movement was conceived, and it was in the cradle of this cultural movement that the short story was reared. [. . .] It is not a coincidence, then, that one of the main factors leading to the birth of the short story was the widespread circulation of newspapers and magazines, which were used primarily for militancy and ideological purposes. Thus the press turned out to be a double-edged weapon that served political and cultural purposes at the same time.22 The short story’s defining characteristic, its brevity, is central to both MacDonald’s and Akbib’s observations. For MacDonald, the short story’s ellipses, necessitated by its form, produce what he calls ‘strategies of silence’ which expose and therefore subvert marginalized subjects’ silencing by dominant discourses through mimesis. Akbib, meanwhile, rearticulates Mary Layoun’s point about the short story’s ease of circulation, directly linking those periodicals in which short stories frequently appeared with their political function at a particular historical-political juncture in Morocco. But whereas MacDonald and Akbib ground their discussion of the short story’s politics within a historical, political and geographic context of production and consumption, O’Connor’s The Lonely Voice, despite its ‘pioneering’ and ‘serious’ attempt at discerning the manner in which the short story’s form determines its content, is by the author’s own admission a highly impressionistic sketch of an eclectic assemblage of short story authors. Therefore, while O’Connor’s reflections on the short story’s inherent attribute raise some intriguing possibilities, they are best treated with caution, especially when arguing for the short story’s unique and inherent attributes vis-a`-vis the novel. It should be stated clearly here at the outset that this book does not aspire to any grand theory of the short story broadly, or the Palestinian short story specifically. Developing any such theory, if indeed it is prudent or feasible to do so at all, can only come about following extensive research, deliberation and debate from a variety of scholars in the field, and especially among doubly marginalized scholars of postcolonial short fiction. We are not there yet. Rather, the present book’s modest aim is to highlight the central role played by the short story in Palestinian literary production during the crucial period of 1948–93. Over the course of this nearly half-century period, the

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Palestinian short story rose to great prominence and exhibited a remarkable ability to respond and adapt to the upheavals taking place, all the while displaying originality, artistry and innovation in both its forms and content. Whereas in 1978 Hanan Ashrawi castigated Palestinian poetic production for its ‘formulaic nature, exhausted images, and standard devices,’ complaining that ‘Palestinian poetry has been busy reducing itself to the lowest common denominator in order to be understood by the ‘simple’ people and to appeal directly to their patriotic sentiment,’ during the same period, as shall be shown in the pages to follow, the Palestinian short story demonstrated continuous experimentation and a willingness to challenge and subvert hallowed nationalistic sentiments.23 The present study is structured and operates simultaneously along two axes, one chronological, the other thematic. Chronologically it is divided into three sections – Nakba, Naksa and Intifada – each signifying a key juncture in Palestinian history and politics. Each of these events served as important catalysts to shifts and transformations in Palestinian literary production. The Nakba of 1948 is indisputably the key event in modern Palestinian history and politics, resulting as it did in the loss of the Palestinian homeland and the dispersal of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian population into exile. This coincided with the ascendancy of the notion of committed literature, translated into Arabic as adab multazim, borrowed from Sartre’s litte´rature engage´e and adapted by Arab authors and intellectuals to suit the particularities of the post-Nakba Arab social, political and literary scene. Part and parcel of this was a certain amount of dogma surrounding literary realism which, as we shall see in Chapter 1, was the favoured mode of communicating politically committed messages through literature. However, what emerges from examination of texts by the two key Palestinian short story authors of the period complicates not only any straightforward characterization of literary production during this time, but, more fundamentally, the transportability of labels such as ‘realism’ and ‘modernism’ to Palestinian literary production. For instance, while Samira Azzam would, by and large, adhere to a social realism depicting the plight of economic underclasses, significantly, she demonstrates departures into interiority that are the hallmarks of modernist writing when addressing women’s issues in her texts. The other key Palestinian short story author of the period, meanwhile,

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Ghassan Kanafani, appears to have rejected realism outright during this period, opting instead for jarring temporal and spatial discontinuities and displacements, and stream of consciousness – hallmarks of modernist writing – only to subsequently revert to a far more conventional, realistic narrative technique. Much of the dominance of literary commitment (iltiza¯m) and the realist dogma characterized by it throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s is at least partially attributable to the nationalist fervour that swept the Arab region during this time (itself stoked in no small part by the Palestinian Nakba). Thus, even while enthusiasm for the rigidities of committed literature and its realist incarnation had already been waning by 1967, the humiliating Arab defeat against Israel that year signalled its final death knell. After the obliteration of three Arab armies and the trebling of territory under Israeli rule, including the West Bank (containing the deeply symbolic religious shrines of East Jerusalem), Gaza, the Sinai and the Golan Heights, the lofty, incendiary rhetoric of pan-Arab nationalism was no longer tenable. Chapter 2, therefore, addresses the literary responses among Palestinian short story authors to this new state of affairs. Ironically, while the dogma of realism dissipated, Ghassan Kanafani would perform a dramatic volte face, embracing a far more realistic literary aesthetic and didactically promoting the cause of armed resistance in response to the defeat of 1967. The post-1967 period also saw the eruption of the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinian fighters soon became mired. As we shall see in the works of Yahya Yakhlif, the literary response to these developments was a wry scepticism towards the virtues of armed resistance. Meanwhile, with women’s issues continuing to go unaddressed by the Palestinian nationalist leadership that gained ascendancy after 1967, Liana Badr would build upon Samira Azzam’s proto-feminism, launching ringing indictments of the Palestinian nationalist patriarchy, in part through the use of a high modernist aesthetic. Palestinian anger and resentment over nearly four decades of displacement, exile and denial of their right to self-determination as well as two decades of Israeli military rule and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza erupted in December of 1987 into the popular mass uprising that has come to be known as the First Intifada. Resistance was democratized, so to speak, from being limited largely to armed men of fighting age to the whole of Palestinian society, including women and children, as Palestinians aired their grievances and confronted Israeli

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injustices en masse. The uprising, often characterized as ‘spontaneous’, caught all, even the Palestinians’ own leadership now exiled to Tunisia, off-guard. It is therefore both surprising and significant that Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya (1989), written months before the Intifada’s outbreak, seemed to clearly augur a mass, popular uprising, dubbed an ‘intifada’ by the author in a demonstration of uncanny prescience. Nasrallah’s remarkable text confounds efforts at concrete categorization, transcending the narrow confines of genre and embodying in its very form the Palestinian uprising it describes. In addition to examining Nasrallah’s work, Chapter 3 will also explore Liana Badr’s collection, Jahı¯m dhahabı¯, which continues Badr’s overarching concern ˙ with the condition of Palestinian women while also emphasizing the ongoing plight of Palestinians exiled outside historic Palestine who had to a large extent become marginalized by the focus upon the Intifada taking place there, casting a tacitly sceptical glance at the Intifada in the process.

Themes Each of the events outlined above signify an important turning point in Palestinian history, but this is not to say that any constitute a definitive rupture from the period that preceded it. Continuities persist through these junctures, complicating any neat attempt at periodization. It is in this respect that the second, that is, thematic, axis along which this study operates takes on its significance. As may already be evident from the preceding chapter summary, certain key themes wind their way through each period, transforming along with the social and political transformations taking place, but persisting nonetheless. Three distinct but overlapping and inseparable themes in particular stand out: (1) Politics and/of Aesthetics; (2) Gender and Sexuality, and (3) Literature and/of Resistance. These three thematic strains are not, indeed cannot be discretely compartmentalized. Rather, they are inextricably connected, each having a bearing on the others. This study therefore traces these thematic threads as they wind their way through the time periods under scrutiny, examining the various ways in which they find expression, shifts in their modes of expression, and the social, political and literary significance of these trends and developments.

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Resistance The trope of resistance has been a prominent motif in Palestinian literature since before Ghassan Kanafani coined the term ‘resistance literature’ to describe Palestinian writing under occupation. Given the beleaguered nature of Palestinian peoplehood, this is understandable. As Kanafani notes, popular Palestinian oral poetry played a crucial role in articulating resistance to Anglo-Zionist colonialism in the Mandate period, and has persisted since then in contesting the Zionist-Israeli negation of the Palestinians’ past, present, and indeed their very presence.24 Palestinian cultural production acts as a riposte to the Zionist slogan describing Palestine as a ‘land without a people for a people without a land’, under the banner of which Palestine was colonized and through which Palestinian history continues to be denied. Through the frequent assertions of longstanding and intimate knowledge of the land, Palestinian literature stakes a claim to the territory of the Palestinian homeland. At the same time, and in what can be described as a more ‘proactive’ form of resistance in literature, the depictions of and calls for acts of confrontation take myriad forms, ranging from the quotidian and mundane to armed resistance. At the same time, and particularly since the onset of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, Palestinian literature has not shied away from questioning or even actively subverting the ethos of armed resistance (as elaborated on in Chapter 2) by not only refusing to lionize the figure of the armed resistance fighter but, furthermore, portraying him (and it is almost always a him) in a wryly humorous light. However, this emphasis on Palestinian literature as resistance literature, especially in the narrowly nationalist sense has also been somewhat overdetermined, often serving to occlude discussion of Palestinian literature beyond its utilitarian function as a literature of protest on the one hand, and eliding other, more subtle forms of intranational resistance and protest on the other. One such form of resistance that emerges early on and persists in post-Nakba Palestinian writings is the motif of generational critique. As shall become evident in many of the texts analysed below, the generational critique emerges initially as an indictment launched by writers of the Nakba generation, that is, those writers who experienced the Nakba first-hand, often as young children, and who would soon grow up to pen searing indictments of their elders’

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complacency in confronting the Zionist threat to their homeland. Subsequent generations of writers growing up in the wake of successive defeats and traumas visited upon the Palestinians would continue this motif of generational critique, contributing to a body of literature articulating resistance to the paternalistic attitudes of older generations towards the younger who ultimately bear the burden and legacy of defeat. What is extraordinary about the persistence and, indeed, insistence, on internal critique and introspection evinced throughout this collection is the adamant refusal on the part of Palestinian authors to engage in strategic essentialism, despite the beleaguered nature of Palestinian nationhood. Instead, what we find peppered throughout these texts are unrelenting assaults on nationalist patriarchy, privileged social and economic classes, jaded older generations, and hypocritical Arab neighbours and governments who are happy to support the Palestinian cause in word while undermining it in deed. It is truly remarkable, when one pauses to consider it, that a beleaguered, stateless, diasporic nation, so heavily dependent upon cultural production to maintain its identity and cohesion should be so willing, through that self-same cultural production, to engage in such sustained, and oftentimes harsh, introspection and self-critique.

Gender Concurrent and closely related to the intra-national generational critique is the gendered critique of patriarchy that constitutes yet another form of internal resistance in Palestinian literature. This recurring motif is evident in the tentative critiques of patriarchal society (nebulously defined) in the stories of Samira Azzam beginning immediately following the Nakba of 1948 examined in Chapter 1, and persists throughout to Liana Badr’s vociferous condemnations of patriarchy, including denunciation of the patriarchal national(ist) leadership explored toward the end of this book. The significance of this gender critique is twofold. On the one hand, there is the surface level critique of patriarchal power structures and the marginalization of women and the role of the female subject briefly outlined above. Such pronouncements are significant insofar as they identify and thereby seek to undermine the functioning of patriarchal privilege

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and misogyny in the cultural milieux into which they intervene – in this case the exiled or diasporic Palestinian community. But there is another, more tacit dimension to the gender tropes that permeate Palestinian literary discourses, namely the burdening of the female figure with symbolic national significance. The role of the symbolism of women in the Palestinian national(ist) context has been extensively explored in Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh outstanding work, Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel.25 Even though Kanaaneh’s work focuses on Palestinian women within Israel and under Israeli occupation, many of the conclusions she draws and discourses she identifies are extrapolatable to Palestinian women in exile as well, particularly when it comes to the national-symbolic significance of the Palestinian female figure. As becomes clear over the course of the short stories examined in this book, however, there are also aspects of the condition of exile that affect women and their role in its own particular ways. This comes across most evidently in the fact that, at least in the early post-Nakba period during which Samira Azzam and Ghassan Kanafani were writing (examined in the following chapter), the loss of Palestine and the condition of exile itself was configured almost exclusively as a masculine dilemma (on which more below). This discourse essentially wrote women out of exile. Instead, almost always, the female figure remains in the Palestinian homeland, even if she is dead and buried, becoming a literal part of the Palestinian earth. The weight of this symbolism places a heavy burden on both the literary figure of the Palestinian woman as well as on actual Palestinian women. But, moreover, it also occludes the existence and narratives of Palestinian women in exile, and the particular ways in which they are affected by it, hence the importance of Liana Badr’s re-inscription of the figure of the Palestinian woman in exile examined in Chapters 2 and 3 of this book. As alluded to above, however, the male figure is by no means free of symbolic burdens either. In fixing the stable female subject within the territory of Palestine, masculinist discourses simultaneously and conversely constructed Palestinian exile and defeat as distinctively male dilemmas, thereby creating an unstable male subject, the instability of which is most often articulated through the trope of crises of masculinity. The multiple valences of this trope, and the manner in

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which Palestinian authors both reinscribed as well as subverted it is deftly captured in Amy Zalman’s ‘Gender and the Palestinian Narrative of Return in Two Novels by Ghassan Kanafani.’26 This book systematically traces the articulation of this motif in the short story over the course of the 1948– 93 period, charting not only the manner in which masculinity was constructed, but also how the very notion would come to be wryly mocked, as in Yahya Yakhlif’s portrayal of Palestinian militants in the Lebanese Civil War examined in Chapter 2.

Aesthetics Whereas the themes of gender and resistance have been explored elsewhere, both outside Palestinian literature and, to a lesser extent, within it, one critically neglected area that this book seeks to address is that of literary aesthetics. In large part precisely because of Arabic literary scholarship’s preoccupation with issues such as gender, resistance, nationalism, or what can broadly be termed ‘politics’ writ large, engagement with the aesthetic forms in which Arabic (including Palestinian) authors construct their works has been almost entirely absent, leading Marilyn Booth to lament that ‘Arabic literature is not allowed to have aesthetics’.27 Instead, the emphasis is overwhelmingly on the content and discourses of Arabic literary works, rather than their forms. As Tarek El-Ariss succinctly argues, ‘this perspective has reduced texts to sociological accounts and elided their literary complexity’.28 On the one hand, one of this book’s key arguments is that, far from being adjacent or secondary to the politics, of arcane interest only to literary scholars confined to ivory towers and divorced from the pressing political exigencies of the day, literary aesthetics are in fact integral to and inseparable from political events, concerns and discourses. This fact is borne out by, for instance, the vociferous debates over literary realism outlined in Chapter 1 of this book. The central question for participants in these debates was: what is the ‘correct’ or ‘proper’ formal and aesthetic response of literature to the momentous political upheavals taking place in the Arab world in the middle of the twentieth century. This interplay between aesthetic form and political concerns emerges elsewhere as well, as in Samira Azzam’s tentative departure from rigid realism toward interiority

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and stream of consciousness in addressing women’s position in patriarchal societies, a trope picked up and articulated far more overtly in Liana Badr’s avowedly feminist writings. Here, once again, we see the inextricable intertwining of the themes of gender, resistance and aesthetics. On the other hand, however, there is an attendant danger in the recourse to the political significance of literary aesthetics as an argument or justification for its importance. Such an argument risks reinforcing precisely the reduction of literary texts to mere sociological documents earlier alluded to by El-Ariss, giving the impression that the issue of literary aesthetics is important because of its broader political significance. In other words, aesthetic form becomes just another lens (alongside content and discursive analysis) through which to make sociopolitical extrapolations. This is not what I mean to argue here. For, even while we must recognize that literary aesthetic choices carry with them political implications, this is by no means to denude the literary text of its artistic merits and achievements. Quite the contrary, it is to recognize and highlight the complicated dialectic that exists between political context and artistic text. The Palestinian authors whose works are examined over the course of this book consistently refuse to subordinate the artistic dimensions of their works to the very present political circumstances of their writing. Even Ghassan Kanafani who, after 1967 would abandon his avant garde experimentation with modernist literary devices to adopt a far more overtly realist, didactic tone in his writings, does so at precisely the moment that other Arabic authors are embracing literary modernism. Understood in its full context – both political and literary-artistic – Kanafani’s didacticism is not a lack of literary artistry, as didacticism is commonly understood, but rather a conscious, deliberate artistic choice. This is a crucial point to bear in mind throughout the ensuing discussion, particularly for a Western audience conventionally accustomed to a teleological view of literary aesthetic development in which modernism signifies a more ‘mature,’ or artistically accomplished form as compared to realism. This is all the more so when literature is deemed to be polemical, didactic or otherwise ‘contaminated’ (to quote Deleuze and Guattari) by politics, thereby ostensibly compromising a work’s artistry.29 As becomes clear over the course of this study, such a perspective is limiting and misguided, not to mention Eurocentric and

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dismissive of the particular modes in which literature and literary aesthetics function in non-Western or global southern settings. Far from being a steady onward march toward post/modernist forms in an emulation of Western literary development, the texts and individual authors examined in this book aesthetically shift to-and-fro in response to their political and historical moment in yet another testament to the short story’s ability to respond with immediacy to its surroundings. As mentioned above, Kanafani pioneers modernist devices only to shift to a realist aesthetic after 1967. Likewise, whereas Liana Badr would experiment with high modernist abstraction to launch a ringing indictment of nationalist patriarchy during the Lebanese Civil War period (discussed in Chapter 2), she subsequently adopts a realist approach within the context of the first Palestinian Intifada which began in 1987, during which she was distantly exiled in Tunisia (see Chapter 3). At issue, then, is not the creation of a hierarchy of literary or artistic merit, but rather the charting of how Palestinian authors’ artistic choices intersect with the contexts out of which their texts emerge. What emerges from examination of the Palestinian short story during this crucial period in modern Palestinian history is a highly complex, often fraught, always revealing interplay between Palestinian literary-artistic production and the political-historical contexts from which it emerges, to which it responds, and into which it intervenes. Understanding Palestinian history and politics can do much to elucidate the literature that emerges from it, just as Palestinian literature articulates the Palestinians’ history in an artistic form. Ultimately, neither is subordinate nor reducible to the other.

CHAPTER 1 NAKBA

Narrating the Nakba: History, Testimony and Re-Membering It is impossible to overstate the centrality of the Nakba in modern Palestinian consciousness. Meaning simply ‘catastrophe’ or ‘disaster’, the Nakba saw the majority of the Palestinian population dispossessed of their homes and land and scattered into exile. The term ‘Nakba’ is often used to refer specifically to the Israeli declaration of independence on 14 May 1948 or to the period of armed conflict between 30 November, 1947, when the United Nations passed resolution 181 calling for the partition of Palestine, until the cessation of armed hostilities in early 1949, from which the nascent state of Israel emerged decidedly victorious.1 However it is historically located, though, the Nakba ultimately refers to the Palestinians’ loss of their homeland, their decimation as a cohesive and contiguous community, and the dispersal of their overwhelming majority into an exile which has now lasted nearly seven decades. Understood in such terms, the Nakba can be seen not simply as a historical moment or event, pivotal though it may be, but also as a process of denial that continues to this day: a denial of the Palestinians’ land, right to self-determination, lives and livelihoods, and even their existence.2 As Elias Khoury observes: the idea that when we speak about the Nakba, we are dealing with the events and atrocities that happened in 1948, is misleading. The Nakba is not only a memory, but it is a continuous reality that

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did not stop since 1948. Dealing with it as a history of the past, is a way to cover the struggle between presence and interpretation that never stopped since 1948.3 Against and motivated by this ongoing Nakba, Palestinians have undertaken a process of reclamation. As Ahmad H. Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod note in the introduction to their volume, Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory: Palestinians’ memories of the Nakba, which provide a nagging counter-story of the myth of the birth of Israel, can indeed be said to criticize the present in the name of a trauma that has hardly begun to be recognized by those outside the Arab world and awaits some form of redress.4 The ‘myth of the birth of Israel’ to which Sa’di and Abu-Lughod refer is that of what Israeli historian, Avi Shlaim, has called the ‘doctrine of Israel’s immaculate conception’.5 It is against this triumphalist narrative of Israel’s sinless birth, rising phoenix-like from millennia of Jewish dispersal in exile and centuries of European anti-Judaism and antiSemitism culminating in the attempted genocide of the Jewish people in the Shoah, that Palestinians have struggled to put forth their own counter-narrative – one that gives due acknowledgement to the Palestinians’ own tragedy and loss. These competing narratives have given rise to a search for the historical ‘truth’ of the Nakba in which Palestinians are at a distinct disadvantage. For, as Sa’di and Abu-Lughod put it, ‘history is always partial and always written by the victors. The narratives, documents, and archives of the victors as well as the realities they have imposed on the ground, are what, in the final analysis, count as historical truth’.6 This phenomenon is amply demonstrated by Benny Morris in what is widely considered the definitive work on the Nakba and the factors underlying the Palestinians’ flight into exile, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947 – 1949 first published in 1987.7 The result of meticulous archival research through recently declassified Israeli government and military archival documents, Morris, while acknowledging the impossibility of arriving at a definitive figure, determined that approximately 700,000 Palestinians had been made refugees by

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the end of armed hostilities in 1949.8 Moreover, Morris famously concluded that ‘the Palestinian refugee problem was born of war, not by design, Jewish or Arab’, arguing against both the narrative that Arab partisans to the conflict had sought to artificially create a refugee crisis by bidding the Palestinians to leave their homes, as well as the argument that the emptying of Palestine of its native inhabitants was a conscious strategy by the Zionists.9 And while Morris’s findings went a long way in supporting the Palestinian version of events and undermining the myth of Israel’s immaculate conception, both in terms of the sheer magnitude of the refugee exodus and of the brutal violence that precipitated it, Morris nonetheless displays a decided contempt for Palestinian oral histories and for other means of conveying the Palestinians’ historical narrative beyond the empirical ‘proof’ of the archive. Thus, in his 2004 revised and expanded follow-up to The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem . . . Morris writes: I believe in the value of documents. While contemporary documents may misinform, distort, omit or lie, they do so, in my experience, far less than interviewees recalling highly controversial events some 40 – 50 years ago. My limited experience with such interviews revealed enormous gaps of memory and terrible distortion and selectivity born of ‘adopted’ and ‘rediscovered’ memories, ideological certainties and commitments and political agendas. I have found interviews occasionally of use in providing ‘colour’ and in reconstructing a picture of prevailing conditions and, sometimes, feelings. But not in establishing ‘facts’. The value of oral testimony about 1948, if anything, has diminished with the passage of the 20 years since I first researched the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem. Memories have further faded and acquired memories, ideological precepts, and political agendas have grown if anything more intractable; intifadas and counter-intifadas have done nothing for the cause of salvaging historical truth.10 Morris draws a bold line between historical memory and the testimony it produces on the one hand, and historical evidence provided by the archive

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on the other, ultimately deciding upon the superiority of the latter. Arguably, however, the case is hardly so clear-cut. As Edward Said writes: Memory and its representations touch very significantly upon questions of identity, of nationalism, of power and authority. Far from being a neutral exercise in facts and basic truths, the study of history, which of course is the underpinning of memory, both in school and university, is to some considerable extent a nationalist effort premised on the need to construct a desirable loyalty to and insider’s understanding of one’s country, tradition, and faith.11 Morris’s unwavering faith in the archive leads him to search (in vain) for what Joel Beinin terms a smoking gun: The critical question for [Morris] is the existence of a document that would constitute a ‘smoking gun’ – a blanket order to expel Arabs in 1948. The nonexistence of such a document (or at least his inability to find it) looms far larger in his understanding of the Palestinian refugee question than the fact, which he readily acknowledges, that the great majority of the Palestinian Arabs who lived in the territory that became Israel fled or were expelled as a result of actions of the Israeli armed forces. The preoccupation with what Jews thought or intended to do rather than the consequences of what they actually did – a continuation of the dominant idealist approach of Israeli historical writing on Zionism and the Arab-Zionist conflict – is related to the rejection, shared by most traditional Israeli historians, of the notion that proper scholarly methods have political implications.12 Beinin’s observations on the political implications of scholarly methods are of paramount importance here. As Beinin makes explicit, Morris’s focus is on the Zionists’ intent ‘rather than the consequences of what they actually did’. Since the archives can reveal no definitive document (i.e. the ‘smoking gun’) outlining Zionists’ pre-meditated intention to systemically expel all or the vast majority of Palestinians from their land, then the fact, uncontested by Morris, that this is precisely what occurred is somehow rendered moot. In fact, however, as historian Nur Masalha argues, ‘it is difficult, using Morris’s own evidence, not to see on the part

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of the leaders of mainstream labor Zionism a de facto, forcible transfer policy in 1948’.13 Responding to Morris’s narrow focus on Israeli archival documents and his eschewing of Palestinian testimony, Ahmad Sa’di observes that ‘since Palestinian society disintegrated as a political entity during the war, and thus has not established national archives, it is unable, according to Morris, to put together a credible narrative regarding its own Nakba’.14 Joel Beinin, meanwhile, argues that Morris’s ‘empiricist and positivist historical method excludes Palestinian Arab voices’, adding, ‘because Morris found no Palestinian documents (and in any case could not read them if he did) comparable to Israeli documents, the experiences and understandings of Palestinians and other Arabs are rendered obscure, if not incomprehensible’.15 By limiting the problem to one of archival evidence, Morris can conveniently skirt Palestinian oral and unofficial histories, rendering mute the Palestinian narratives of the loss of their homeland and displacement into exile. A key challenge faced by Palestinians, then, has been to elucidate through testimony that which has been rendered obscure by the absence of archives; to make intelligible that which has been made incomprehensible. And while the Palestinians may lack the formal apparatuses of the state through which to transmit their narrative, they have found ample alternative means of doing so, not least of which has been the corpus of literature Palestinian authors have produced. Whether referencing the Nakba directly, through a depiction of its events, or obliquely through exposition on the condition of the Palestinians in the Nakba’s wake, Palestinian literary production gives valuable testimony into the traumatic events of the Nakba, ultimately elucidating the experiences of the Palestinians which would otherwise be obscured by too narrow an empirical emphasis on archival documents. For instance, Benny Morris asserts that ‘the keys to the Yishuv [read: Zionist] victory were its vastly superior motivation, a stronger economy, superior armaments, better military and administrative organisation, and its qualitative edge in manpower (better educated and militarily more experienced)’.16 In short, the Zionists were superior to their Palestinian adversaries in every significant respect, a fact that belies the popular perception of the war of 1948 as one between an Israeli David against an Arab Goliath. But (as shall be discussed in further detail below), the literary record is replete with references to the discrepancy of

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power between Zionist and Arab forces. One need only look at Samira Azzam’s ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’ (‘On the Way to Solomon’s ˙ Pools’) or ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’ (‘Bread of Sacrifice’), or Ghassan Kanafani’s ‘Ard al-burtuqa¯l al-hazı¯n’ (‘The Land of Sad Oranges’) to get a sense of ˙ ˙ the futile desperation the Palestinians experienced in fighting their 17 superior foe. And yet, in Morris’s methodology, there is no room for such forms of testimony. Memory, both collective and individual, and its obverse, testimony, in its myriad forms, therefore emerge as being of crucial importance. In the words of Lila Abu-Lughod and Ahmad H. Sa’di, ‘memory is one of the few weapons available to those against whom the tide of history has turned. It can slip in to rattle the wall. Palestinian memory is, by dint of its perseveration and social production under the conditions of its silencing by the thundering story of Zionism, dissident memory, counter-memory. It contributes to a counter-history’.18 The most obvious example of such ‘mnemonic practices’19 are oral histories passed on informally between family and friends, or formally through compilation projects such as the Al-Nakba Oral History Project.20 Similarly, Palestinian literary production both generally and specifically in the immediate post-Nakba period, has played a vital role in articulating the Palestinian experience of the Nakba and tribulations that ensued from it. For the Palestinians, remembering the Nakba ultimately becomes a crucial act of re-membering Palestine and its native community, dismembered and scattered after 1948.21 For while the Nakba undoubtedly constituted a cataclysmic tragedy for the Palestinians, embodied most literally in the dispersal of Palestinians into far-flung exile, so too did it unprecedentedly unite the Palestinian people. As Abu-Lughod and Sa’di posit, ‘for many Palestinians, the Nakba is touchstone of a hope for a reconstituted or refigured Palestine and a claim to rights’.22

Form and Function in Arabic Literature: Realism and the Nation In June of 1947 Jean-Paul Sartre published a series of articles in his journal, Les Temps Modernes, which would, in 1948, be collected into a volume entitled Qu’est-ce que la litte´rature? (What is Literature?).23 The essays (hereafter referred to by their collective title, What is Literature?) were a prolonged meditation on the role in society of the author and the

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literature s/he produces. Central to this was the notion of litte´rature engage´e, or committed literature in which Sartre elucidates the dialectical nature of literary production as, in fact, a co-production between author and reader. ‘The literary object’, writes Sartre, ‘is a peculiar top which exists only in movement. To make it come into view a concrete act called reading is necessary’.24 Therefore, ultimately: It is not true that one writes for oneself. That would be the worst blow. In projecting one’s emotions on paper, one barely manages to give them a languid extension. The creative act is only an incomplete and abstract moment in the production of a work [. . .] But the operation of writing implies that of reading as its dialectical correlative and these two connected acts necessitate two distinct agents. It is the joint effort of author and reader which brings upon the scene that concrete imaginary object which is the work of the mind. There is no art except for and by readers.25 Confronted by a notion such as ‘committed literature’, the logical question is ‘commitment to what?’ For Sartre, the answer is relatively simple: commitment to freedom – freedom of the author, freedom of the reader, human freedom broadly defined: For, since the one who writes recognizes, by the very fact that he takes the trouble to write, the freedom of his readers, and since the one who reads, by the mere fact of his opening the book, recognizes the freedom of the writer, the work of art, from whichever side you approach it, is an act of confidence in the freedom of men. And since readers, like the author, recognize this freedom only to demand that it manifest itself, the work can be defined as an imaginary presentation of the world in so far as it demands human freedom.26 Later, Sartre writes ‘whether he is an essayist, a pamphleteer, a satirist, or a novelist, whether he speaks only of individual passions or whether he attacks the social order, the writer, a free man addressing free men, has only one subject, freedom’.27 It is easy to see the appeal the notion of literary commitment would have had on the mid-twentieth-century Arab world. By 1950, when the concept of literary commitment, translated into Arabic as iltiza¯m,

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started to have common currency among Arab intellectuals, many Arab countries had only very recently succeeded in their quests for national independence and, even then, complete autonomy was oftentimes curtailed.28 In Egypt, for instance, the Arab world’s metropole of literary and cultural thought and production at the time, Britain maintained a military presence along the Suez Canal zone that would only be grudgingly and unwillingly withdrawn after the 1956 Suez Crisis/ Tripartite Aggression.29 Elsewhere in the Arab world, European colonization continued challenged but unabated. Finally, and perhaps most prominently, the Arab world had recently been dealt the humiliating defeat of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, the wounds from which were still raw. Indeed, the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 would prove pivotal in initiating a period of radical literary transformations, sending ripples throughout the Arabic literary establishment, fundamentally altering the literary landscape and the approach to literature itself. Paul Starkey, for instance, observes that: The experience of the Second World War [. . .] and the various dramatic changes in the Arab world that accompanied the loss of Palestine in 1948 and the end of the Egyptian monarchy in 1952, appear to have quickly led to signs of impatience with the sort of escape into unreality that the Romantic movement seemed to be promising [. . .] the new mood of political ‘engagement’, often involving a shift in focus towards something that might be termed ‘social realism’, was accompanied by radical structural changes in verse expression and by a new mood of experimentation with various types of ‘free verse’ and prose poetry, expressing in poetic form the need for new structures in Arab society and culture.30 Starkey’s observation on the equation of political engagement on the part of the writer with the social realist literary aesthetic is important to note. We shall see below that this realist turn, in addition to being inspired by Sartre’s notion of commitment, was also a reaction against the optimistic, self-oriented romanticism that preceded the Nakba. Bassam Frangieh is even more specific in attributing this tectonic shift in Arabic letters to the Nakba, stating:

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The Arab defeat in 1948 brought a loss of faith, despair, disbelief, and demoralization, which deeply affected the collective Arab psyche. This same catastrophe, however, became ‘a turning point for modern Arabic literature on a pan-Arab scale’ with poets reacting in unison to a new reality where literature should participate in the battle for change. Arab poets confronted these tragic events with a new attitude of defiance and challenge against this humiliating reality. In light of these dramatic occurrences, the School of Romanticism, which had dominated the Arab world’s literary circles between the two world wars, became totally inappropriate.31 Frangieh is, in part, quoting Salma Khadra Jayyusi: The Palestine disaster of 1948, with the great psychological and physical upheaval it produced, is perhaps the first event that may be accurately regarded as a turning point for modern Arabic literature on a pan-Arab scale. It represents a fundamental division between a time of relative calm and false confidence and hope, and a time of brutal self-realization, despair, deep loss of faith, anxiety, and general restlessness.32 While Palestinians would bear the overwhelming burden of the Nakba in the form of the loss of their homeland and dispersion into exile, the profound disillusionment with the status quo precipitated by the catastrophe would not be the Palestinians’ alone. Thus, while the Nakba would initiate in Arab society a period of introspection and disenchantment with the established order culminating in a dominolike fall of several regimes in revolutions or coups, so too did it prompt a literary revolution in the region as well.33 The issue of literary commitment came to the attention of Arab authors and intellectuals as early as 1947, as the essays that would come to comprise What is Literature? were being published in Les Temps Modernes. Then, the celebrated Egyptian thinker and writer, Taha Husayn, had noted the controversy that had erupted among French intellectuals over the issue of committed literature when, in 1945, ‘Sartre had called for the writer to take on responsibility toward his age’.34 The oftentimes defensive tone of the essays in What is Literature?

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is explained by the fact that, in response to his call, Sartre came under a flurry of criticism for ‘propagating tendentious literature’.35 The debate boiled down to one between art for art’s sake on one hand, and political (or politicized) art on the other, the latter of which was seen to place impediments upon artistic freedom as the Soviet experience with socialist realism demonstrated.36 Moreover, the Arab debate bears an uncanny resemblance to that which circulated between predominantly German thinkers such as Ernst Bloch, Berthold Brecht, Theodor Adorno, Georg Lukacs and Walter Benjamin. In both the European and Arab debates, questions of readers’ accessibility to the text and the political function of literary aesthetics are key.37 As Verena Klemm observes, ‘shortly after Taha Husain had introduced the term iltiza¯m to render Sartre’s view of literary commitment in a neutral way it came into use in the Marxist cultural scene in Syria and Egypt. Now, a writer was considered as committed (multazim) when he wrote according to the quite strict guidelines of socialist realism’.38 Some terminological slippage can be evinced here, between Starkey’s earlier assertion of ‘a shift in focus towards something that might be termed “social realism”’ on the one hand, and Klemm’s observations on the adoption of a socialist realism on the part of committed authors. This ambiguity, rather than indicating terminological imprecision, in actual fact sheds light upon the committed-aesthetic debates that reigned at the time leading Samah Selim to ask: What exactly was this new committed literature? Was literary commitment simply a question of the author’s thematic choices? Or did it constitute a specific literary school with common formal and linguistic strategies? There is a good deal of ambiguity surrounding this question in the analysis of contemporary critics. In many instances, terms like ‘progressive’ or ‘committed’ literature, ‘new realism’ (al-waqi‘iyyah al-jadidah) and ‘socialist realism’ (al-waqi‘iyyah al-ishtirakiyyah) have been used more or less interchangeably to describe the type of politically engaged fiction that emerged in the 1950s . . .39 This ambiguity among the very critics responsible for setting and defining the terms of debate complicates the already contentious term ‘realism’ in all its various manifestations. On the one hand, realism as an

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aesthetic form is concerned with the portrayal of scenes and/or events with verisimilitude, that is, ‘realistically’. On the other hand, there are significant connotations of an underlying political – and, not least, national – project informing the decision to write in a realist mode. Samah Selim therefore provides us with a useful definition of the term that aptly captures the intertwining of these aesthetic and political concerns: In this Arab context, realism is not simply understood as a technique of representation built on simple verisimilitude. Rather, realism here is constructed through a particular and very powerful discourse about collective social and political identity. Realism has to construct the basic elements of narrative fiction – time, place, character, plot – in a way that ‘mirrors’ the particular social, cultural and political reality (waqi‘) of the national collectivity. When Arab critics use the word ‘reality’ to talk about Arabic fiction, they mean ‘national reality’, a term that raises the specter of a whole set of specific historical and social issues such as colonialism and the anti-colonial struggle, the rise and hegemony of national bourgeoisies as well as the real and imagined social composition of the national community.40 Throughout our discussion, however, the limits and ambiguities inherent in so broad a term as ‘realism’ must be borne in mind. For, though Kanafani would come to eschew many of the modernist literary devices that he pioneered in the pre-1967 period and adopt a narrative style more concerned with verisimilitude, unlike Azzam, his primary preoccupation was not with any particular economic underclass, but rather with the evocation of an image of the strong, independent Palestinian resisting the occupation of her/his land and confronting Zionism, often through force of arms. Each of these, in their own way, is a form of realism, though the crucial differences between them risk erasure due to the term’s broadness and imprecision. In 1953, the influential monthly literary periodical al-A¯da¯b was started by the Lebanese author, Suhayl Idris. According to Badawi, al-A¯da¯b ‘perhaps more than any other [publication], helped to determine the course of modern Arabic literature’.41 It is therefore significant that

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al-A¯da¯b explicitly advocated literary commitment. Al-A¯da¯b’s inaugural editorial entitled ‘The Message of al-A¯da¯b’ opens: At this important turning point in modern Arab history young Arab intellectuals are growing increasingly aware of the need for a literary periodical with a fully conscious message. As an expression of the consciousness of this vital need, al-A¯da¯b has been issued with its message based on the following broad principles: It is the conviction of this Review that literature is an intellectual activity directed to a great and noble end, which is that of effective literature that interacts with society: it influences society just as much as it is influenced by it. The present situation of Arab countries makes it imperative for every citizen, each in his own field, to mobilize all his efforts for the express object of liberating the homeland, raising its political, social, and intellectual level. In order that literature may be truthful it is essential that it should not be isolated from the society in which it exists. The main aim of this Review is to provide a platform for those fully conscious writers who live the experience of their age and who can be regarded as its witness. In reflecting the needs of Arab society and in expressing its preoccupations, they pave the way for reformers to put things right with all the effective means available. Consequently the kind of literature which this Review calls for and encourages is the literature of commitment (iltizam) which issues from Arab society and pours back into it.42 Given this state of affairs it seems only natural that committed literature, with its emancipatory goals, should find such fertile ground in the Arab world in which to strike roots. But Sartre’s literary theory was not transplanted, wholesale and unaltered, from the Parisian Left Bank to Cairo, Beirut or Damascus. Rather, in the same manner in which European literary genres such as the novel and short story were adopted, improvised upon and adapted to suit local conditions in the Middle East, so too was the concept of committed literature. For instance, Sartre had gone to great pains to exclude poetry from the obligations of literary commitment in What is Literature? David Caute explains that for Sartre, ‘prose . . . is capable of a purposeful reflection of the world, whereas poetry is an end in itself.

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In prose, words are significative; they describe men and objects. In poetry, the words are ends in themselves’.43 However, the privileged position poetry enjoyed (in contrast to the relatively arriviste genres of prose fiction) and the long-established political function performed by poetry dating back to pre-Islamic Arabia meant that, in the Arab context, poetry was expected to be just as committed as the novel, short story or play.44 By 1957, literary commitment had achieved such primacy in the Arab world that authors who appeared to reject it were subject to excoriation by their peers. Thus, for instance, at the third conference of Arab writers held in Cairo in December of 1957 under the theme of ‘Literature and Arab Nationalism’, the celebrated Tunisian author Mahmoud Mas’adi delivered a paper advocating the inviolability of the author’s freedom from dogma or ideology saying, in part: A Writer may find that he grows in humanity by plunging deeper inside himself [. . .] to the extent that he may appear to us to be exclusively devoted to what is called art for art’s sake or to life in an ivory tower. Yet through his art he may still draw us to his greater humanity, thereby raising us as individuals and communities to noble and sublime heights, just as another writer may find that he grows in humanity by enlarging the scope of his individuality through contact with the multitude and joining the lives of millions.45 Mas’adi’s position is, in the words of Badawi, ‘moderate, if not cautious or even apologetic’ in its call for authorial autonomy. And yet, the response to his paper was ‘vehemently hostile’. There was little intellectual space in the politically charged atmosphere of the time for what was seen as deviant individualism. Thus, almost in response to Mas’adi’s sentiments, the Egyptian critic Abdulazim Anis would write in 1958, with no intended hyperbole, that ‘unless a writer accepts his responsibility towards himself, his community, his country and nationality, his freedom may turn into anarchy and become a means of bringing about the destruction of our social life’.46 The strictures placed upon Arab committed authors extended to both content and form. The ascendancy of committed literature from the early 1950s was as much a reaction to the romanticism that had dominated

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Arab letters as it was inspired by Sartre’s concept. But even this seemingly wholly aesthetic-literary debate was influence by sociopolitical realities. As Badawi notes: the reaction [against romanticism] was prompted by a growing painful awareness of the harsh political and social realities in the Arab world, an awareness that was later reinforced by subsequent events ranging from the horrors of the Arab-Israeli wars, the plight of the Palestinians, oppressive Arab regimes, the Iran-Iraq war, to inter-Arab strife and the civil war in Lebanon.47 Thus, in the Arab context literary commitment came to mean realist literature almost exclusively. In What is Literature? Sartre seems to prevaricate on questions of form and aesthetics. On the one hand, he writes that ‘all this does not prevent there being a manner of writing. One is not a writer for having chosen to say certain things, but for having chosen to say them in a certain way’.48 Only a short while later, however, he goes on to say: There is nothing to be said about form in advance, and we have said nothing. Everyone invents his own, and one judges it afterwards. It is true that the subjects suggest the style, but they do not order it. There are no styles ranged a priori outside the literary art [. . .] In short, it is a matter of knowing what one wants to write about, whether butterflies or the condition of the Jews. And when one knows, then it remains to decide how one will write about it.49 While Sartre stops short of prescribing any particular formal technique to the committed writer, he states unambiguously in the former passage that form is, nonetheless, central to being a writer. Such apparent ambivalences allowed Arab thinkers and critics to emphasize certain aspects of Sartre’s writings while discarding others. Realism, then, emerged as the only ‘legitimate’ expression of literary commitment. Both the romanticism that preceded it, and the modernism which was starting to make inroads into Arabic literature by the 1960s, were seen to be negligently and self-indulgently individualistic. On romanticism, Badawi notes: ‘the dominant mood of ‘romanticism’, which made itself felt particularly in poetry between the two world wars, tended to

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encourage the author’s concern with his subjective experiences and private sorrows’.50 Thus, in 1951, Al-Thaqa¯fah would publish a series of articles attacking romanticism entitled Al-Adab al-da¯ll (The Erring ˙ Literature), labelling romanticism ‘adolescent’.51 While romanticism was seen as overly self-indulgent for the purposes of committed literature, modernist writing was dismissed as obscurantist and inaccessible to the masses. The question of accessibility was central as Arab advocates of literary commitment sought to produce literature that would raise the consciousness of the masses. If the masses are unable to comprehend modernism’s abstractions, argued the advocates of committed realist literature, how then to emancipate the reader? Not even as established an author as Ghassan Kanafani who, by mere virtue of being Palestinian, not to mention his active political engagement, could scarcely be denied full ‘committed’ credentials, could escape the critics’ wrath when, in 1966, he published his most daring and modernist work, Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum (All That’s Left to You, 2004).52 Aida Azouqa notes how: Kanafani’s eschewing of those conventions in All That’s Left in favor of the stream-of-consciousness of multiple narrators resulted in a controversial deception: one group of readers applauded Kanafani’s artistic innovations, while the supporters of committed literature considered the novella a subversive text that sacrificed content, that is, a commitment to socio-political causes, for fictional virtuosity or literary accomplishment.53 Thus, for the duration of its reign, literary commitment, narrowly interpreted by many Arab intellectuals as literary realism would, as Sartre’s critics feared, prove to be an impediment to literary exploration and experimentation. Meanwhile, the issue of nationalism, almost completely absent from Sartre’s discussion of literary commitment, took centre stage in the Arab world. While there were numerous points of divergence and disagreement among Arab intellectuals over various aspects of literary commitment, nationalism always remained at its core in the Arab context.54 Thus, Badawi notes that use of the term iltiza¯m ‘has grown steadily in popularity and is now repeated ad nauseum by every upstart

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critic. Its meaning has become so diffuse that now it means adopting a Marxist stand, now it expresses an existentialist position, but at all times, it denotes a certain measure of nationalism’.55 During the interwar years it was romanticism that would serve as the vehicle for literary expressions of nationalism. But with romanticism discredited by the aforementioned harsh socio-political realities of the post- World War II Arab world combined with the rising popularity of Marxism and socialism as emancipatory ideologies, realism would come to express the renewed sense of nationalist sentiment. The fusion of realism with nationalism that Selim identified earlier and which Badawi highlights above testifies to the importance of literary aesthetic to the text’s content. Put another way, the conflation of realism with nationalism and political commitment speaks to the inseparability of form and function in the text. Little wonder then that Arab intellectuals, critics, and authors would become so exercised over the issue of literary aesthetics even while addressing the most ponderous national issues facing their respective societies. Andreas Pflitsch summarizes the matter as follows: ‘engagement was posited as a necessity and hardly ever called into question. The principal spark kindling controversy was the means of this commitment; at issue was not whether literature should be committed to social and political causes, but how it was to undertake this mission’.56 In the remainder of this chapter we will examine two very different approaches to this question. Samira Azzam, post-Nakba pioneer of the short story and early proto/feminist literary voice, would by and large adhere to the realist principles in the name of socially committed literature, highlighting in particular issues of class in what can be characterized as a social realist aesthetic. As shall become evident, however, in doing so she also seems to come up against realism’s limits to adequately express her social critique of gender relations, forcing her to take tentative steps into the realm of interiority usually considered the domain of modernism. Ghassan Kanafani, by contrast, would go against the grain, pioneering modernist literary devices such as abstraction, interrupted temporal and spatial flows, and fragmented narratives in the period preceding 1967 in order to comment on the Palestinian nation’s state of fragmentation and dispersal, only to then revert to conventional, realist narrative in the period following 1967 until his assassination in 1972.57

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Samira Azzam58 Although today Samira Azzam (1927 – 67) and her works languish for the most part in undeserved obscurity, she would have been familiar to many of her contemporaries, not only as a prolific author of short stories, but also as a pioneer of radio broadcasting in many of the Arab world’s burgeoning radio stations as the itinerancy of her exile from Palestine after 1948 led her to Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq and Jordan. Azzam’s was one of the first post-Nakba Palestinian literary voices to emerge, playing a significant but now woefully unacknowledged role during this crucial period of Palestinian literary production. The few attempts at addressing her literary contributions have tended to focus primarily on the particularistically ‘Palestinian’ aspects of her writing. As these studies note, however, explicit mention of Palestine or the Palestinian people is conspicuously absent from the overwhelming bulk of Azzam’s oeuvre, emerging only late in her short life.59 Instead, with characters that are often unnamed and in no specified location, Azzam’s primary thematic concern seem to be class-based as she depicts the daily toils and hardships of the underclass, male and female alike, in the avowedly realist style that was ascendant in Arabic literature in the 1950s and into the 1960s, graphically demonstrating the ongoing effects of the Nakba on Palestinians’ everyday lives. Though perhaps obscured by this more overriding preoccupation with class, women’s concerns are by no means absent from Azzam’s works. Rather, Azzam’s writings should be considered seminally proto-feminist, prefiguring the more overtly feminist writings of later, better-known authors such as Liana Badr or Sahar Khalifeh. In contrast to these later authors who would inextricably intertwine the themes of class, gender and nation, Azzam largely compartmentalizes these thematic categories, particularly when it comes to gendered critiques of nationalism. Instead, those of her writings that directly address Palestine and its loss, few though they may be, demonstrate the replication of masculinist discourses on Palestinian displacement. More common was Azzam’s linking of issues of class, so prevalent throughout her writings, and gender, though here too Azzam often seems to place a majority of her rhetorical emphasis on economic concerns. Tellingly, however, in those works of hers where the themes

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of gender and class intersect, Azzam demonstrates departures from the staunch realism that was her favoured mode of writing, and towards a more interior narrative that elucidates the inner psyche of her female characters. Although these impulses towards greater interiority are tentative and by no means constitute a break from the realism that enjoyed primacy in Arabic belle-lettres at the time, this is nonetheless significant insofar as interiority and a pronounced move towards modernist narrative would come to be one of the defining characteristics of subsequent, overtly feminist Palestinian authors. These later, feminist authors’ use of profound interiority and stream of consciousness narrative would serve to highlight the circumscribed roles afforded to women and the psychic toll taken by social patriarchy. This aesthetic would figure prominently in such central feminist works as Liana Badr’s short story, ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ (1985, I Want the Day – to be discussed in detail in Chapter 2) and Sahar Khalifeh’s novel Mudhakkara¯t imraʾa ghayr wa¯qiʿiyya (1986, Memoirs of an Unrealistic Woman).60

Gender and Nationalism in the Short Stories of Samira Azzam The connection between female subjectivity and Palestinian nationalism would become a perennial theme in the works of later Palestinian female authors such as Liana Badr, Sahar Khalifeh, Adania Shibli or Randa Jarrar. Among the hallmarks of these authors would be the expression of the tensions that exist between the liberation of Palestinian women on the one hand, and patriarchal modes of nationalism on the other. In Azzam’s case, however, not only are gender critiques largely absent from the few stories directly or explicitly addressing the Palestinian nationhood and displacement, but moreover, she displays a marked tendency to deploy conventional masculinist tropes in her writings on Palestine and its loss. Such masculinist-nationalist tropes have proven particularly resilient, both in literary and popular discourses. Writing as late as 2003, Amal Amireh comments upon the ‘limitation of the current Palestinian feminist discourse that continues to recycle a nationalist patriarchal ideology regarding women’s bodies and sexuality’.61 It is therefore not entirely surprising that Azzam, writing as she does in the early period of post-Nakba Palestinian identity formation, would work within a

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masculinist-patriarchal framework where issues of nationalism are involved. It is only with the publication of her third collection of short stories, Wa-qisas ukhra¯ (And Other Stories), in 1960, that overt reference to the ˙ ˙ Palestinian Nakba is made. Despite, or perhaps paradoxically, because of the conspicuous absence of explicit references to Palestine, an overarching concern with the situation of the Palestinian people emerges. Exemplary of the short story genre so favoured by Azzam, it is often what is omitted, what remains unsaid and in ellipsis in her writing, that matches the significance of the explicitly asserted. This is Adania Shibli’s point when she writes in her short story, ‘Out of Time’, that Azzam’s story, ‘Al-sa¯ʿa wa-al-insa¯n’ (1963, Time and Man) ‘actually contributed towards shaping my consciousness regarding the question of Palestine as no other text I have ever read in my life has done’.62 It is meant to be an ironic observation, for as the speaker in Shibli’s story (who may or may not be Shibli herself) observes regarding the Arabic literature she encountered in Israel as a schoolchild: The curriculum back then was, and it still is, subject to the approval of the Israeli Censorship Bureau, which embraced texts from various Arab countries, except for Palestine, fearing that these would contain references or even hints that could raise the pupils’ awareness of the Palestinian question. Hence, Palestinian literature was considered unlawful, if not a taboo, similar to pornography – except for one text, ‘The Time and Man’, a short story by Samira Azzam, which the Censorship Bureau found ‘harmless’.63 Indeed one can see why Israeli censors would overlook ‘Al-sa¯ʿa wa-linsa¯n’. In Azzam’s story, an employee is mysteriously awoken without fail by an old man punctually knocking on his door. As it transpires, the elderly man’s son died when, in a hurry having awoken late one morning, he misses his train and dies beneath its wheels whilst running after it trying to climb aboard. Since then, the old man swore to punctually awaken the company’s employees each morning so that no others should suffer the same fate. The story is typical of so many of Azzam’s in that explicit markers of national identity are absent. With the indeterminate nationality and locale of its characters and the mundane plot, the censors’

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lack of objection to the story is understandable. Thus, Shibli writes, ‘At first glance, the story may seem simple and ‘safe’, especially before the censor’s eyes’.64 Far from being ‘harmless’, or ‘safe’, for Shibli’s narrator the story was incendiary. Putting her finger on the unease engendered by the conspicuous absence of reference to Palestine or its people from the narrative, Shibli’s narrator goes on to pointedly ask: ‘Were there one day Palestinian employees who commuted to work by train? Was there a train station? Was there a train honking? Was there one day a normal life in Palestine? And where is it now and why has it gone?’65 Similar questions can be asked of all of Azzam’s stories of quotidian life where mention of Palestine and the Palestinians is conspicuously absent. Azzam’s studied avoidance of the Nakba corresponds with what, in the context of the Irish short story, Ronan McDonald has called ‘strategies of silence’. McDonald observes: given the stringency and economy which the tightness of its form imposes to some degree, the short story is geared towards the unsaid and suggested, rather than the elaborately articulated. It does not develop the leisurely analysis of character or the sustained investigation of social milieu that the novel enjoys. It tends to deploy the wry, sidelong glance rather than dwelling in the ‘knowable community’ that Raymond Williams characterizes as the province of the realist novel. It relies, in other words, on strategies of silence.66 Given this, McDonald goes on to assert that the short story form: has proved remarkably congenial for emerging or post-colonial literatures. The expressive gaps or silences of the short story can be powerful indicators of muteness [. . .] It can use its eccentricities and ellipsis to work against dominant discourse, to give voice to occluded narratives without simply reproducing the languages of authority.67 While the conspicuous absence of mention of the Nakba in Azzam’s writings could, according to one interpretation, be read as being indicative of an unwillingness to address the calamity that has befallen

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the Palestinian people, according to McDonald’s notion of the short story’s ‘strategies of silence’, and as demonstrated by the impression left by such conspicuous absence on Adania Shibli’s narrator in ‘Out of Time’, such omissions or silences can in fact be deployed, consciously or not, to make a far more forceful argument about the Nakba than addressing it directly. Thus, the conspicuous absence of mention of the Nakba in the writings of Samira Azzam not only draws attention to the Nakba itself, but to the very phenomenon of its omission, and ultimately to the issue of the Palestinians’ ability to narrate and be heard. Wa qisas ukhra¯ contains two stories that explicitly address the ˙ ˙ Palestinian Nakba of 1948, ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’ (On the Way ˙ to Solomon’s Pools) and ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’ (‘Bread of Sacrifice’, 1992).68 Both of these stories depict men engaged in futile, and ultimately doomed struggles to defend Palestinian villages against assaults by Zionist forces. Women, meanwhile, occupy auxiliary, traditionally nurturing roles. In the case of ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q . . . ’ the woman’s role is that of ˙ wife of a village defender and mother of their child. Her role is one of moral support and little else: ‘His wife stood behind him, strengthening his will to hold his ground while trying to subdue her terror at the flashes of falling shells’.69 The focus in ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q . . . ’ is instead upon masculinity, or more ˙ accurately, its undermining in the face of the inability to fulfil traditionally masculine duties such as protecting one’s home and family. The disparity of power and weaponry between the poorly armed Palestinian defenders and the superior Zionist forces results in seemingly inescapable phallic metaphors. The first lines of the story read: ‘He knew it was an uneven battle, for his bullets, despite their anger, would do nothing more than invite another shower of destruction. He knew firing was a form of futility, for his machinegun was little more than a child’s plaything in the face of continuous shelling’.70 Here ‘childhood’ is configured as the antithesis of ‘manhood’. The comparison of the man’s gun to a toy is meant to emphasize the man’s emasculation due to his inability to adequately meet his masculine duty to protect his home and family. This is an important point to bear in mind, for in the coming chapters we will see the figure of the Palestinian child emerge as the paragon of Palestinian resistance in contrast to the discredited older generation (such as the man in ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q . . .’) who presided over the ˙ loss of Palestine. This produces a dialectic between childhood and

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masculinity, wherein the older generation of men is emasculated for its failure to fulfil its duty to preserve the Palestinian homeland for its children, while subsequent generations, the children of those men who take up the mantle of resistance in order to liberate the Palestinian homeland are valorized. The impotence of the man’s weapon is emphasized once again a short while later when the narrator observes ‘A rifle against a canon? Like a dwarf against a giant’.71 Any ambiguity about the intimate connection between the man’s (wanting) weaponry and his masculinity is made explicit. For while ‘he did not feel as though he lost his manhood in the face of incoming fire’: He looked to his wife. She was weeping. This was the first time she’d felt scared. It was as though the empty rifle made her feel that Hasan’s heroism was nothing more than a little boy’s game, and that the lines of young men that he’d arduously trained were nothing more than dolls in the hands of a frivolous child. Was there anything he could give his wife? Some form of assurance that would give her comfort? He felt that his empty machine gun, with its impotent wood, was responsible for the affront to his manhood and that without any bullets he’d die a mouse’s death in his home.72 Hasan is infantilized repeatedly in the passage, his heroism belittled as ‘nothing more than a little boy’s game’, the soldiers he trained, mere ‘dolls in the hand of a frivolous child’. This infantilization gives way to emasculation as a direct comparison is made between Hasan’s wanting weaponry and masculinity. As alluded to above, in Chapter 3 we will see the inversion of this trope of infantilization in the writings of Ibrahim Nasrallah. There, in the context of the Intifada of 1987, it is children, and indeed infants that are portrayed and perceived as threats to Israel for their recalcitrance and the symbol of posterity they come to represent. Despite the passage of 40 years since the Nakba, during which time subsequent generations have been born and raised never knowing an independent Palestinian homeland, Palestinian children remain a thorn in Israel’s side, resisting its occupation very often through the very ‘little boys’ games’ dismissed as ineffectual in the passage above. Here, however, Hasan goes from a ‘frivolous child’ to an emasculated male, and

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is ultimately dehumanized altogether – a meek mouse meeting death in its own abode. At the prospect of not just his own death, but also that of his wife and, most importantly, his young son, Hasan decides to take leave of the house and escape to a neighbouring village, the titular Birak Sulayma¯n (Solomon’s Pools). It is in the course of this escape that the couple’s young child, held by his father, is shot by a stray bullet and killed. Thus, even in attempting to escape to save his family, the man ultimately fails in his patriarchal duty through the killing of his son. This bleak end is attenuated only by the father burying the son beneath an almond tree – mirroring the almond tree he planted in his garden the day his son was born – in a symbol of perpetuity. What is Azzam ultimately trying to say about the confluence of masculinity and nationalism here? Does the death of Hasan’s son undermine the notions of masculine duty Hasan was trying to fulfil in protecting his family, or does it signify the fall of Palestine itself? Either of these interpretations can be supported by the text. And while Azzam never comes close to critiquing masculinist nationalism per se, the ambivalence evinced in ‘Fı¯ al-Tarı¯q . . . ’ would, as ˙ we shall see below, find clearer expression in Azzam’s critique of patriarchal society. Perhaps Azzam’s best-known work is ‘Khubz al-fida¯ʾ’ (1960, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’ 1992). Although it places more emphasis on the role of the female protagonist, the nurse Su’ad, the story nonetheless rehearses many of the same masculinist tropes whereby the Palestinian homeland, and its ultimate loss, are metonymically projected upon a female character.73 Once again the story depicts an ultimately doomed attempt by a group of Palestinian fighters to protect a Palestinian town. Assigned to defend a hospital, the male protagonist, Ramiz, strikes up an acquaintance with the nurse Su’ad that quickly evolves into romance. As the story makes clear, this blossoming romance is inextricably intertwined with the struggle to preserve the Palestinian homeland: That spring, Ramiz learned about two things – love and war – and the first gave meaning to the second. War was not simply an enemy to kill voraciously. Rather, it was an assertion of the life of the land he loved and the woman he loved. Palestine was not only a sea with fishing boats, and oranges shining like gold, and not just olives and olive oil filling the big oil jars. It was Su’ad’s black eyes

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as well. In Su’ad’s eyes he saw all of Palestine’s goodness. He saw the image of a happy home for him, and a wife who would bear him young heroes and make her love the meaning of his existence.74 The passage, brief though it may be, is veritably saturated by gendered tropes of nationhood that would become so familiar in Palestinian writings. Notably, while the text of the story makes explicit reference to the fact that Ramiz trains female volunteers to handle weapons and fight, we are given nothing more than a glimpse of them in passing reference. Instead, the focus is on Su’ad, the archetypal nurturing female, a Palestinian Florence Nightingale figure who tends to wounded Palestinian fighters and knits them clothing in her spare time. It is this woman, and not the ones he trains to fight, who gives meaning to Ramiz’s struggle to preserve Palestine. It is in her ‘eyes [that] he saw all of Palestine’s goodness’, and, crucially to a gendered national Palestinian narrative that so often equates women with their wombs, it is Su’ad ‘who would bear him young heroes’. Here, again, as we saw in ‘Fı¯ al-Tarı¯q . . . ’ ˙ Azzam not only balks at critiquing the gendered national narrative, but is in fact an active participant in it, reifying the image of Palestine embodied in idealized female form. Amal Amireh partially quotes the above passage in particular to demonstrate her assertion that ‘we find in the work of both male and female writers a reproduction of the dominant gendered national narrative’.75 In tandem with the loss of Palestine, however, the romance between Su’ad and Ramiz is ultimately thwarted. Su’ad becomes a regular visitor to Ramiz and his comrade’s position, bringing them food and cigarettes despite the danger to her life posed by venturing to the increasingly perilous front lines. Here Azzam makes a tentative nod toward women’s agency and independence. For, the rest of Su’ad’s family has fled, her brother exhorting her to join and slapping her when she refuses. When Ramiz asks her whether she chose to remain because of him, Su’ad ‘explodes in his face’ (the translation uses the rather more subdued phrase ‘she blurted out’), saying: ‘no, not because of you. Yes, I love you, it’s true. Still you’re not everything’.76 Thus, Su’ad has her own independent motivations for staying, namely, the defence of her homeland, which is not subordinate to her acknowledged love for Ramiz.

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It is in the course of one of her trips to the front lines that Su’ad is fatally shot, ‘baptizing’ the loaves of bread she was carrying to the men with her blood.77 Here the symbolism shifts as Su’ad becomes a Christlike figure. Isolated on the front lines and besieged by enemy forces, the men under Ramiz’s command have run out of food and are starving. The only thing available for them to eat is the bread, soaked with Su’ad’s blood. Ramiz initially dismisses the thought of eating the bread as too terrible: ‘Could he bear to see the hands tearing off a piece and chewing the bread she had stained with her blood? . . . No, it would never happen, even if they all had to die’.78 It is only when the thought of avenging Su’ad’s death dawns upon Ramiz that he sees the virtue in partaking of the bread in the hopes that it will sustain them so that they can live to fight another day. Thus, in addition to symbolizing Palestine Su’ad also carries the messianic connotations of Christ, a symbol which, though somewhat more removed, nonetheless has national resonance, with Palestine as the land of Christ’s birth.79 She is both the reason to go on fighting and, ultimately, their salvation. With him and his comrades playing the roles of the disciples, Ramiz replays the scene of The Last Supper in his mind: They would form a circle around him. Then he would rise and bring the loaves of bread. As he put his hand out to open the basket he would tell them an ancient story known to this land and its people, the story of the redemption of life by flesh and blood. Then he would bring the loaves and, with all the solemnity of an Eastern Orthodox priest offering the bread of Jesus, he would tell them: ‘Eat, for this is my body; drink, for this is my blood’. He would also eat some himself, and something of Su’ad would remain in him. Weakened by hunger, however, all Ramiz manages to utter is ‘Eat . . . Su’ad would not have wanted us to die of hunger’, before he falls ‘senseless to the ground’.80 On the one hand, Azzam undoubtedly confines Su’ad to the traditional role of nurturer and the female embodiment of the land for which Ramiz is fighting. Read in such a manner, her death and the thwarted burgeoning romance between her and Ramiz can be understood as an early articulation of the now familiar, perhaps even hackneyed symbolic feminization of the lost Palestinian homeland.

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There is certainly much in Azzam’s use of language and imagery to reinforce this reading of the text. On the other hand, Su’ad’s decision to remain in the face of her brother’s patriarchal authority, her death, and particularly the messianic overtones it carries, invert the normally masculinist discourse of martyrdom by having the woman die so that the men can live. This point is to a large extent obscured by the overall rhetorical thrust of ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, but it tentatively gestures towards a feminist subversion of conventional masculinist-nationalist discourse surrounding Palestine and its loss. Ultimately, Azzam’s attitude towards nationalist struggle, to whatever limited extent it can be gleaned from the few of her stories which directly address the issue, is the product of a period when nationalism was still believed to hold great promise for the emancipation of the Palestinian people as a whole.81 This was a period before the iconoclastic defeat of 1967 would shake the foundations of trust in the Arab world’s newly minted generation of nationalist leaders and during which the Palestinians themselves were looking to form a nationalist leadership to replace the ancien regime of notable families and absentee landowners that had been so ineffectual (or overtly complicit) during their confrontation with the Zionists.82 Thus, as we shall see below, Azzam’s more barbed feminist critiques are aimed at the more nebulous notion of ‘society’. Nationalism, its leaders and its armed men like Ramiz or the father from ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q . . . ’ either emerge ˙ unscathed or are valorized in Azzam’s romantic depictions of their struggle. The inherent tensions that exist between the liberation and equality of women on the one hand, and the patriarchal and paternalistic forms of nationalism that were so endemic to anti-colonial nationalist movements of the period on the other, would only later come to be examined in prose fiction by authors such as Liana Badr or Sahar Khalifeh. These writers and others would be informed not only by their own bitter disappointment in nationalism and its leaders to deliver on their promises, but also cautionary tales such as Algeria, which saw women frustrated in their attempts to achieve their goals within the framework of nationalism.83

Gender and Class in the Short Stories of Samira Azzam The story, ‘Al-ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’ (1954, ‘The Little Things’) is a ˙ representative example of Azzam’s ambivalent approach to women’s

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issues in much of her literature.84 The story of a young and, typically for Azzam, unnamed, schoolgirl discovering her first inklings of love and romance, it is in many ways a classic coming-of-age story marked by a generational critique in the form of the girl’s gradual rejection of her parents’ and spinster aunt’s assertions that she is different from her peers: purer, more virtuous, in short, better; the model of how an upstanding, ‘good’ girl should be. The girl initially embraces this view, believing herself to be better than her peers whom she self-righteously perceives as frivolously interested in the opposite sex. For their part, the girls among her peers call her old-fashioned and stupid (‘that stupid girl, she lives with the mentality of her mother and father and her spinster aunt’.)85 Such generational critiques would become a staple of Palestinian literary production in general, and the Palestinian feminist literary idiom in particular, as feminist writers came to question the patriarchal traditions and customs – perpetuated by mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles alike – that subordinate women to men, including notions of female ‘honour’ and ‘respectability’.86 The generational critique therefore carries within it dual gendered valences. On the one hand, it is used to criticize traditional patriarchal social customs and mores that circumscribe women’s agency, as demonstrated in ‘Al-ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’. On the ˙ other hand, as alluded to earlier in the discussion about emasculation and imagery of the child in ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’, the ˙ generational critique potentially undermines the very notion of masculinity itself, positing the child as the primary agent of resistance and salvation, normally the domain of the male figure. In launching her indictment of the older generation, Azzam touches on several of the issues that would be raised in a more sustained manner by later feminist authors, including the panoptic system of surveillance and gossip that monitors the comings and goings of all, but carries particularly dire consequences for women should they become its subject. Thus, for instance, the young female protagonist in ‘Al-ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’ is overcome by worry and doubt following her first exchange ˙ with the object of her affections, which occurs on a public bus: ‘She felt somewhat anxious. She felt as though she’d been more loquacious with him than was necessary, and worried that prying eyes had seen her with him’.87 Ultimately, however, the girl’s affection for the boy overcomes her anxieties about social mores.

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It is these same affections that cause her first to doubt, and ultimately to reject, the ‘virtues’ with which she had been inculcated by her parents and aunt – the spinsterhood of the latter always explicitly referenced in the text. It is in this respect that the potential for a more forcefully feminist assertion of the rejection of the virtues of ‘honour’ and ‘respectability’ foisted onto women is compromised. For the protagonist’s emancipation from her family’s restrictive notions of propriety comes only through romantic union with a man. In ‘Al-ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’ this is put explicitly, as the boy becomes a messianic figure ˙ marking a distinct and significant juncture in the young girl’s life: ‘Since meeting him there were two periods in her life: before and after’.88 The story’s end serves to emphasize the point. Having walked for some distance with the boy to a deserted spot free from prying eyes, the couple kiss for the first time, and the girl’s thoughts of how far away they had walked dissipate: ‘She didn’t know, didn’t want to know. All she knew, all she was aware of, all she felt was the feeling of a new life, one born in this instant’.89 Thus, it is only through the consummation of romantic union with a male in the form of a chaste kiss – anything more would be too radical for Azzam – that the girl is unshackled from the teachings of her elders. The neighbourhood rumour mill about which the protagonist of ‘Al-Ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’ was so worried plays a more prominent and ˙ more insidious role in another of Azzam’s stories, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ ˙ (1954; ‘Her Tale’ 2006), which would advance a more forceful indictment of social patriarchy.90 ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ is told in the form of a ˙ letter from a young woman to her brother. Over the course of the letter the reader comes to learn how the children were orphaned when the girl was 14 and her brother 5, ultimately leading the young girl into a life of prostitution and the boy on a mission to reclaim his ‘honour’ by shooting his sister with a gun he can scarcely afford to purchase. Thus, Azzam intertwines the questions of class and economic survival about which she is ever concerned, with some tentative, feminist critiques of the rhetoric of honour and sexual double standards. Desperate for a means for survival after being orphaned, the young girl begins working in a textile factory where she soon catches the eye of the lascivious factory owner. From there, as the sister later explains to her brother in her letter:

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The game of cat and mouse dragged out between the boss and me, my nerves weakened and the long chase ran them down. One day the prey stumbled. The vile man kicked her onto the street, stripped of dignity, cheated out of pride, scared, bewildered, tearful, crushed. Malice plagued her, contempt hounded her everywhere.91 That the narrator is ‘plagued’ by malice, ‘hounded’ by contempt is owed to the rumours of her (but not the factory manager’s) sexual transgression reaching her neighbourhood before even she is able to. As the sister writes, ‘lips opened not to excuse or defend, or to ask for God’s protection, but to curse and shred’.92 Once again, the informal panoptic system of surveillance plays a role in circumscribing the girl’s actions, though this time with dire consequences. Unable to return to the neighbourhood, the girl descends into what she calls a ‘black hell that swallowed a victim every day and yet always hungrily demanded more . . . there I learned to reduce my humanity in the crucible of spite. There I learned to hate, to avenge, to do many more things . . . And I learned the trade!’93 ‘The trade’ here is understood to mean prostitution, the prostitute representing archetypal ‘fallen woman’. As with ‘Khubz al-fida¯ʾ’, there is a certain ambivalence to the feminist critique in ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’. Undoubtedly, indictments of social sexual ˙ double standards and the discourse surrounding women’s ‘honour’, are present. However, Azzam’s rhetorical emphasis is placed on economic rather than gender considerations. It is the children’s poverty following their being orphaned that forces the girl to work in the factory in the first place. Following the manager’s initial advances she leaves the factory to work as a domestic servant in an affluent household, but she leaves without being paid after being beaten by the lady of the house for breaking two cups. Here Azzam is explicit in identifying the lady of the house as the culprit whilst omitting any mention of the patriarch, thus driving a wedge between essentializing notions of female solidarity and ultimately placing class divisions above those of sex or gender.94 Perhaps most profoundly, however, the girl’s plea to her brother to spare her life by selling the gun comes not from a sense of selfpreservation on her part, nor as a protest against the social mores that would have her brother kill his sister to restore his honour, but rather a

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desire to see her brother clothed and fed with the money he would get from the sale of the gun. Having previously established that the brother would have had to scrimp and save for weeks to be able to afford to purchase a gun, the story’s final lines read: ‘As for this clumsy gun, take it and sell it, my little one . . . and buy yourself a shirt that covers your naked shoulders instead of this torn one that you haven’t taken off your back for the two weeks you devoted to watching our alley, ever since the thought of revenge drew you . . . to your sister!’95 Therefore, while ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ broaches many of the issues that would become central to ˙ later feminist Palestinian writers, Azzam ultimately complicates them by rhetorically subordinating these to questions of class and of economic existence afflicting both men and women. A more syncretist approach that intimately intertwines issues of gender and economic survival, rather than the compartmentalization evident hitherto, can be found in ‘Nası¯b’ (1956, ‘Fate’, 1988). The issue ˙ of female agency is central to ‘Nası¯b’, which takes place on the wedding ˙ day of a young woman. Through flashback and the omniscient narrator’s telling of the woman’s inner thoughts we learn of her initial rejection of the marriage, followed by ambivalence, and finally acquiescence: Oh, how confused she was, wavering between saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and how feeble she felt in the face of that strange power which her mother’s female friends agreed to call ‘Fate’. Earlier, as a schoolgirl, she had consistently refused to recognise the existence of this reactionary word in her vocabulary, a word which had filled her mother’s and her grandmother’s minds before her time. But she did not subscribe to this school of believers in ‘Fate’, for ‘Fate’ is the drug of those whose will is broken, and she was not, not one of them. But was it really within her power to rebel against ‘Fate’ which had led her to where she was now without any significant resistance from her, and without the least attempt on her part to prove herself or to assert her right to choose? Still, what was more strange, in a way, was that she had not said ‘no’.96 This passage succinctly encapsulates ‘Nası¯b’s’ most salient themes: ˙ female agency, regressive traditionalism and the generation gap, women’s own culpability in perpetuating the circumscription of other women’s independence, and the acceptance of this circumscription in the

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amorphous concept of ‘fate’ that lends the story its title. More intricately than in the stories previously discussed, Azzam intertwines these varied though obviously overlapping elements, the result being a multifarious indictment of the limiting of female agency through patriarchy and economic means. Saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the marriage, and the female protagonist’s concomitant ability to do so, form central pivots upon which the story hinges. As the narrator makes clear: ‘to her mind, saying ‘yes’ was a positive act of will suffused with a spirit of acceptance, carrying with it the savour of satisfaction, and bearing the aroma of desire’. In acceding to the marriage, however, the protagonist’s equation of ‘yes’ with a ‘positive act of will’ is subverted. In this instance, saying ‘yes’, far from being a ‘positive act of will’, amounts to capitulation: capitulation to regressive traditionalism, capitulation to crass economic concerns, and, ultimately, a capitulation of her own free will. Ultimately, therefore, ‘her ‘yes’ did not hold any of this positive feeling. It was just a ‘yes’ and no more’.97 It is important to note, however, that at no point is the young woman overtly forced into the marriage against her will. Rather, she is cajoled over time, crucially, by her mother and female relatives and friends, casting them as active agents in societal patriarchy while the protagonist’s father plays a more passive role. Azzam writes: Her father had not tried to cajole her; all he had done was to expound the man’s merits and to commend him to her as a husband. Although her mother had tried to play a neutral role, her woman’s instincts had got the better of her. She was a woman and so she could not stop herself from having a quiet word with her daughter at every opportunity she could find.98 Thus, Azzam implicates women just as much as men – and in this particular case, even more so – in the restriction of female agency, complicating a straightforward narrative of male repression of women. Azzam is explicit about the culpability of other women in wearing down the protagonist into acquiescing to the marriage: ‘In the face of insistence from her mother, her female relatives and the neighbours she found herself abandoning her determination and entertaining thoughts which deviated from her previous firmly-held ideas’.99 In doing so Azzam broadens the critique from a narrow focus on what men do to

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women to the subtle ways in which society denies agency to individual women. Consequently ‘women’ as a generalized social grouping emerge as a crucial element in the suppression of specified, individual women such as ‘Nası¯b’s’ protagonist. ˙ However, while ‘her father had not tried to cajole her’, nor is he entirely innocent either: Her father continued to have an old-fashioned outlook on life, and did not believe that his daughter could have a better life than the one he gave her. It was sufficient for her to eat, dress up and visit and entertain the few family friends and relatives, or to die of boredom – if she wanted to – watching her father play backgammon with one of his ancient friends.100 Here the locus of criticism shifts from contemporary attitudes to the generation from which they were inherited. The narrator’s father’s ‘oldfashioned outlook on life’ which would have her ‘die of boredom if she wanted to’ is emphasized by the image of the aged man whiling away the hours with an interminable game of backgammon ‘with one of his ancient friends’. Here again we see the generational critique in which the younger generations holds the older to account for their failures and shortcomings, signifying a younger generation’s disillusionment with the older, and subverting the validity of its (patriarchal) authority. Thus Azzam is equally quick to hold the protagonist’s mother responsible as well, for the paragraph immediately following reads: Her mother had always had the same outlook on life and the same standards. Now in her fifties, all that concerned her was the chance to be the one to choose a husband for her daughter – a husband to whom she could entrust her. Her first aim was that he should be well-off, for to her money meant a comfortable life and a social status which must be secured.101 The passage operates on several levels. On the one hand, it continues the generational critique from the previous passage, carrying it from the father to the mother, once again highlighting the culpability of women in perpetuating restrictions upon women. But, as is typical of Azzam, it once again introduces economic concerns into the mix. In ‘Nası¯b’, ˙

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however, to a greater extent than in any of the stories discussed thus far, these economic concerns are intimately bound with issues of women’s independence.102 As a product of her generation, the mother cannot imagine any avenue for ‘a comfortable life and a social status’ for her daughter other than through marriage into a ‘good family’. The daughter’s own desires, let alone her ability to provide for herself, are scarcely considered. Azzam makes clear that it is these economic considerations that ultimately succeed in persuading the young woman to agree to the marriage. Prevailed upon by (predominantly female) family and friends, the story’s protagonist ultimately resorts to a crude costbenefit analysis, weighing up the rewards of a comfortable life married to a man she does not love against the desire to choose a man for herself (significantly, that she should reject marriage altogether is a choice never countenanced by the protagonist). Ultimately the security afforded by the marriage wins the day: Yes, she had accepted him as a bird in the hand. The other ten in the bush were nothing but a gamble. So said her mother and many of her friends who were still without husbands. And so she, too, had believed, or thought she had believed, when she said ‘Yes, I accept.’103 Once again, acceptance of the marriage through the utterance of ‘yes’ signals defeat rather than the assertion of agency, a defeat made all the more bitter by the fact that the protagonist allows her ideals (and independence) to be compromised by such base considerations as comfort and wealth. Having guided the reader through the use of flashback and recollection of the events that have led to the female protagonist’s acquiescence to the marriage, the narrative turns once again to the present, as the young woman stands in front of the altar with her (un)intended by her side. Having broached the fundamental issue of the female protagonist’s agency (or lack thereof – ambivalence remains on this matter) and the protagonist’s previous formulation of ‘yes’ as a ‘positive act of will’, this formulation is subsequently inverted, making her rejection of the marriage – the utterance of ‘no’ – the indicator of free will:

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She had grown tired of standing, and wished that the four priests who were concocting her wedding ceremony, and raising their voices in competition with one another, would finish the whole affair quickly. What if she were to say just one word to spoil their enthusiasm? ‘Do you take so-and-so to be your wedded husband?’ ‘No!’ What a dramatic ending she could put to this story by uttering a single word! ‘No!’ She would triumph; and so would her old ideas. She would live for some time drugged by her dreams of what might happen, thus annoying this man who had sent his mother to select a wife for him; and she would watch the utter astonishment on the faces of the congregation. ‘No, I don’t!’ Stupid! Stupid! Who was forcing her to do this, making her feel angry enough to say ‘I don’t want him’ in the middle of her wedding? Was the whole affair imposed upon her by force? No! But would not her ‘No! I don’t want to’ express all that used to go through her mind before she became dull-witted, preferring easy and secure ends?104 Thus, it is ‘no’ that signifies her agency through the rejection of a marriage to which she hesitantly agreed after being coaxed and persuaded. In this she also comes to realize not only the complicity of her mother and female relatives and friends in denying her agency, but also her own culpability in relinquishing her free will. This realization, combined with the confusion and fatigue resulting from the ongoing wedding ceremony, forces the moment to a crisis: If only she could leave go of her senses for a moment and say it. Everything, yes everything, would come to an end. ‘I don’t want to! I don’t want to!’ Overwhelmed by her confusion, tiredness and nervousness, she began repeating it, saying it aloud, shouting it. But the cry was blotted out. No one heard her, not the priests, not the congregation, not even this man standing next to her. It was

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lost in the reverberations of a sound that engulfed the church, the voices of all those present sealing her marriage with the wedding hymn: ‘With glory and dignity he wed her!’105 These are the story’s final lines. While the narrator, echoing the protagonist’s own thoughts, establishes ‘leav[ing] go of her senses’ as the requirement for her rejection of the marriage, the truth is arguably the reverse. It is only through rejecting the marriage that the young woman finally comes to her senses; is snapped out of the reverie wrought of the insidious influence of family, friends, tradition, the paternalism and patriarchy of society as a whole, and the surrender of free will to ‘fate’. In short, the girl’s belated rejection signifies a rejection of many of the foundational institutions undergirding society. It is seemingly too late, however, as her voice is rendered mute by those same forces personified in the priests, the gathered congregation, and the ‘man standing next to her’. ‘Sealing her marriage’, and with it, the forfeiture of her independent agency, ‘the voices of all those present’, announce ‘with glory and agency he wed her’, assigning active agency to the man, while the young woman can only passively accept her fate. While the plots of ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ and ‘Nası¯b’ contain ambivalences ˙ ˙ and tensions between gender and class critiques, their very form may well point towards a more unambiguous feminist politics. In deploying the epistolary form in ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, Azzam allows the ˙ female protagonist to convey her inner thoughts and experiences unmediated by a narrator, resulting in a largely interiorized narrative. In ‘Nası¯b’, meanwhile, most of the story’s action occurs within the ˙ woman’s mind through recollection. Such interior narratives, which will be deployed to great effect in such seminal works as Liana Badr’s ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ (1985, ‘I Want the Day’) and Sahar Khalifeh’s Mudhakkara¯t imraʾa ghayr wa¯qiʿya (1986, Memoirs of an Unrealistic Woman), afford the reader an intimate glimpse into the female protagonists’ psyches while the intense interiority of the texts highlights the circumscribed public roles allowed to women. Thus, while the majority of her oeuvre would work well within a social realism that prizes verisimilitude in the harsh portrayal of the economic underclass’s quotidian struggles for survival, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ and ‘Nası¯b’ signify ˙ ˙ tentative departures from such dogmatic realism. Granted, while Badr

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and Khalifeh’s texts would deploy experimental, highly fragmented, stream of consciousness narratives, Azzam’s narrative aesthetic remains more or less conventional. Nonetheless, ‘Nası¯b’ provides glimpses into ˙ the trope of interiority and the formal/aesthetic modes that would form so central a component of the feminist critique these later works would level against their societies and national leadership. While ‘Nası¯b’ and ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ intertwine issues of gender with ˙ ˙ economic critiques, ‘Urı¯d ma¯ʾ’ (1960; ‘I Want Water’ 1989) comes closest to an expression of a feminist position unobscured by Azzam’s emphasis on economic or class considerations, which are altogether absent from the story.106 Instead, ‘Urı¯d ma¯ʾ’, like ‘Al-ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’, ˙ is a coming-of-age story, albeit a far less rosy one. While ‘Al-ashya¯ʾ alsaghı¯ra’ focuses on the budding romance between two adolescents, ˙ through which the young female protagonist comes to reject the traditionalism of her elders, ‘I Want Water’ focuses on the guilt, shame, and fear that accompany a young girl’s reaching of sexual maturity. It is the story of a young girl’s early experiences of menstruation and the terror she feels at the prospect of ‘becoming a woman’. Ultimately, the young girl, who lives in a boarding school run by nuns, is driven to attempt suicide, believing God to be punishing her for taking communion whilst menstruating by striking her younger (favoured) brother critically ill. By taking her own life she believes she can spare her brother’s, but she is ultimately thwarted by the lack of water with which to swallow the bottle of aspirin she had been given to alleviate her menstrual cramps. Early in the story, the narrator, seemingly ventriloquized by the girl protagonist, laments: ‘Oh how wretched, why had she been born a woman? Was there no way other than the deluge to stigmatise female maturity?’107 It is these dual concerns – regret over having been born a woman, and the stigma of female sexual maturity – that plague the young girl. It may seem odd that the reaching of maturity, of ‘becoming a woman’ as the story puts it, should be so stigmatized. Indeed, notwithstanding the schoolyard bully, an older girl named Salwa, the adult females surrounding the protagonist seem to celebrate the advent of her sexual maturity. Dispersing the schoolgirls gathered around the protagonist, the boarding school teacher, Sister Marta, chastises them saying ‘Leave her to her business, girls . . . she has become a woman!’ These words, intended to reassure, have the opposite effect on the girl: ‘She wished the

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earth would split open and swallow her up; that would have been more bearable than what she heard’. For the young girl, the prospect of sexual maturation is deeply alarming: Oh, how terrified she had been by that nightmare which she had been staving off by wearing loose fitting clothes, hiding the unsightly growth on her chest. She could not talk about it to her mother when she had gone home for the holidays. If only she had told her; at least that would have created a chance to bring up the subject which had taken her so completely by surprise. Poor thing, she did not know when it would start or finish, or how to prepare for it every time.108 The fear of sexual maturity, then, is due in part to the unknown aspects of something ‘which had taken her so completely by surprise’, the uncertainty of not knowing ‘when it would start or finish, or how to prepare for it every time’. But, as the previous passage makes clear, the fear, bordering on disgust, of sexual maturity goes deeper than that. It is not simply that the girl attempts to forestall her sexual maturity, or at least the realization by others thereof, by wearing loose-fitting clothing. It is that she experiences shame at her impending sexuality, evinced most clearly by the ‘unsightly growth on her chest’, which she perceives in almost grotesque terms. This perception extends beyond her own body: ‘She had often wondered why the big girls were not embarrassed by their breasts, and how it was that they never flinched from showing them off by wearing clothes tight-fitting at the waist’.109 It is therefore not only sexual maturity, but female sexuality itself, that is a frightful spectre haunting the girl. Amal Amireh’s observation that the Palestinians’ is often ‘a paranoid national narrative that views women’s bodies as threats to national honor and security’, is significant when juxtaposed with ‘Urı¯d ma¯ʾ’s’ female protagonist’s profound unease with her emerging female sexuality.110 That the young girl should internalize this sentiment at so young an age further underlines the point. Atop the layer of sexual shame gripping the girl, Azzam adds another dimension, that of guilt, both of which work in tandem to police female sexuality. In the case of the young protagonist of ‘Urı¯d ma¯ʾ’, that guilt is

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initiated when she unknowingly and in good faith partakes of the sacrament of communion whilst ‘unclean’ due to menstruation: ‘she heard from a friend of hers who warned her against taking Holy Communion unless she was ritually clean and pure; for the mere act of approaching the altar while in that state was a cardinal sin in the eyes of her religion’.111 The girl is tormented by the prospect of having to forego communion, afraid of the taunts this would elicit from her classmates: ‘She had knelt for a long time beside this bed, scarcely getting any sleep for three whole nights as she pleaded with God to make this thing come to an end before Sunday. She thought Heaven was more merciful than Salwa’s invective when she had realised on Sunday morning that she would be able to take Holy Communion’.112 Only after she has partaken of the sacrament does the girl realize her error. Coinciding as it does with her brother, Farid, falling critically ill, the young girl can only assume that she is being punished by God for her transgression: Everyone, her father, her mother and the doctor would be asking themselves about the cause of the illness, but she alone knew it, she alone understood that some great penance was required to expiate her sin. Not only are the sins of the fathers visited upon their children, as Sister said in the Religious Education class, but the sins of siblings are visited upon their fellow siblings. And it is no trivial matter to deceive God. Even if she had acted with the best intentions when the deluge came upon her for the second time.113 That the price of her perceived transgression should be paid by her sibling is traumatizing enough, but as made clear by the narrative, the tragedy is multiplied by the fact that it is her male sibling, and the only male child of her parents, who is sentenced to die: Your brother will die [. . .] will die [. . .] will die? He will die while you remain safe, you who lied before God. Your mother will wear black, and your father will shed tears of red blood as he pays his last respects to the small rose-coloured coffin covered with flowers of all hues and shades- the family will remain without a male issue, the grieving sisters without a brother.114

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While her own sexual coming of age took her by storm and was surrounded by mystery and uncertainty, ‘Urı¯d ma¯ʾ’s’ protagonist is, from an early age, schooled in the preferred status of boys: Farid was the only boy in the family and she knew how much he meant to her father and her mother and to all the spinsters and old women in the family. Before Farid was born, she had not fully grasped what it meant for a family to be blessed with the birth of a son, not until she had seen a lamb being sacrificed on the doorstep after her aunt, warbling with joy, had opened the door of the room where her mother had given birth; and not until she had seen the smile breaking out on her grandmother’s face, a smile which even her large mouth could not contain, as she began to thank God profusely.115 As the only ‘male issue’ of her parents, the boy’s name, ‘Farid’, meaning ‘unique’ or ‘singular’, takes on added significance. Almost instinctually understanding the value of a male to her family – as son, brother, heir, and future patriarch – the girl undertakes to become the sacrificial lamb herself so that Farid can live (‘if there was no escaping a death in the family, then let it be a larger coffin and let her be the one to be laid in it and carried without a cover’).116 While realizing that her own death would cause grief to her parents, she is under no illusions about the position she occupies in the social hierarchy of preference: ‘Another calamity for the family, as though Farid’s illness were not enough. But she would be doing it to give Farid a chance to live. The death of a girl is not the same as the death of a boy’.117 Ultimately, it is only the absence of water, normally understood as giver of life but configured here as bringer of death, with which to swallow the bottle of aspirin that thwarts the young girl’s decision to commit suicide. The story closes with the anguished young girl wailing ‘I want water! I want water!’ so sincere is her death wish.118 The significance of Azzam’s writings lies, in part, in the fact that they are produced during the early post-Nakba period of Palestinian identity formation. With the Nakba essentially creating what Rashid Khalidi likens to a ‘tabula rasa on which Palestinian identity could be re-established’, literature produced during this time emerges into an environment in which an official Palestinian national movement is still

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inchoate.119 Thus, while to a significant extent it reflects the values and mores of Palestinian and, more broadly, Arab societies, so too does literary production of this time period cast its metaphors, symbols and thematic concerns into a milieu that is in the nascent stages of re-establishing its national identity in the wake of the Nakba’s violent upheaval. Working within a wider Arabic literary context in which female characters were often equated with the nation, Azzam’s literary production contributed to the solidification of such tropes within the Palestinian national discourse through the reproduction of characters such as the nurse Su’ad.120 At the same time, however, Azzam’s trenchant gender critiques, though often obscured or occluded by Azzam’s more overriding class concerns, should not be dismissed or forgotten. Azzam’s writings, while reproducing masculinist tropes when addressing the nation, at other times subvert the gendered societal order. Azzam directs her gender critiques at the nebulous notion of society precisely because there is as of yet no organized Palestian nationalist movement that can be clearly identified and castigated for perpetuating patriarchal power structures and because, as previously stated, nationalism remained the Palestinians’ hope for deliverance. Following the emergence of such an identifiable nationalist movement, and its subsequent failure to meet the hopes and expectations of many women, authors such as Liana Badr and Sahar Khalifeh would focus and hone Azzam’s critical gaze, bringing feminist issues to the fore of their work and laying responsibility squarely at the feet of a hypocritical nationalist leadership that espouses the cause of freedom and equality while maintaining male privilege at the expense of female subordination.121 Here again a debt to Azzam must be acknowledged. For Badr and Khalifeh would build upon Azzam’s tentative forays into interiority, heightening and accentuating its use to issue an indictment of the circumscription of women’s agency. Azzam must therefore also be acknowledged as an important proto-feminist figure in Palestinian literature and in Palestinian national discourse over gender more broadly.

Ghassan Kanafani’s Pioneering Modernism Ghassan Kanafani (1936–72) is perhaps the best-known Palestinian author of prose fiction, renowned for his novella, Rija¯l fı¯ al-Shams

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(1963, Men in the Sun 1978) and his pioneering of modernist literary aesthetics in Arabic literature. During his short life, truncated by a car bomb widely assumed to have been planted by the Israeli Mossad which also claimed his young niece, Kanafani published four novels (including the novella, Men in the Sun), and four short-story collections. Scholarly attention to Kanafani’s short stories has tended to pale in comparison to that garnered by his novels.122 As a pioneer in the introduction of modernist aesthetics, temporal and spacial instability, and multiple narrators in Arabic literature, systematic examination of Kanafani’s hitherto largely neglected short stories reveals a breadth of literary expression, ranging from realism to surrealism, a versatility that is elided by too narrow a focus on Kanafani’s novels. This versatility and fluctuation in style is important to bear in mind, particularly as we later come to examine Kanafani’s post-1967 works (see Chapter 2) which demonstrate more ossification of form and reticence toward experimentation as part of a deliberate artistic response to the events of 1967. The dynamism and variability of Kanafani’s pre-1967 works is all the more remarkable for the incredibly short time span in which it was written. The overwhelming majority of the stories published in Kanafani’s three pre-1967 collections were written between 1958 and 1962.123 Kanafani’s avant-gardism and formal experimentation ran counter to the dominant literary Zeitgeist of the time which, as discussed above, eschewed abstraction in favour of realistic depiction and accessibility of the text. But far from eliding his political message Kanafani’s use of experimental narrative technique in fact goes to the heart of the Palestinian condition. In his multiple, fragmentary narratives Kanafani reflects the fragmented state of the scattered Palestinian nation following the creation of Israel. In the temporal and spacial instability that he introduces, the precariousness of the Palestinian condition in exile is reproduced in the form of his prose.124 While the Nakba would only figure relatively late in Samira Azzam’s writings, it holds a prominent position in Kanafani’s writings from the outset of his literary production. His first collection of short stories, Mawt sarı¯r raqam 12 (1961, Death of Bed Number 12) repeatedly visits the Palestinians’ expulsion in 1948, in stories such as ‘Al-Bawma fı¯ al-ghurfa al-baʿı¯da’ (‘The Owl in the Distant Room’), ‘Shayʾ la¯ yadhhab’ (‘Something That Does Not Leave’), and ‘Muntasaf aya¯r’ (‘Mid-May’).125 ˙

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Where Kanafani does not reference the Nakba directly, he does so obliquely, by making exile the fundamental quandary facing his characters. Kanafani demonstrates the political potential of abstraction and the bending of reality in ‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’ (1962, ‘Further from the ˙ Borders’). It tells the story of an ‘important man’, returning from work to sit down to a meal of soup. The man’s elevated standing is established at the story’s outset through references to a servant opening the door and removing the man’s shoes for him while a doting wife hangs up his coat and heats up the soup. The reader is subsequently able to surmise that the ‘important man’ works in the state security apparatus and that a man had requested to see him that day, only to escape through a window while being interrogated. The country in which the story is set is omitted, an omission made all the more conspicuous by the fact that of the 42 stories published in Kanafani’s pre-1967 collections, ‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’ is the only one in which Kanafani does not indicate the city in ˙ which it was written at the story’s end. Instead, we are simply provided with a year, 1962, and an ellipsis where the city would normally be indicated. As becomes abundantly clear over the course of the story, however, the setting is almost certainly Lebanon, while 1962 corresponds to the period during which Kanafani was resident in Beirut.126 Kanafani’s self-censorship in the form of omitting any indication of the story’s setting, including even where it was written, is not only testament to the persecution and repression of Palestinians so prevalent throughout Lebanon, but, moreover, yet another example of the ‘strategy of silence’ in which ellipsis is deployed to mimetically highlight and thereby criticise and condemn the silencing of dissident voices.127 Indeed, it is precisely that repression that ‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’ ˙ addresses. For, scarcely has the ‘important man’ sat down and inhaled the smell of his soup than he is overcome by a stupor akin to anaesthetization. He hears a window slam loudly elsewhere in the house and assumes that it is his wife once again forgetting it open, but invocation of the open window here alludes also to the window through which a man escaped in the midst of interrogation earlier that day. Suddenly, the man hears a voice say ‘I shall deliver a speech before you’. In response to the question ‘I wonder who that is’ that the ‘important man’ asks himself (whether he did so audibly or tacitly is left unclear),

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the escapee replies ‘[I am] the youth who escaped through the window, and who returned through the window, my dear sir.’128 Whether the escapee is actually present in the ‘important man’s’ home or if he is a figment of the ‘important man’s’ imagination is uncertain. This ambiguity is key as it mirrors the ambivalent situation of Palestinians in Lebanon itself. As the escapee says to the security official (i.e. to the ‘important man’), ‘I do not have a voting voice, I am not a citizen in any shape or form, and I haven’t been forged by a state that from time to time inquires about the condition of its flock. I’m prohibited from the right to protest and the right to cry out’.129 It is also important to note that throughout his exchange with the escapee, the security official, overcome by his stupor, is unable to lift his head. Instead, we are left with the image of a man serenely inhaling the seemingly intoxicating aroma of his hot soup while, teeth chattering from the cold, the escapee angrily enumerates his grievances. If the escapee’s immediate presence is contested, then his future is no more certain. For, as the escapee says to the ‘important man’: I was walking down the street when suddenly a thought dropped on my head like a large pane of glass that presently shattered and I felt the shards scattering within my body. I said to myself: ‘oof, then what?’ And you can see, it’s merely a simple question one can ask even at the age of fifteen. But the curious thing is that, this time, the question was solid and hard and, I could almost say, final. For, as soon as it dropped on my head, a long, unending trench opened, and I said to myself ‘I must be present, despite everything. They tried to dissolve me like a chunk of sugar in a hot cup of tea and, with God as my witness, they exerted extraordinary effort to do so, but I remain, despite everything’. The starkness of the imagery – of shards of glass shredding up the escapee’s innards, of the escapee being dissolved in hot tea – contrasts starkly with the prosaic nature of the question that prompts it. That a simple ‘then what?’ should elicit the sort of existential crisis that ensues for the escapee speaks volumes about the uncertainties confronted by Palestinians in exile generally, and in Lebanon in particular. The passage can be seen as a distant echo of Hamlet’s fourth soliloquy, but where Hamlet dithers, the escapee is resolute. He resolves to be, regardless of

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the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’. And, whereas Hamlet avers that ‘conscience does make cowards of us all’, it is the escapee’s conscience that gives him the courage to confront the oppressor’s wrong.130 As the escapee makes clear, his courage is wrought of the oppression he has endured at the hands of his oppressors: If I’ve gathered, over the course of this bleak period, extraordinary courage to determine this truth, then the honour does not go entirely to me. I only have the honour to speak, while you [plural] retain all the honour of authorship. Don’t you [singular] see that you [plural] are the ones that prepared me, hour after hour, day after day, and year after year for this result?131 Easily lost in English translation is the second-person plural use of ‘you’. Thus, while his statement is directed at the ‘important man’, he in fact implicates the whole of the society to which the man belongs in bringing the escapee to this point.132 The escapee’s modesty is tinged with an ironic bitterness that carries into the following passage: You tried to dissolve me, dear sir! You tried to do so with continuous effort that did not waver or tire my sir. Shall I be proud and say that you did not succeed? No! You succeeded to a great and extraordinary extent. Don’t you see that you were able to transfer me (naqlı¯), with a mighty force, from a person into a condition? I, therefore, am no better than a condition, and perhaps worse. And because I am a condition, we are a condition, we suffer spectacularly. It’s outstanding work, my sir, very outstanding work, despite the fact that it took a long time. But, my sir, to dissolve a million people together, then turn them into a singular unified thing is not easy work [. . .] you’ve deprived those million of their individual, unique traits, and now you no longer have need for differentiation and categorization. You are now confronted with a condition, so if it dawns on you to call it thievery, then they are thieves. Treason? They are all, therefore, traitors.133 The issue of ‘being’ is thus shifted here, from a question of physical presence/existence to the existence of the Palestinian people qua people.

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The escapee’s bitterly sarcastic congratulations to the ‘important man’ is a rejoinder to the anonymization of the Palestinian people, the deprivation of their individuality, reduced in the crucible of their exile to an amorphous condition, to be cynically exploited as scapegoats or dismissed outright by politicians. The escapee then goes on to sardonically suggest other virtues of the condition that is the Palestinian people. They are, he says, of touristic value, for tourists to ogle at their despair and return to their countries and say ‘visit the Palestinians’ camps before they become extinct’. The Palestinians also provide ample fodder for patriotic speeches, humanitarian banners, and appeals to populism. Just as spouting the rhetoric of solidarity with the Palestinians can be exploited by politicians, so too can politicians make an example of the Palestinian people without visiting any harm on their own citizenry: ‘facing a difficult political situation? Then just attack the camps! Imprison some of the refugees, even all of them if you can! Give your citizens a brutal lesson without hurting them.’134 Parroting rhetoric that is often used to denigrate Palestinians in the Arab world and Lebanon in particular, the escapee summarizes: ‘we are thieves, we are traitors, we sold our land to the enemy, and we’re greedy, greedily we want to suck up everything here, even the dirt’. There is, however, a rub in the cynical exploitation and repression of Palestinian refugees. For, as the escapee states after outlining all of the above: there is a minor problem that keeps me up at night and I feel I have no choice but to state it: many people, if they feel that they do not fill a place in space [yashghal hayzan fı¯ maka¯n ], begin to wonder ˙ ‘then what?’ And most vile is the discovery that one does not have the right to a ‘then’ at all. One is stricken by something resembling madness, and tells oneself ‘what kind of life is this? Death is preferable’. Then, with the passing of days, one begins to shout: ‘what kind of life is this? Death is preferable’. And shouting, my sir, is contagious. For then all shout at once ‘what kind of life is this? Death is preferable’. And because people do not normally have much affection for death, they must come up with something else.135 The escapee does not elaborate on what that ‘something else’ may be. Instead, he expresses his concern that the ‘important man’s’ soup may

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have become cold, bids him adieu, and there the story ends. Though it is not made explicit, the implication is that the Palestinians will unite in a single voice of resistance, that they will choose life over death, and that they will seize the ‘then’, that is, the future that is rightfully theirs. Written in 1962, before the establishment of organized Palestinian resistance movements and groups, the final passage of the story is, at once, a rallying cry for Palestinians and also a remarkably prescient foresight into the rise of Palestinian resistance movements and organizations that would begin to gather pace from the mid-1960s. While in ‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’ Kanafani merely bends reality, he ˙ takes a far more avant garde approach in the darkly surreal ‘Al-Akhdar ˙ wa-al-ahmar’ (1962, ‘The Green and the Red’). It is a story replete with ˙ symbolism and allegory that once again addresses the Palestinian existential dilemma. ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ is the highly abstract tale ˙ ˙ of a man who, in mid-May, is killed by a creature that is characterized as the beastly embodiment of death itself. Upon his death, a miniscule, child-like being emerges from the man’s eyes. For 14 years the child roams beneath people’s feet, unseen and unacknowledged. By the story’s end, the narrator asks the child what has compelled him to persevere to 14 years, why the wretch did not simply die, and finally beseeches it not to die before it has grown sufficiently to confront its father’s killer. The story’s allegorical dimensions are straightforward enough: the father represents Palestine, his murder in mid-May refers to the Israeli declaration of statehood on 14 May, and Palestine’s concomitant destruction, while, measured from the date of writing in 1962, the reference to the child’s wandering for 14 years dates the year of his father’s murder to 1948. Finally, the wretched child stands in for the Palestinian people, made homeless, stateless, and cast into exile where they often live in the squalor of refugee camps, cast out of mind of the local ‘host community’. The story’s larger significance stems from its surrealistic narrative which mirrors the Palestinians’ bleakly surreal post-Nakba situation. The bleakness of that situation is put into even starker relief when cast against the man’s blissful ignorance of his impending death which opens the story: He did not think for a moment that he was as near to death as his nose is to the air. He did not think that at all. The entire trail was

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filled with the aroma of early life as though it were only just created, as if only now had God created it to be savoured and to cleanse his chest like a cascade of feathers. May buds in his brow and his palms and his ribs, and upon smelling it, vortices that do not diminish or bend pour into his chest. How do you want him to think for an instant that he as near to death as the air to his nose?136 Central here is the imagery of May as a month of rejuvenation and lifegiving cast against the impending death that awaits the man. The tragedy of his death is compounded by the irony of its timing and his ignorance of his impending doom amidst the springtime revival. The trail on which the man is travelling leads to ‘his wife and child and walls of flesh and love’, but, as the story explains, to arrive at his destination he must pass a bend in the road, and it is at that bend that the man’s death awaits. Death is characterized in not only distinctly animalistic terms, but also, interestingly, in the feminine: ‘she was standing at the bend, bearing her ten claws like blades pointed at victory. A single moment of death, but it is absolute and final’.137 The sex assigned to each character is a curious departure from the norm. As we have seen with Azzam, Palestine is more often than not feminized whereas Kanafani chooses here to cast it as a male, a matter made all the more peculiar by the motif of birth-giving later in the story. Against this masculine Palestine a beastly, feminized figure of death is pitted. The clash between the man and death is graphically depicted. As with the depictions of Palestine’s fall we have seen in Azzam, here too the man stands no chance against his merciless foe. At the end of the clash, the dead man’s body lies prostrate, described in the text as ‘the martyr prays’, with his brow creating a rounded dip in the sand on which it rests. It is from this cavity that the wretched child emerges. In keeping with the rest of the story, no detail is spared in describing the child: He was a miniscule creature that resembled a man. His face had sharp features that led one to imagine, if one saw him, that he was carved of solid rock with a coarse chisel. His lips were tightly pursed, for he did not speak, and his eyelids were stuck together, for he did not see, and he was tiny, like the digit of a finger. He was

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dark, dark black in colour like the night but for his heart, which was intensely white, the only white thing on the tiny body. Observing his black chest, one could see the heart fluttering, like the beak of a dwarf bird, within the interlocking black ribs. His diminutive frame was sturdy, symmetrical, and exquisite. His hands had ten fingers, and each finger three digits, just like a person. And the muscles of his chest rested above his ribs like black seashells. And he had his dreams and hopes and pains and ambitions and memories, just like human beings. The only difference was that he was very small, and his eyes were closed and his lips sealed. But he would breathe, and the mounds of dirt accumulated atop and around him could not kill him. Kanafani seeks to distil the essence of the Palestinian refugee into this strange, diminutive being. That diminutiveness is, of course, an indication of the creature’s feeble strength, while his blackness marks him as a pariah. Contrasted with his dark blackness is the youngster’s luminously white heart, indicating purity and inherent goodness but also, as the story progresses, an insistent resilience. As in Kanafani’s iconic Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams (Men in the Sun), the small being’s inability to speak gestures to the Palestinians’ perceived muteness in the wake of the Nakba. On post-Nakba Palestinian muteness, Elias Khoury observes ‘The muteness of literature is part of the muteness of history, or to put it in other words, part of the inability of the victim to write the story’.138 Ultimately, then, Kanafani is writing the story of the Palestinians’ inability to write their story. Moreover, the passage goes to great pains to liken the creature to a human. Be it in the description of his hands or his hopes, twice the passage makes a point of stating that he is ‘just like a person/human’, an ironic gesture to the dehumanization the Palestinians, refugees in particular, have endured. For, in so insistently asserting that the creature is like a human, the narrative at the same time reaffirms that, ultimately, it is not human. After the body of the man from whom the creature has been spawned has been cleared and taken for burial or cremation, those gathered disperse: and only then did [the small being] discover that he is alone and lost, but he could not coordinate his legs with his desired path, so

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he set off ahead, unceasingly and untiringly clawing his little path with his nails like a worm inside those sands accumulated around and atop him, hour after hour, day after day, aimlessly and without illumination, eating sand, breathing sand, and drinking the juice of sand. He does not turn back nor rise up nor move his head to either side. He felt, as he carved out his path in the dark, the feet of people above his head coming and going and therefore felt that if he tried to surface he would be stepped on like a beetle. The sounds of feet, the roar of rivers, the crashing of waves. Every moment of every hour of every day. And behind him flowed the stream of blood, as though chasing him, as though his fate.139 Kanafani depicts Palestinian refugees as wandering aimlessly, perhaps having a vague notion of their desired destination, but unable to orient themselves in its direction. Palestinian refugees are thus left with no option but to set forth in whatever direction they can, even if it may in fact take them further from their desired destination. The multiple references to sand are important here. The imagery of scorching, endless deserts and laborious treks through sand are central leitmotifs in Kanafani’s depictions of exile. Rija¯l fı¯ al-Shams is the most iconic example of Kanafani’s desert landscapes of exile, but the desert motif also figures prominently in Kanafani’s short stories, such as in ʿAshara amta¯r faqat’ (1959, ‘Only Ten Metres’) and ‘Al-khira¯f al-maslu¯b’ (1960, ‘The ˙ ˙ Crucified Sheep’). In all of these stories the desert figures as purgatorial non-place in which Palestinian refugees have become stuck, drifting either without purpose or further away from the Palestinian homeland that should (according to Kanafani) be their ultimate destination. However, in contrast to Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams, where Kanafani at least partially indicts his Palestinian protagonists for their abandonment of the homeland, ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’s’ small creature is portrayed ˙ ˙ entirely as a victim of circumstance. Unlike the protagonists of Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams, it did not leave Palestine to seek material wealth or comfort in the oil-rich Gulf states. Rather, Kanafani ties its existence and wandering directly to the demise of Palestine through the symbolism of the death of the man from whom the creature is spawned. But though the creature is cast as an innocent victim, the narrator nonetheless asks it, ‘did you emerge blind and mute from your father’s pupil, or did the dirt fill your mouth and get planted in your eyes?’ In asking the tiny creature

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whether he was born blind and mute, or whether his blindness and muteness is the result of its interminable writhing through the sand, Kanafani thus raises the issue of the creature’s (and by symbolic extension, the Palestinians’) agency without necessarily casting blame, ultimately striking a profoundly ambivalent chord. As in ‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’, Kanafani addresses the Palestinian ˙ refugee’s existential crisis in ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’. The narrator ˙ ˙ rhetorically asks the creature ‘is it your fate, little black one, to live in the dirt and breathe in the darkness and evade the stream of blood? Is it your fate, little black one, to be trampled your entire life and to have people, all people, treading upon your shoulders, and to eat dirt, and to breathe and drink the juice of dirt?’ More pointedly, however, the narrator goes on to ask: Why do you not die? Why do you not stop for a moment beneath those mounds of dirt, extinguishing the white light suspended in your chest? I wonder, are you aware that your life depends on that paranoid, ferocious scramble? I wonder, do you know that if you stop, the tide of blood will drown you, bringing your end? Oh wretched little black one, wretched little black one, why do you not die?140 Finally, the story’s closing passage reads: Die, die. You have spewed sweat and dissolved your muscles without extinguishing that white point suspended in your chest like a lamp. Die! What is left of you? A lot you say? You have uttered? Your lips have detached from your teeth? You have spewed sweat enough to create a thousand grown men. Oh finger digit, oh deformed one, martyr’s eye, do not die before you have become a worthy adversary, do not die.141 The Palestinians’ salvation, therefore, is to be found in overcoming their muteness, in finding their voice and finally saying, as the little creature does, that they exist and intend to remain. The ending of ‘Al-Akhdar ˙ wa-al-ahmar’ is thus the inverse of Rija¯l fı¯ al-Shams. The titular men ˙ in the sun meet their demise because they maintain their silence. By contrast, the creature in ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ defies the narrator’s ˙ ˙

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demands for the creature’s death by finally uttering while the protagonist of ‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’ posits that one day, finally, a ˙ Palestinian shouts, spreading the contagion, ultimately leading the shouting masses to find an alternative to death. It is only when the narrator realizes that the creature has achieved an ability to speak that s/he turns from bidding the creature to die to beseeching it to live. In placing such great emphasis on the simple act of utterance, therefore, Kanafani, long before Edward Said sought ‘permission to narrate’, articulates what can be called the ‘imperative to narrate’, beseeching Palestinians to overcome their (perceived) silence.142 Kanafani once again combines allegory with a narrative that combines surrealism with magical realism in ‘Kafr al-manjam’ (1963, ‘The Mine Hamlet’), further innovating with the use of multiple narrators, a technique he famously deployed in his 1966 novella, Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum (All That’s Left to You, 1990).143 Discussion of Kanafani’s development of fragmented narratives usually traces the technique from Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams, which fragments the narrative perspective but uses a single third-person narrator throughout, to Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum, which is told from the perspective of three distinct narrators: Maryam, Hamid, and the desert Hamid is traversing. ‘Kafr al-manjam’ is therefore frequently overlooked as being Kanafani’s first foray into the use of multiple narrators, predating Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum by three years.144 It has been observed that in writing Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum, Kanafani was influenced by fellow Palestinian author, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s 1963 Arabic translation of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Acknowledging his indebtedness to William Faulkner’s use of multiple narrators Kanafani has stated: I admire [Faulkner’s] novel The Sound and the Fury. Many critics observe that my novella All That’s Left to You is a manifest expression of admiration, and I agree. Faulkner’s novel has influenced me greatly. Nevertheless, All That’s Left to You is not an exact replica of Faulkner’s devices, but an attempt at benefitting from those artistic devices and from Faulkner’s achievement in developing Western literature.145 Taking this into account, it is significant that ‘Kafr al-manjam’ was written in 1963, the same year as Jabra’s translation. Apart from its own

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merits, then, ‘Kafr al-manjam’ should also be recognized as an important stage in Kanafani’s development of fragmented narratives, ultimately culminating in Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum’s stream of consciousness multiple narrative streams. Through its various narrators, ‘Kafr al-manjam’ tells the story of Ibrahim, who disappeared 15 years prior to the story’s setting. Once again, measured from the story’s date of writing in 1963, Ibrahim’s date of disappearance can be dated to the fateful year of 1948. The story’s first narrator is a schoolmate of Ibrahim’s who, while seated at a cafe´ sees Ibrahim reappear in the doorway and casually sit down at the narrator’s table after 15 years’ absence. The narrator then recalls Ibrahim’s overachievement in secondary school and the shock to all students when Ibrahim failed his final exams. Ibrahim then picks up the narrative, describing the shock he experienced at his failure and his resolution to disappear. The narrative is then passed on to the elderly man who tells Ibrahim about the titular ‘Kafr al-Manjam’, a mythical island of immense wealth where streets are paved with gold. He rents a boat to Ibrahim so that Ibrahim may fulfil the elderly man’s long-time desire to sail there. Ibrahim then takes up the narrative once again, describing his arrival at ‘Kafr al-Manjam’ and life there before the narrative is finally passed once again to the initial narrator at story’s end. Like ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’,‘Kafr al-Manjam’ is an allegory for ˙ ˙ the Palestinian condition of exile following the Nakba. Ibrahim’s failure of his exams that precipitates his departure is described by Ibrahim as follows: It was an unbelievable and intolerable failure. When I read the names hung on the board a thousand times I became sure of one thing at least: that I do not deserve to live [. . .] I felt actual pain in all parts of my body, the world appeared in my eyes as though it were a delusion. I resolved anew that I do not deserve to live, but also that I do not deserve to die. I told myself that I must rent a boat and sail the breadth of the seas where, little by little, the sun and salt would turn me into dried flesh without anyone noticing me and without me being counted among the dead.146 Ibrahim’s surprise at his failure echoes the unnamed man’s ignorance of his impending doom in ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’, ˙ ˙

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expressing the Palestinians’ sense of shock at their defeat in 1948. The purgatorial liminality of exile is captured in Ibrahim’s assertion that following his failure, he neither deserved to live nor to die. And as in ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’, exile is cast as neither ˙ ˙ death nor life and, in its indeterminacy, something seemingly worse than either. To summarize the narrative, Ibrahim sets out to a seaside shack where an old man rents out small sailboats. He invites Ibrahim to join him for coffee where he tells Ibrahim of a lifelong dream he has had, but that he has not been able to fulfil due to over-thought (‘turning this dream over in his mind obstructed its fulfilment and served only to further distance it’).147 The elderly man tells Ibrahim that he therefore seeks one who can fulfil the lifelong dream. As the elderly man prepares a second pot of coffee, Ibrahim begins to experience ‘something resembling an anesthetized stupor [khadr ] in that wearisome atmosphere composed of, as it seemed to me, the continuous thunder of waves with their callous, fatalistic monotony’.148 Ibrahim seems to be undergoing hypnosis in that dilapidated shack by the sea, symbolically at least, therefore making him perhaps more susceptible to suggestion than he would otherwise be. Kanafani is also saying something here about the hypnotic allure of a comfortable exile in the oil-rich Gulf, for, upon the elderly man’s return, he announces that he will give Ibrahim a boat if he undertakes to fulfil the elderly man’s lifelong dream, one that, so says the elderly man, can only be fulfilled ‘at the hands of a man who does not love life and does not deserve death’.149 At this point the narrative passes to the elderly man who tells of how he inherited the shack from an old fisherman who, in turn, told the elderly man of the existence of ‘a grand city rising like a citadel amidst the sea’. The mythical city, the fisherman tells the elderly man: resembles cities about which fantastical tales are written: it is dug out of rocks of gold, its dirt is gold, its stones are gold, and all that is in it is of gold. But it is a gold that does not shine and perhaps its colour is different than the colour of gold as we know it as well, but this does not matter because, as soon as you leave that city, your gold transforms into brilliant yellow not one carat less than gold as you know it.150

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The description of the mythical city as paved, entirely constructed even, out of gold resonates throughout Kanafani’s descriptions of the oil-rich Gulf states in which large numbers of Palestinians found refuge following the Nakba. It is that search for wealth and financial comfort that compels the men of Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams to attempt to be smuggled into Kuwait.151 Similar descriptions can be found in ‘Mawt sarı¯r raqam 12’ (1960, ‘Death of Bed Number 12’), ‘Luʾluʾ fı¯ al-tarı¯q’ (1958, ‘Pearls in ˙ the Street’), and ‘ʿ Ilbat zuja¯j wahda’ (1959, ‘A Single Glass Box’).152 In ˙ all of these stories, an oil-rich Gulf state, often explicitly identified as Kuwait, where Kanafani himself lived between the years of 1958 and 1960, is cast as a false utopia of sorts, where men (and it is always men) go in search of comfort and wealth but invariably end up having their hopes and expectations confounded. ‘Luʾluʾ fı¯ al-tarı¯q’, written during Kanafani’s time in Kuwait, is ˙ emblematic of this tendency in Kanafani’s writing. It tells the story of a chronically unlucky man with a weak heart who ventures to Kuwait in order to earn a windfall that never materializes. His friends there finally convince him to return to where he came from and put up the money for his fare, but on his way to the travel agent he comes across a man selling oysters on the sidewalk. It is a lottery of sorts as no one knows whether any given oyster contains a pearl. The unlucky man decides to test the limits of his misfortune by using all of his fare money to buy oysters, and watches with mounting dejection as, one by one, the oysters are opened to reveal their slimy innards, but no pearl. Finally the street vendor opens the final oyster and, as he looks into it, the unlucky man’s weak heart fails and the man drops dead. The man’s friend who accompanied him and narrates the story says that, in the chaos that ensued, he does not know whether the man dropped dead from the shock of finding a pearl in the final oyster, or because it was empty. As in Rija¯l fı¯ al-Shams, then, ‘Luʾluʾ fı¯ al-tarı¯q’ casts ˙ Kuwait as the Palestinians’ graveyard, a place of false promises where 153 death awaits. ‘Kafr al-Manjam’ deviates somewhat from the depiction of Kuwait/ the Gulf as a destination of false promises and certain death. For, after the fisherman, Ibrahim once again takes up his narrative, describing his time in the mythical city of Kafr al-Manjam, the name of which spontaneously, magically even, comes to Ibrahim’s mind upon seeing the city on the horizon without ever having seen it written or heard it

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mentioned. Kafr al-Manjam’s magical properties do not end there, for as Ibrahim describes it: I felt something magical as I gazed at it. For, despite its dark black colour, it seemed to glow like a mythical sun [shams ustu¯riyya ] and ˙ it appeared – as it glimmered finely on the horizon – as though it were a squatting negro [zanjiyya muqarfasa ] [. . .] only a few years ˙ ago Kafr al-Manjam did not exist and the sea extended afar, without end. Now nobody knows whether [Kafr al-Majam] emerged from the sea bed or fell from the sky. Is it solidified volcanic liquid, or is it a burning star that fell like a comet? The seemingly spontaneous creation of Kafr al-Manjam adds to its magical qualities, but Kanafani seems to also be commenting on Kuwait’s own meteoric rise over the course of the 1950s and 1960s from an obscure backwater to a place of mythical wealth. Tacitly, Kanafani is juxtaposing this arriviste state with Palestine’s deep historical roots. Whereas Palestine is the land of Christ’s birth, its pedigree attested to by the ages old olive trees that mark its landscape, Kafr al-Manjam (read: Kuwait) emerged seemingly from nowhere. And yet while Palestine has been lost, Kuwait would achieve its independence from British dominion in 1961 and go on to attain wealth and affluence. Unlike Kanafani’s other tales of Kuwait’s/the Gulf’s false promises of wealth, Kafr al-Manjam lives up to its mythical reputation. Ibrahim finds gold all around, and collecting it is a mere matter of picking it up: Kafr al-Manjam opened its doors to me and I entered it and burrowed out a cave for myself in the giant rock that I made into my home and I went about filling my bags with gold that I could find any place I extended my hands or scratch with my nails. And each time I’d strip away from the rock a layer of gold, another one would grow in its place faster than you could blink. It may seem like a repugnant idea to you, for one to live in a home resembling a cave, but have you thought of a cave whose walls are made of gold? It’s the only thing I didn’t get used to and still that seems extraordinary to me, even after fifteen years.154

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While Ibrahim is being sincere here, Kanafani seems to be writing ironically. For a cave is still a cave – irrespective of its walls of gold – dark, cramped and uncomfortable. But Ibrahim has clearly been mesmerized by wealth (earlier in the story the first narrator, Ibrahim’s schoolmate, comments on Ibrahim’s expensive cigarettes, golden lighter, golden cufflinks and suit made of expensive fabric upon seeing him reappear in the cafe´).155 The idyllic depiction of Kafr al-Manjam is almost immediately then tempered: I slept that first night far from everything familiar, [separated by] vast miles of destitution. Loneliness reverberated in my ears like the neighing of a dying horse, but the radiance of the walls silenced the wailing winds at my core. Suddenly I felt something strange in the cave, and when I got up to feel the walls my hands landed upon a liquid oozing from heavy, black rock’s pores. It was saliva, the walls would ooze it each night, but you had had no choice but to get used to it.156 Those same walls of glittering gold that quelled Ibrahim’s loneliness and isolation would, come evening, literally spit upon him. Most telling of all is Ibrahim’s resigned assertion that it is simply something that one must endure and get used to, part of the cost of enjoying Kafr al-Manjam’s wealth. It is an indictment both of the treatment of Palestinians in exile in the Gulf, as well as of the Palestinians themselves, who allow their desire for wealth to outweigh their sense of dignity, essentially allowing themselves to be spat upon. The previous passage also marks Ibrahim’s final words of his narrative. Whereas the transitions between narrators had been relatively smooth hitherto, it now abruptly turns once again to the story’s initial narrator, Ibrahim’s childhood schoolmate. The abruptness of the narrative shift is further emphasized by the narrator suddenly getting up from his table and paying for his drink and Ibrahim’s (the latter ‘did not object’) and stepping out into the street.157 He observes that life outside seemed to be proceeding as normal. ‘Then suddenly’, states the narrator, ‘that thing happened once again: I felt a surprising happiness. I put my hand in my pocket and shook my head as I smiled and quickened my pace. No, Ibrahim hasn’t yet returned from Kafr al-Manjam’.158 The story’s ending

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is therefore far less conclusive than that of Rija¯l fı¯ al-Shams or ‘Luʾluʾ fı¯ al-tarı¯q’, in both of which the protagonists’ quest for wealth ultimately ˙ leads to their death in Kuwait. But it is precisely that inconclusiveness that is ‘Kafr al-manjam’s’ point. Is Kafr al-Manjam real? If so, is that where Ibrahim is, or did he die 15 years prior as everyone had assumed. Did he reappear in the coffee shop, or was he merely a figment of his schoolmate’s imagination? Uncertainty prevails throughout the story; reality and hallucination are interwoven so tightly as to make it impossible to tell them apart. It is precisely that uncertainty, that indeterminacy, that is the story’s ultimate point, reflecting the uncertain existence of Palestinians exiled after the Nakba. As should be clear from the foregoing discussion, Kanafani’s literary experimentation, far from obscuring his political message, was in fact central to it. In the case of his fragmented narratives, for instance, Aida Azouqa argues: Kanafani realizes the merits of Faulkner’s multiple narrators and stream-of-consciousness as devices that enable a writer to abstract his socio-political concerns through appearing to limit his focus to the sensibilities of his protagonists, which, in turn, reveal the universal struggle of the individual with himself and with the world that surrounds him.159 Moreover, the multiple narrators cast across space mirror the Palestinians’ scattered existence in exile. Kanafani’s use of abstracted, modernist literary devices contrasts sharply with Samira Azzam’s overarching realism, and yet neither author can fairly be said to be any less ‘committed’ in the Sartrean sense, or less artistic in the literary sense. Each author, in her and his own way, seeks to narrate the Palestinian Nakba, understood not only as the events of 1947– 9, but as the ongoing process of Palestinian dispossession and subjugation in a manner that entwines the political demands of testimony and the artistic imperatives of literature.

CHAPTER 2 NAKSA

Nakba to Naksa ‘Naksa’, the Arabic term referring to the Arabs’ cataclysmic military debacle of 1967 is a testament to the permeation of literary sensibilities into the realm of Arab everyday life. In its rhyme and alliteration, ‘Naksa’ recalls the Nakba, the Arabs’ defeat against Israel nearly two decades prior. But while ‘nakba’ means ‘catastrophe’, a term suitable for describing the totality of the Arabs’ defeat, the loss of nearly all of historic Palestine and the displacement of the overwhelming majority of Palestine’s indigenous Arab inhabitants, ‘naksa’ means, quite simply, ‘setback’. Thus, although Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser himself euphemistically coined the term in a radio address announcing Egypt’s defeat in 1967, the term’s significance lies not only in its evocation of the Nakba, but also in the connotations of wry and subversive understatement it acquired as it came to be used by the Arabs in reference to 1967. The word ‘setback’, by its very nature implies a temporary state of affairs set to be rectified in the near future. Yet, after 1967, only the most self-deluded could deny Israeli military primacy or its long-term position in the region. The combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria had been swiftly defeated to the utter shock and disbelief of the Arab masses. However, the brevity of the war and seeming ease with which Israel trounced the much vaunted Arab armies (Egypt’s in particular) had much more far-reaching, symbolic dimensions. For, while the Arab armies could be rearmed and restocked with materiel, nothing could be

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done to remedy the fatal blow dealt to the myth of Arab strength in unity that had been the backbone of the pan-Arab nationalist movement led by Gamal Abdel Nasser throughout the 1950s and right up until the eve of Arab defeat in June of 1967. The demise of pan-Arabism precipitated an inward shift among the Arab states as each attempted to deal with internal discord in the wake of 1967. This had important repercussions for the Palestinians and their national struggle. Previously inextricably bound to the broader Arab world, the Palestinians were, after 1967, largely left to their own devices. This provided an opportunity for unprecedented autonomy as the Palestinians, jaded by their bitter experiences with the Arab regimes, sought to carve out a space for Palestinian nationalism in its own right, rather than as a mere subset of broader pan-Arab nationalism. To untether Palestinian nationalism from Arab nationalism, the Palestinians would develop their own particularistic identity, with its own symbols, tropes and mythology. An ethos of resistance would be central to this renewed identity, as Palestinians would tap into contemporary global Third World revolutionary movements as well as their own history of nationalist anti-imperial struggle.

The Palestinians and the Rise and Fall of Pan-Arabism After the defeat of 1948, the Arab world was swept by a tide of discontent, turmoil, and revolution which overthrew many of the ancien regimes which were seen to be tainted by their association with European imperial rule. The petty bickering and divisions among this aristocratic class of rulers were seen as a primary cause for the Nakba of 1948,1 and in the months and years immediately following the defeat, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan were all rocked by a string of political assassinations and coups as the old order came to be replaced mostly by young military men with strong nationalist ideals.2 United, the Arabs were stronger than the mere sum of their parts, so the argument went.3 This was the lesson gleaned from confrontation with the Zionists who benefited not only from military superiority, but also from a staunch unity of purpose. The leading light among this new generation of Arab leaders was Gamal Abdel Nasser, who took power following a bloodless coup in Egypt in 1952. Nasser, himself a soldier in the war of 1948, espoused a

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pan-Arabist vision which sought to transcend imperially imposed state boundaries to unite the whole of the Arab speaking world. Young and charismatic, the Egyptian leader employed a number of methods to ‘go over the heads’ of other Arab governments, so to speak, and reach out directly to Arab citizens. Radio was a primary tool in this regard, as the Egyptian ‘Voice of the Arabs’ radio station’s signal was strengthened to enable it to reach the whole of the Arab world. Indeed, the goal of Arab unity was inscribed into the very mandate of the Voice of the Arabs, which stated that the station sought to ‘expound the viewpoints of the Arab nation, reflect the hopes and fears of the Arab countries . . . unite the Arabs and mobilize their forces to achieve Arab unity’.4 Speaking in the colloquial vernacular, as opposed to the high classical Arabic in which the ancien regime addressed its nation (when it deigned to do so), Nasser electrified his radio audiences with his fiery rhetoric, in turn ‘sen[ding] his audiences into wildly rapturous demonstrations of enjoyment, approval and applause’.5 In 1957, Lebanese director of intelligence, Amir Farid Chehab, reported (in a typically sectarian tone) that ‘political propaganda in Nasser’s favour is what mostly occupies the spirit of the Muslim masses who consider him the only leader of the Arabs. They care for no other leader but him thanks to the influence of Egyptian and Syrian radio stations and his achievements in Egypt’.6 On 26 March 1964 Nasser addressed the newly elected Egyptian National Assembly. As he would confess in the speech, Egypt was having difficulties meeting the ambitious goals outlined in the 1960–65 Five Year Plan. National foreign currency reserves were sinking while inflation was rising.7 Despite, or perhaps because of these and other challenges, Nasser sought to re-affirm the values of pan-Arabism before the National Assembly, and the position of the Palestinian cause within it: The Egyptian warrior, or the Iraqi or the Syrian, does not bear his arms in defence of a Palestinian refugee family but rather he – alongside this – bears arms in defence of his own Egyptian, or Syrian, or Iraqi family. A single Arab nation [umma ] confronts the same battle because it confronts the same dangers and is threatened by the same fate. If it [the Arab Nation] one day yields in its determination or squanders its history and future, it will have lost from its grasp the present opportunity to prepare and mobilize.8

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Immediately apparent in Nasser’s statement is the attempt to cast the struggle for Palestinian national liberation as a cause for the whole of the Arab nation. Nasser’s invocation of the Iraqi and Syrian soldier, however, is also telling of the internal dynamics and tensions that existed between Arab states and their leaders. The union between Egypt and Syria, a first step in the grand Arab unity project, had been dissolved only a few years prior, in 1961,9 while at the time of the speech Egyptian forces found themselves mired in the Yemeni Civil War, where his support for republican forces in that country set Nasser on a collision course with Saudi Arabia, which supported Yemeni royalists.10 Meanwhile, negotiations for a federal union between Iraq and Egypt had begun in February of 1964, one month before Nasser’s speech to the National Assembly.11 The invocation of Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, therefore, is a prime example of Nasser ‘going over the heads’ of state leaders in order to speak directly to their citizens and get them ‘on side;’ in the Syrian case, in order to bypass the regime that had dissolved the United Arab Republic, while in the Iraqi case, in order to prepare the groundwork for a future union. Amid the politicking and egos of national leaders, it is easy to see how the Palestinian cause could get, if not lost, then at least instrumentalized in ways that did not necessarily benefit the Palestinians. Indeed, the establishment of the PLO in 1964, the same year as Nasser’s speech to the National Assembly quoted above, was in many ways a measure to diffuse Syrian criticism of Nasser’s inaction on the Palestinian front, rather than a genuine attempt to establish a representative Palestinian body.12 Despite Nasser’s ‘we’re all in this together’ rhetoric, the ‘dangers’ and ‘fate’ confronted by Palestinians, exiled and stateless, were very different from those faced by other Arab citizens. There is also something to be said about the dilution, or loss of Palestinian distinctiveness, when their cause of national liberation is conflated to include the Arab nation as a whole. Undoubtedly, bringing the combined resources of the Arab states to bear on the cause of Palestinian national liberation would, in a best case scenario, offer the greatest hope of returning Palestinians to their homeland. But this risks obscuring the particularity of the Palestinians’ situation and history, easily lost in the conflation of their cause to an Arab cause writ large. It is against this tendency, thoroughly discredited after the defeat of 1967, that the Palestinians would labour to establish their own unique and particular

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Palestinian identity. As shall be discussed in further detail below, to do so Palestinians would reach back into their own history to create national mythologies of resistance, while also looking to contemporary Third World anti-colonial and revolutionary struggles for inspiration. The Arab military defeat in 1967 was absolute and unequivocal. Beneath the fac ade and rhetoric of the unity of the Arab peoples, their governments remained in many ways just as divided as they had been in 1948. Eugene Rogan points out that, despite a rather prolonged lead-up to the hostilities of 1967, the Arab states involved ‘had undertaken no meaningful war planning, and despite their mutual defense pacts, there was no military coordination between Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, let alone a strategy for defeating so determined a foe as Israel’.13 Within three hours of launching its surprise attack, Israel had succeeded in destroying all of Egypt’s bombers and 85 per cent of its fighter aircraft, while also visiting such devastation on Egyptian radar emplacements and landing strips as to make Egyptian airspace unusable to other aircraft.14 Having achieved air superiority over Egypt, the most powerful Arab military in the region, victory over Jordan and Syria, Israel’s remaining adversaries in the war, was a foregone conclusion. To put Israeli victory and Arab defeat into perspective consider the following: by the time a ceasefire had been agreed and armistice lines established, Israel had fully trebled its territory, with the capture of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank (including symbolic East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the strategically important Golan Heights from Syria. Arab governments had, in its initial stages, taken to brazenly lying to their populations about the progress of the war. As Eugene Rogan notes: Stunned by their losses, the Egyptian commanders resorted to fantasy to buy time. On the first day of the fighting [when the entire Egyptian air force had effectively been neutralized by the Israelis], Cairo reported the downing of 161 Israeli planes. The Syrians followed suit, claiming to have shot down 61 Israeli aircraft in the opening hours of the war. It was the beginning of a concerted disinformation campaign broadcast over the radio waves and reproduced in the state-controlled newspapers that led the Arab world to believe that Israel was on the verge of total defeat.15

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My own father, a university student in Egypt at the time, recalls: We all believed Israel had committed a fatal error. It had poked a hornet’s nest with its provocations and would meet its end as a result. For a while, even after the war started, we continued to believe that. We were lied to by our government in the nightly radio broadcasts announcing great victories for the Arab armies. Absurd numbers of planes shot down, more than even existed in the Israeli air force probably. When the truth became clear, we couldn’t believe it. We were shocked, but we should have known better.16 With Arab expectations raised to such lofty and unrealistic heights, the ultimate realization of defeat and betrayal by their own governments was made all the more bitter. With the hopes of pan-Arab nationalism effectively crushed, individual Arab states turned inward to fend off threats to their rule. As after 1948, the defeat of 1967 prompted another spate of revolutions in the Arab world. Between 1968 and 1970, coups toppled the regimes of Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria.17 War weary, fragmented and disenchanted, Arab states turned to look inward. During the ascendancy of pan-Arabism, the Palestinian cause was subsumed under the broader rubric of pan-Arab struggles and reforms, including more equitable land and wealth distribution, increasing literacy rates, programmes of modernization and industrialization, and others.18 And while the Palestinian cause was always seen as paramount among all these other initiatives, until 1967 Arab governments in the region could do little more than talk about the cause of Palestinian national liberation, and after 1967, they could no longer plausibly do even that.19 Thus, paradoxically, the Arab defeat of 1967 provided a moment of opportunity for Palestinians to decouple themselves from pan-Arabism, reconstitute their own particularistic identity and take the lead in their own national liberation. Indeed, the cause of national liberation came to define Palestinian identity in many ways, as they sought inspiration from contemporary Third World liberation movements as well as their own history of resistance to imperial rule.20 This turn towards Palestinian particularism in the wake of 1967 can give the outward appearance that Palestinian national identity emerged only then, and only in response to those political events. Detractors of

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Palestinian nationalism have latched on to this perception to deny legitimacy to Palestinian identity. As Rashid Khalidi puts it: One of the most common tropes in treatment of issues related to Palestine is the idea that Palestinian identity, and with it, Palestinian nationalism, are ephemeral and of recent origin. This is most commonly expressed as the assertion that both of these phenomena are in some sense artificial – the implication being that they must be distinguished from ‘real’ identities, and ‘real’ nationalisms – and that they emerged only in the 1960s.21 As should become clear, Palestinian identity did not so much emerge only in the 1960s, but rather underwent a fundamental shift away from being part and parcel of Arab nationalism writ large, towards a distinctly Palestinian self-conceived identity. Over the nearly 20 years between the Nakba of 1948, and the Naksa of 1967, the Palestinians had seen no progress in their cause for national liberation. After 1967, Israel had consolidated its hold on the remainder of historic Palestine, while obliterating the Arab armies upon which, as in 1948, the Palestinians had pinned their hopes. Despite the poor showing of the Arab armies after 1948, the Palestinians still believed that Palestine would ultimately be liberated by the armies of their Arab brethren.22 While frustrations with the inability or unwillingness of the Arabs to intervene had built up over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, it was the debacle of 1967 that finally snuffed out this last glimmer of hope. Thus, while hitherto the Palestinian nationalist struggle had been situated within the broader rubric of Arab nationalism, the debacle of 1967 put paid to the false prophet of Arab nationalism in delivering Palestinians to their homeland. The Palestinians became convinced that their homeland would only be liberated by their own hands, and they would not hesitate to confront ostensibly brotherly Arab states seen to stand in the way of that objective. As a result, the 1967–87 period would be one of unprecedented Palestinian itinerancy as large populations of Palestinians were forced to move from one country to the next when various Palestinian factions (and the Palestinian people they were seen to represent) fell afoul of one Arab regime after another. Having already been forced out of the West Bank and into Jordan after 1967,23 a de facto civil war erupted in 1970

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between the Jordanian army and armed Palestinian factions, leading to the latter’s expulsion to Lebanon in what became known as Black September.24 With a large exodus of (mostly Muslim) Palestinians upsetting Lebanon’s highly fragile confessional system of governance, Palestinians were sucked into the Lebanese Civil War (indeed, were blamed by many, mostly Christian, Lebanese for causing it).25 Israel’s entry into the Lebanese conflict, first on a limited scale in 1978, followed by a full military invasion and siege of Beirut in 1982 ultimately resulted in the expulsion of the PLO leadership and other Palestinian militant factions from Lebanon to Tunis in 1982, where they would remain until the Oslo Accords of 1993 allowed their return to the West Bank and Gaza.26 The persistence of confrontations between Palestinians and their host governments further emphasized the demise of panArabism and the rise of the Palestinians as a discrete nation, albeit fragmented and dispersed in exile.

Refugees to Revolutionaries: Palestinian Identity of Resistance and its Antecedents The reconstituted Palestinian identity that would emerge after 1967 would be grounded firmly in an ethos of resistance to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian homeland. In this, the Palestinians found common cause with, and inspiration from the numerous nationalist anti-imperial struggles taking place globally at the time. But the Palestinians also had their own rich history of resistance to colonialism upon which to draw. As Yezid Sayigh states, ‘armed struggle provided the political impulse and organizational dynamic in the evolution of Palestinian national identity’, continuing: ‘By the same token, the armed struggle played a pivotal role in demarcating the Palestinians as a distinct actor in regional politics with a not insignificant degree of autonomy.’27 Where post-Nakba Palestinian identity was marked by mourning the loss of Palestine, after 1967, and concomitant with the rise of armed Palestinian resistance and a younger generation of Palestinians brought up in exile, a reinvigoration would take place. The Nakba would continue to hold a central position in the Palestinian collective memory as the definitive rupture point in modern Palestinian history, but, as we shall see in Ghassan Kanafani’s post-1967 works, no longer would it be depicted in the same futile and fatalistic terms. At the same time,

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Kanafani, among others, would reclaim previous episodes in Palestinian history, seeking to connect the present historical moment with a legacy of Palestinian resistance. Key among these historical moments was the 1936– 9 Great Arab Revolt against British rule in Palestine. Kimmerling and Migdal write that ‘as the first sustained violent uprising of the Palestinian national movement . . . perhaps no event has been more momentous in Palestinian history than the Great Arab Revolt’, adding: ‘aside from the Gandhi-led agitation they confronted in India, the British faced no more formidable opposition to their imperial rule than that of the Palestinians’.28 The rather convoluted series of events that led to the uprising need not detain us here. What concerns us is the position that the Palestinian uprising of 1936–9 would come to occupy in the Palestinian historical and collective consciousness after 1967. Although the British were initially slow to respond to the escalating disorder in Palestine at the outbreak of the Revolt, once they did, they did so decisively. Sir Charles Tegart, who had gained experience suppressing anti-colonial agitation in India was dispatched along with 25,000 men to quell the uprising.29 The British also deployed a series of draconian laws, frequently employing the use of collective punishment, including the destruction of approximately 2,000 homes between 1936 and 1940. By the end of the uprising, 5,000 Palestinians would be killed, with another 10,000 wounded. Ultimately, ‘over 10 per cent of the adult male population was killed, wounded, imprisoned, or exiled’.30 The ruthless measures used to quell it would have disastrous effects upon Palestinian national ambitions. Rashid Khalidi attributes the defeat of the Palestinians in 1948 first and foremost to the divisions and petty squabbles of Palestinian elites who jockeyed for primacy in 1936–9, but also in no small measure to the social decapitation and ensuing disarray brought about by the killing, wounding, incarceration, or exile of so many Palestinian men in the course of the revolt. Despite its failure, however, and despite the fact that this failure was a significant contributing factor to the greater defeat that was 1948, the Revolt of 1936–9 would live on in Palestinian collective memory as an exulted chapter in Palestinian anti-colonial resistance. For three years, the Palestinians had managed to pose a threat to the world’s most powerful imperial force, as attested to by the ruthlessness and brutality of the British response. And although petty divisions at the uppermost

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echelons of Palestinian society ultimately proved to be the Palestinians’ Achilles heel, collective action at the middle to lower socio-economic strata such as strikes and other forms of civil disobedience provided a model example of Palestinian collective action that would become inspiration for subsequent Palestinian periods of resistance.31 One of the complex series of events that ultimately resulted in the Palestinian-Arab Revolt of 1936– 9 was the killing in 1935 of Izz al-Din Qassam. Qassam originally hailed from the territory of modern-day Syria but settled in Haifa, Palestine following French occupation of Syria and the defeat of Arab nationalists there. Influenced by Arab nationalist thought which, at the time, was probably strongest in Syria, Qassam began organizing marginalized groups – Haifa slumdwellers and landless fellahin – into clandestine cells with the intention of sowing insurrection and leading a full-scale revolt against the British in Palestine. Qassam would subsequently enter Palestinian lore as the nationalist and resister par excellence, and as shall be seen below, would be revived during later stages of the Palestinian struggle for national liberation as the paragon of Palestinian resistance. In October of 1935, Qassam and his men mysteriously disappeared from Haifa, reappearing a month later in headlines announcing their deaths (or ‘martyrdom’ as it was reported in the newspapers of the day) in the course of a two-hour firefight with British troops. The ensuing funeral of Qassam and the others who had died with him would bring thousands into the heart of Haifa. A contemporary newspaper described the scene as follows: With great effort the martyrs were carried through the crowd from the mosque to the great square outside. Here the pen falters in describing the scene. Thousands accompanied the procession, with the bodies carried at shoulder height, shouting Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, while the women ululated from the roof tops and the windows [. . .] then, while the bodies were raised, a voice cried out Revenge! Revenge! The thousands responded with one voice like a roar of thunder: Revenge! Revenge!32 The actions and sacrifices of Qassam and his impoverished, marginalized men could not contrast more starkly with inaction and servility of the elite Palestinian notables. In the course of 15 years of negotiations with

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their British masters (and, indeed, patrons) the notables, as much in competition with one another as they were with the British, were unable to achieve independence for Palestine. Nor could they stem the tide of Jewish immigration and settlement which continued unabated, displacing peasants from their land and dimming hopes for an independent Palestinian state. After 1967, Ghassan Kanafani would draw a line of descent between Qassam, the Revolt triggered in part by his killing, and the contemporary Palestinian – and indeed, global anti-imperial – resistance movement, writing: It appears that when he realized that he could no longer expand the revolt with his comrades, Sheikh al-Qassam adopted his famous slogan: ‘Die as Martyrs’. It is due to al-Qassam that we should understand this slogan in a ‘Guevarist’ sense, if we may use the expression, but at the ordinary nationalist level, the little evidence we possess of al-Qassam’s conduct shows that he was aware of the importance of his role as the initiator of an advanced revolutionary focus.33 Of course, to connect Qassam’s statement to Guevarist revolutionary thought is anachronistic. Guevara would have been seven years old and unaware of Qassam or his death in 1935. Moreover, anti-colonial sentiments aside, Qassam, a conservative and devout Muslim cleric could not have differed more from Guevara in terms of ideology. Kanafani would surely have been aware of the paradox of superimposing Guevara onto Qassam’s rhetoric. In doing so, however, Kanafani consciously sought to re-contextualize the Palestinian struggle for independence by semiotically linking the Palestinian history of resistance to colonialism with contemporary Third World movements. Rather than dwell upon the defeat of 1948, Kanafani seeks to ‘rehabilitate’ Palestinian history as it were by invoking the memory of Qassam and the mass uprising that followed his death. As Yezid Sayigh observes: Armed struggle was the source of political legitimacy and national identity, the new substance of the ‘imagined community’ of the Palestinians. Guerrilla literature developed this theme by referring

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to past examples of Palestinian rebellion and emphasizing the continuity of conflict and the tradition of resistance.34 Where the Nakba connoted fragmentation and defeat, Qassam and the Great Arab Revolt signified mass solidarity that, at least for a time, posed a serious challenge to the world’s pre-eminent imperial power. In linking Qassam and Guevara, Kanafani connects the Palestinian history of resistance to the present, not just in the struggle of Palestinian liberation, but, more broadly, within the global context of revolutionary ferment sweeping across the Third World at the time. With decisive victories being struck against colonialism throughout the still-colonized world, Kanafani’s linking of Guevara to Qassam situates Palestine and its people’s struggle in central pride of place. It is a prime example of Robert Young’s assertion that: anti-colonialism was a diasporic production, a revolutionary mixture of the indigenous and cosmopolitan, a complex constellation of situated local knowledges combined with radical, universal political principles, constructed and facilitated through international networks of party cells and organizations that generated common practical information and material support as well as spreading radical political and intellectual ideas.35 By merging the Palestinian past of anti-colonial struggle through Qassam with the present global anti-colonial revolutionary movement via Guevara, Kanafani demonstrates the ‘revolutionary mixture of the indigenous and the cosmopolitan’ that fed revolutionary ferment at the time. From Latin America to Vietnam, Palestinians could see groups with which they perceived a common cause, providing invaluable moral support. The various Palestinian factions would feed off this international revolutionary ferment. In this respect, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, which would ultimately come to hold a position of pre-eminence in the PLO and in the cause of Palestinian liberation more generally, was typical. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal observe: Notions of armed struggle and popular liberation were in the air in the 1960s, leading some in Fatah to believe that they were part of a

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larger, inexorable world force. The success of Algeria’s FLN in expelling the deeply rooted pied noirs was but one of several important models. Jomo Kenyatta’s triumph against British colonialism in Kenya and the efforts of the National Organization of [Greek] Cypriot Struggle (EOKA) were others. Farther away, but still extremely important in the minds of Fatah members were the Cuban and Vietnamese revolutions. The writings of General Giap in Vietnam, Che Guevara in Cuba, and Mao Zedong, were all appearing in Palestinian refugee camps, newly translated into Arabic. Perhaps most influential of all was Franz [sic ] Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, which, in the Algerian context, talked of the cathartic benefits of violence against the occupier.36 Fatah would, after 1967, gradually come to dominate Palestinian political life. Founded in Kuwait by a young, charismatic engineer named Yasser Arafat, Fatah differed from many of the groups in existence at the time in its eschewing of pan-Arabism in favour of a particularistic conception of Palestinian nationalism. Rashid Khalidi observes that Fatah ‘from the start had taken on an overtly Palestinian configuration, barely paying even lip-service to the shibboleths of Arabism’.37 As shall be elaborated upon below, in the Battle of Karama in 1968, Fatah would, as with the Great Arab Revolt, turn a putative military defeat into a crucial propaganda victory, transforming the perception of Palestinians, both internally and externally, from downtrodden refugees into noble warriors. Key to the new Palestinian post-1967 subjectivity was the shedding of the Palestinians’ self-perception as mere refugees and the adoption of a new identity as revolutionaries. Being a refugee carried connotations of defeat, passivity, and reliance upon donor and host states for everything including food, tents, and land on which to erect refugee camps. By contrast, the new Palestinian revolutionary identity emphasized selfreliance, agency, and pro-activeness in reclaiming their homeland. As Yusuf Shihada would declare, after 1967 ‘to declare Palestinian identity no longer means that one is a “refugee” or second-class citizen. Rather, it is a declaration that arouses pride, because the Palestinian has become the fida¯’ı¯ or revolutionary who bears arms.’38 Indeed, the image of the fida¯’ı¯ – literally, ‘one who sacrifices (oneself)’, but more commonly (mis)translated as ‘militant’ or ‘fighter’ – would

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come to dominate the Palestinian symbolic landscape. Kimmerling and Migdal explain: The feday [. . .] was a modern metamorphosis of the holy warrior. Sacrificing himself in the battle against Zionism, he was portrayed with head wrapped in the distinctive checkered Palestinian kafiya, gripping a Kalashnikov. The image drew on memories of those who had manned the rebel groups from 1936 – 1939 and on idealized portraits of peasants as salt of the earth – even though membership of the PLO [after 1968 led by Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction], which heavily promoted the image, was primarily cosmopolitan and from the cities; its early popularity bolstered the PLO claim to be the sole legitimate Palestinian representative. Note here once again the evocation of the 1936– 9 Great Arab Revolt reconstructing post-1967 Palestinian identity. Even the kuffiyeh, which would become so synonymous with Palestinian militants after 1967 and Fatah leader Yasser Arafat in particular, would make its debut as a nationalist symbol over the course of the Great Arab Revolt. Until then, the customary headdress of Palestinian urbanites was the Ottoman tarbu¯sh, or fez. The tarbush, however, gestured to the Arabs’ rule by the Turkish Ottoman Empire until the end of the First World War. The kuffiyeh, by contrast, as the traditional headdress of rural Arab peasants, was seen as indigenously authentic. Moreover, raids into urban centres over the course of the Revolt were often carried out by rural villagers wearing the kuffiyeh. Their headdress caused them to stand out in the crowds, leading to easy apprehension. Thus ‘on August 26, 1938, when the revolt was reaching its apogee and beginning to take control of the urban areas, the rebel leadership commanded all Palestinian townsmen to discard the tarbuˆsh and don the kuˆfıˆya’.39 British newspapers in Palestine at the time note that adoption of the kuffiyeh and abandonment of the tarbush occurred with ‘lightning rapidity’.40 After 1967, the kuffiyeh became de rigueur for the Palestinian fighters, the fida’iı¯n who rose to prominence, depicted variously as terrorists or freedom fighters. The fida¯’ı¯, then, with his kuffiyyeh and Kalashnikov came to embody the dual ideals of rootedness to the homeland, and the willingness to die in the struggle to liberate it.

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Ultimately, creating a distinctly Palestinian identity required the development of distinctly Palestinian symbolic tropes to set the Palestinians apart from the wider Arab community with which the Palestinians shared a language, religions, and, in a broad sense, a cultural heritage as a whole. Unsurprisingly, Palestinians found their national distinctiveness in that which set them apart from the rest of the Arab community: their statelessness and the struggle to reclaim their homeland. Both by looking to previous episodes of Palestinian mass resistance as well as other anti-colonial struggles being waged around them, the Palestinians were able to shed the post-Nakba paralytic malaise and reclaim a renewed sense of agency and independence in a particularistically Palestinian identity independent of the Arab states that had now twice suffered an epic defeat at the hands of Israel.

The Reclamation of Dignity and the Battle of Karama The word kara¯ma means ‘dignity’ in Arabic. It is therefore fitting that the battle that would in many ways reclaim the Palestinians’ sense of dignity and catalyze the Palestinian body politic after the staggering twin defeats of 1948 and 1967 should take place in a village by that name. After 1967, all the elements necessary for a particularistic Palestinian identity grounded in the ethos of resistance and inspired by the Palestinians’ own history of nationalist agitation and the global Third World nationalist movements were percolating throughout Palestinian society, as discussed above. Yasser Arafat had, since the early/mid-1960s, been steadily eroding the support base of pan-Arab Palestinian liberation movements through the rising popularity of his Fatah movement. Symbols and concepts of Palestinian resistance had begun to rise in notoriety. What was necessary was something to bring all of these disparate threads together into something more cohesive upon which a unified Palestinian national movement could be (re)built. The Battle of Karama would provide that opportunity, launching Arafat to the apex of the Palestinian national movement in the process. After Israel’s capture of the West Bank in the war of 1967, the Palestinians’ main base of operations shifted to Jordan, where a great many Palestinian refugees from the 1948 exodus had already settled. From there, Palestinian militant groups, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah prominent among them, launched guerrilla raids into the West Bank, now occupied

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by Israel. Although these raids ultimately resulted in heavier casualties to the Palestinians, they were sufficiently bothersome to the Israelis that by March 1968 it was decided the militants’ base of operations in the village of Karama was to be destroyed.41 On 21 March, an Israeli force consisting of 15,000 set out into Jordanian territory to raze Karama and the militant training camps surrounding it. Fatah had as few as 250 guerrillas with which to defend the village against the massive Israeli force.42 The Palestinians had no choice but to abandon the village and camps, and ambush the Israeli forces as they withdrew. What ensued was a battle which would take on mythic proportions as the Fatah guerrillas confronted the greatly superior Israeli forces.43 Mahmoud Issa, a Palestinian refugee from 1948 who participated in the battle, recalls: The moment the tanks passed our positions, the signal was given for us to attack. It was a great relief for me and my comrades. It was as though we had held our breath for too long. We ran straight ahead and wanted to run faster yet. We could imagine the surprise of the Israelis, seeing commandos they believed buried under the rubble now racing towards them.44 With the defeat of 1948 still unresolved, and the humiliation of 1967 still fresh in their minds, it is easy to sense in Issa’s statement – in his assertion of having held his breath too long, and the desire to run everfaster headlong into the Israeli columns – the palpable desire to set wrongs right and to reclaim Palestinian dignity. The place the Battle of Karama has come to occupy in the Palestinian and broader Arab historical imagination is far out of proportion with its military significance. The Palestinians did, with the assistance of Jordanian artillery, succeed in disabling several Israeli vehicles and killing 28 Israeli soldiers, but at a high price, with 116 Palestinian guerrillas killed.45 But to focus narrowly on these military dimensions (and failures) is to miss the point of the mythological power such historical events and narratives can acquire. The Israelis had expected the Palestinian fighters to flee in the face of the far superior Israeli force, in keeping with the tenets of guerrilla warfare as well as prejudiced Israeli notions of Arab cowardice. Instead, the Palestinians stood and fought, inflicting far greater casualties on the Israeli forces than had been anticipated. According to Rashid Khalidi, the Battle of Karama:

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was politically significant [. . .] since inappropriate though the comparison was in fact, the Palestinians were able to contrast a situation where they had stood and fought, and at the end of the day were in control of the ground, with the inability of three regular Arab armies to do the same thing during the June war only a few months earlier. The Palestinian commando organizations and the media sympathetic to them immediately picked up this theme, which found a ready response from an Arab world still reeling from the unexpected defeat of 1967. Ultimately, in Khalidi’s assessment, ‘the battle of al-Karama was a case of a failure against overwhelming odds brilliantly narrated as a heroic triumph’.46 In this sense, the Battle of Karama can be compared to the 1936–9 Revolt in Palestine which, though similarly a failure, acquires important symbolic weight in the collective consciousness in its aftermath. In the wake of al-Karama, Palestinian militant factions reported a dramatic increase in the number of recruits and volunteers signing up. Fatah in particular gained great prestige from the battle and its aftermath, and although Arafat was initially wary of association with the PLO given its prior association with Arab regimes, the organization was reorganized and reconstituted with Fatah the dominant faction in the umbrella group. Within a year of the Battle of Karama, Arafat was voted the Chairman of the PLO, a title he would maintain until his death in 2004.

Commitment to Resistance On 25 February 1967, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir landed in Cairo for the start of a Middle East trip that would see them tour Egypt, Gaza and Israel. It was meant to be a fact-finding mission of sorts; preparation for an upcoming special edition of Sartre’s cultural review, Les Temps Modernes, dedicated to the conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis. Sartre met with Egyptian president Nasser, delivered a lecture at Cairo University, visited the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo, and toured the Palestinian refugee camps of the Gaza strip before setting off to Israel via Athens, as, indicative of the times, the borders between Israel and all the surrounding Arab countries were closed. With both Israeli and Arab

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writers contributing to the same volume of Les Temps Modernes, some saw Sartre’s visit and the subsequent publication of the special issue as a first step to rapprochement between Israel and the Arabs. However the timing of the publication could not be worse, coming as it did only days before Israel’s attack on Egypt, Syria, and Jordan that would result in the debacle of the 1967 war. As outlined in the previous chapter, Sartre was already a celebrity among the Arab intelligentsia. He had garnered wide acclaim among Arab intellectuals for his outspoken support of Algerian independence and concomitant condemnation of French colonialism while his concept of litte´rature engage´e had a profound impact upon the Arab literary and intellectual landscape from the early 1950s into the late sixties.47 The notion of litte´rature engage´e, rendered into Arabic as adab multazim (committed literature) or iltiza¯m (commitment), ‘fell on fertile ground in the progressive circles of Arab writers and poets’.48 During the period of its early development at the start of the twentieth century, Arabic prose fiction was highly romantic. The jarring experience of the Nakba of 1948 exposed the Arab nations’ underlying weaknesses and divisions. In its wake, it became difficult if not impossible to reconcile this Romantic vision of the Arab nation, with all its weaknesses, divisions, and shortcomings. As M.M. Badawi states, ‘the Palestine tragedy of 1948 . . . exposed the political weaknesses and corruption of Arab regimes and hence the total irresponsibility of authors taking refuge in a romantic world of beauty and daydreams . . .’.49 The issue of literary commitment, then, was as much aesthetic as it was about a work’s content. Like the pan-Arab nationalism with which it coincided, it is convenient, if rather facile, to mark the demise of realist committed literature with the 1967 war. The fact of the matter is that already by the mid-1960s literary commitment’s hold on the Arab literary world as articulated in a dogmatic insistence on literary realism was in terminal decline. Indeed, as early as the late fifties, ‘a slow but unmistakable reaction against socialist realism with its easy optimism and its tendency to pile up details and to use naive narrative techniques, and in fact against realism in general, begins to be detected’.50 The year 1966, for instance, saw the publication of no fewer than three landmark works of Arab modernism: al-Tayeb Saleh’s Mawsim al-hijra ila¯ al-shama¯l (Season of Migration to the North, 1969),51

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Ghassan Kanafani’s Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum (All That’s Left to You, 1990),52 and Sonallah Ibrahim’s Tilka al-ra¯ʾiha (That Smell, 2013).53 Rather ˙ than ushering in a new period of literary production ex nihilo, then, 1967 is better understood as having solidified a trend away from dogmatic realism that had been growing increasingly insistent in the years preceding the defeat, while also setting the tone and agenda for the forthcoming period. Commenting on the reaction to 1967, Sabry Hafez observes that: The effect of the defeat ranges from the loud tone of refusal to a quiet self-controlled one which managed to grasp the new features of the situation, passing en route to the obvious predilection for violence and blood, the bitter feeling of humiliation and selfabasement, the occasional rhetorical tone in an attempt to dissociate oneself from the shame of defeat to the extent of denying responsibility for it, and the obvious veneration for deeds of heroism, resistance and self-sacrifice.54 Pan-Arab nationalism as a political project, and commitment as a literary school of thought had been working in tandem, informed by the same realities and in response to the same historic pressures, towards essentially the same goal. The inward impulse among individual Arab states following 1967 was mirrored in individual Arab authors’ and thinkers’ turn to introversion. In the course of this selfscrutinization, ‘many proponents of literary commitment became aware that the Arab governments themselves had prevented the committed ideals from being realized, for no honest literary work could have a chance in a nation ruled by authoritarian and repressive means’. Verena Klemm goes on to state that: due to the political and ideological fragmentation which followed the war of 1967, many of the proponents of commitment lost their belief in the political role of the writer and the effectiveness of the literary word [. . .] Many writers outgrew the limits of literary commitment as it was propagated by political literary circles, and looked for new and individual solutions to the problem, asking themselves how literary writing could be significant in the present world.55

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Such a retreat from harsh realities may have been possible in many Arab states, but for Palestinians, still confounded by their statelessness and, after 1967, seemingly further than ever from liberating their homeland, no such luxury existed. No doubt, Palestinian authors would, to varying degrees, be subject to the same influences and trends as the rest of the Arab world. Thus, for instance, the 1974 publication of Emile Habibi’s surrealist masterpiece, Al-waqa¯’iʿ al gharı¯ba fı¯ ikhtifa¯’ Sa’ı¯d Abı¯ al-Nahs ˙ al-Mutasha¯’il (The Secret Life of Saeed: the Pessoptimist, 2001). However, Habibi’s work retains profoundly political overtones, proving the compatibility of modernist literature and public politics. On the other hand, Ghassan Kanafani, one of Arabic literature’s earliest exponents of modernist writing as demonstrated in the previous chapter displayed a marked turn away from modernist elements in his post-1967 writings, a fact possibly attributable to Kanafani’s increased adherence to MarxistLeninism. It is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from this as Kanafani’s life was tragically cut short by a car bomb in Beirut in 1972 planted by the Israeli Mossad, once again starkly demonstrating the intersection of Palestinian politics and literature. In tandem with the politics of resistance that had emerged in the Palestinian political sphere after 1967, there was a corresponding shift in emphasis that Palestinian literature underwent in response to the same socio-political climate. And just like post-1967 armed resistance, Palestinian literary resistance referred back to its pre-1948 ‘glory days’. Thus, Kanafani writes: Palestinian history, at least from the 1930s, is marked by both armed and cultural resistance. And just as the revolutions undertaken by the Palestinian people produced names such as Ezz el-Din al-Qassam, for instance, so too did resistance literature, before, during, and after the revolutions, produce names that Arab citizens continue to recall with great fondness, most prominent among which were Ibrahim Tuqan, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Abu Salma (the pseudonym for Abdel Karim al-Karmi), and others.56 As with other forms of resistance, then, Kanafani provides a sort of provenance for Palestinian resistance literature from which the Palestinian literature contemporary to his time can trace its origins.

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Kanafani wrote two studies of what he termed ‘resistance literature’: Adab al-Muqa¯wama fı¯ filistı¯n al-muhtalla 1948 –1966 (1966, Literature of ˙ ˙ Resistance in Occupied Palestine 1948 –1966), and al-adab al-filistı¯nı¯ al˙ muqa¯wim taht al-ihtila¯l 1948 – 1968 (1968, Palestinian Resistance ˙ ˙ Literature under Occupation 1948– 1968).57 As evidenced by the title of his works, Kanafani sees, or at least attempts to portray, a straight line of descent for resistance literature from pre-1948 Palestine down to the present day. But there are important distinctions to be made between the various periods of Palestinian literary production. Recall, for instance, Samira Azzam’s downtrodden protagonists, impotent in the face of fate, helpless to alter the course of their destinies. These characters are an apt reflection of the prevailing mood of helplessness after 1948. Even Ghassan Kanafani’s celebrated Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams is ultimately a despondent, almost nihilistic gesture towards the hopelessness of the Palestinian condition. As we shall see below, and notwithstanding Kanafani’s retreat from literary experimentation, a renewed spirit of agency, both individual and national, would suffuse Kanafani’s post1967 short stories. Thus, when Kanafani’s Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams was subsequently transformed into a film in 1972 entitled al-Makhdu¯ʿu¯n (The Dupes), its ending was changed.58 No longer do the three Palestinian men attempting to infiltrate Kuwait in the belly of a water tanker silently suffocate to death in the August heat as the castrated former Palestinian freedom fighter driving the truck cajoles the Kuwaiti customs official to let him pass. Instead, the men beat on the wall of the tanker’s belly. After 1967 it no longer made sense to depict the Palestinians silently suffocating to death, for in the rise of Palestinian armed resistance, the Palestinians had, figuratively speaking, begun beating loudly against the belly of the tank. As we shall see, this meant different things for different authors, but gone were the depictions of hapless Palestinians subject to fate’s caprices. Instead, a marked emphasis was placed on individual agency. It is no coincidence either that it is during this period that forceful feminist writing comes to full fruition through authors such as Liana Badr. The post-1967 period was a time for questioning all aspects of the prevailing socio-political order, including the patriarchal structures that were becoming increasingly discredited. Ultimately, the Palestinian literature of resistance that emerged after 1967 may, ironically, be truer to the Sartrean spirit of literary

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commitment than the literature produced during commitment’s zenith in the Arab world. For the Palestinian literature of resistance was less concerned with debates over form and more concerned with freedom, both national and individual. In Sartre we hear echoes of Kanafani: One does not write for slaves. The art of prose is bound up with the only regime in which prose has meaning: democracy. When one is threatened, the other is too. And it is not enough to defend them with the pen. A day comes when the pen is forced to stop, and the writer must then take up arms. Thus, however you might have come to it, whatever the opinions you might have possessed, literature throws you into battle. Writing is a certain way of wanting freedom; once you have begun, you are committed.59

Ghassan Kanafani’s ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq Though published in 1968, Ghassan Kanafani’s final collection of short stories before his assassination in 1972, ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq (On Men and Guns,60 1968) was written in a period spanning 1965 to 1968. As such, it provides a fascinating record of the political and literary changes affecting the region, the Palestinian people, and Kanafani himself during the pivotal period immediately preceding and following the 1967 war. Though a collection of individual short stories, there is continuity throughout many of the stories in ‘ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq as Kanafani follows many of the same characters throughout the collection. Chief among these is Mansur, often referred to in the titles of the stories as al-saghı¯r, ‘the youngster’, revealing one of the themes that ˙ dominates the stories: the gap between the older generation that left Palestine, and the younger jı¯l al-nakba (Generation of Catastrophe) that has grown up stateless and in exile since. That the young Mansur is the active agent throughout these stories, undertaking tangible acts of resistance, often in direct violation of his father’s orders not to do so, reminds us of the emasculation of Hasan in ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak ˙ sulayma¯n’ through his infantilization and likening to a child. Here, however, it is the child, Mansur, who is the heroic figure, in stark contrast to the men of his father’s generation, the putative paragons of masculinity, who are instead depicted as complacent, aged, and ultimately ineffectual in defending the Palestinian homeland.

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What emerges from examination of ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq is a pronounced shift away from the literature of mourning and despair that marked the post-Nakba period, to an assertive literature of resistance. No longer are Kanafani’s characters hapless subjects of fate’s whims, but rather active agents, attempting and often succeeding in altering the path of their destiny. The role of armed resistance is central in this, as demonstrated by Kanafani’s epigraph to the collection, which reads: ‘These are nine images out of which I wanted to paint the horizon in which men and guns have dawned, and which, together, shall paint the missing image in this collection’.61 Though Kanafani is cryptic as to what the ‘missing image’ may be, it is clear that he welcomes the dawn of armed resistance, and that only through such resistance, to which ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq is very much an homage, will the ‘missing image’ be painted. One of the central themes taken up by Kanafani’s ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-albana¯diq is the generation gap between the older generation that grew up in, and lost, the Palestinian homeland, and the jı¯l al-nakba (the ‘Generation of Catastrophe’), who were born and raised since, knowing nothing other than exile and displacement, but whose attachment to Palestine was no less profound. ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq often articulates the resentment felt by this Generation of Catastrophe towards the older generation, holding them accountable for their failure to stand fast and fight for their land, thus sparing the younger generation their lives of exile. This critique of the older generation is found throughout, but perhaps nowhere else is it made more explicit than in the story ‘Hamı¯d ˙ yaqif ʿan sama¯ʿ qisas al-aʿma¯m’ (‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ ˙ ˙ 62 Stories’). Written in February of 1968, among the later stories in the collection, ‘Hamı¯d yaqif . . .’ is in many ways the culmination of a ˙ process of evolution evident from the first stories in ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-albana¯diq. The story chronicles a group of Palestinian militants’ attack on an Israeli tank, during the course of which Hamid gets too close to the targeted tank and is temporarily deafened by its ensuing explosion. Already here we see a dramatic departure from the typical mode of Palestinian literature examined thus far in Chapter 1. Whereas Kanafani’s early works, such as ‘Ard al-burtuqa¯l al-hazı¯n’ (1963, ˙ ˙ ‘The Land of Sad Oranges’ 1978) are fundamentally reflections on Palestinian defeat in which Palestinians rarely if ever deal Zionist/Israeli

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forces a blow, ‘Hamı¯d yaqif . . .’ starts off rather matter-of-factly ˙ describing the militants’ success in detonating the tank. This act, in and of itself, is not the main focus of the story, however. Instead, the story focuses on Hamid’s subsequent deafness. As the men withdraw, the deafened Hamid says to the narrator: ‘If only you could have seen how it collapsed like paper. The tongues of the flames could almost reach me’ ‘Did you want to be sure for yourself? Is that why you got so close?’ ‘It completely exploded, like a matchbox’ ‘Did you doubt the effectiveness of your weapon?’ ‘. . . Like paper, it just burned . . .’63 Significant here is the dismissal and diminution of the Israeli tank as ‘like paper’. This starkly contrasts with depictions of Zionist/Israeli might in works published more closely following the Nakba, works like Samira Azzam’s ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’ or ‘Khubz al-fida¯ʾ’ ˙ where defending against the onslaught of Zionist forces is depicted as a futile, quixotic task. Here, the Palestinians are not merely defending, they are on the offensive, and in this episode, as in several others from the short stories in ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq, the offensive is successful. In the case of the attack on the tank, there is a sense of Hamid’s desire to get palpably close to the explosion. His comrade’s concern over Hamid’s proximity to the tank are not shared by Hamid himself. Instead, Hamid is exhilarated by the sensation of having been so close, nearly within reach of the flames, when the tank was detonated. His temporary deafness ensuing from the tank’s detonation, though ostensibly a handicap, will, over the course of the remainder of the story, serve to spare Hamid from the condescending lectures of the eponymous uncles. For, as indicated by the story’s title, the main conflict in ‘Hamı¯d yaqif . . .’ is not between Palestinian and Israeli, but rather ˙ between the older and younger generations of Palestinians. The narrator’s uncle is visiting when the narrator and his companions return home from their mission. He ‘greeted me [the narrator] coldly, and shook hands with the two guests with the tips of his fingers, attempting to make them feel that late night guests were unwelcomed’. 64 Crucially, the narrator’s wife, who has been

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entertaining the uncle while the narrator and his companions were on their mission, is fully aware of what the men have been doing that night, and is an active collaborator in covering for them: ‘My wife brought the tea, which we drank, and said, as was her custom, indicating to me which lie I should tell: “You stayed late at the coffee shop, did Hamid beat you at backgammon as usual?”’65 While the nature of the wife’s participation in armed resistance is far less direct than that of the men’s, this is, nonetheless, a subtle but significant departure from the passive role usually assigned to female characters in literature produced immediately following the Nakba as we have seen in Azzam’s works. The uncle then proceeds to chastise the men for staying out so late and lectures them on the virtues of remaining safe at home, or leaving the country altogether: ‘One day you may walk out of the coffee shop and get arrested because there’s been an explosion in the next village. The devils won’t let you out of their grasp, then no wives will be happy’. ‘You’re right’. ‘I only want what’s good for you, these matters require wisdom’. ‘True’. ‘You’re still young, you don’t know how to handle things, if I were in your place I would have left’. ‘Left to where?’ ‘Anywhere outside this hell’.66 The uncle here clearly stands in for those Palestinians, primarily of the older generation, who prefer their personal safety and comfort to the cause of national liberation. Kanafani is fairly unambiguous in levelling his accusation of cowardice and inertia against them. It is in many ways a repetition of one of the main themes of Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams. In Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams, however, the mitigating circumstances compelling the men to escape to Kuwait are elaborated upon, lending subtlety and ambiguity to their situation. By contrast, the Uncle in ‘Hamı¯d yaqif . . .’ is portrayed as ˙ simply being cowardly and patronizing toward the young men who, by contrast, have just participated in a tangible act of resistance to Israeli occupation.

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Addressing the deafened Hamid and getting no response, the uncle asks whether or not Hamid can hear him. The narrator, angered by the Uncle’s condescension and cowardice, replies: No, and that’s his good fortune. He’s unexpectedly come down with an illness in his ears that’s spared him having to listen. You know? He doesn’t hear what you or anyone else is saying right now. He hears only himself, so it’ll be impossible to waste any more of his time. Tomorrow you’ll hear on the radio about an attack launched by some unknown troublemakers against a military camp, but that it failed and didn’t cause any damage. You and me and As’ad and Lamia will hear that, but him, Hamid, he won’t hear it. That’s his good fortune. He heard only one final sound, and that’s the only sound that’ll remain in his memory.67 Here, ‘listening’ or ‘hearing’ is starkly contrasting with acting. Hamid is spared having to listen to the time-wasting pontifications of the Uncle. Recalling the story’s full title, ‘Hamı¯d yaqif ʿan samaʿ qisas al-aʿma¯m’ ˙ ˙ ˙ (‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ Stories’) it is important to note that the possessive plural, ‘uncles’’ refers not just to the uncle in the story, but uncles in general, symbols of the older, patriarchal generation. Hamid, therefore, does not so much stop listening to them as much as he is rendered deaf to their idle chatter by his act of detonating the Israeli tank. Deafened by his act of resistance, Hamid now ‘hears only himself’, gaining clarity from the din of chatter. Moreover, only hearing himself signals the rejection of the patronizing counsel of the elder generation in favour of self-reliance and agency. To prove Hamid’s deafness to the uncle, the narrator tells the uncle the story of Hamid’s difficult childhood, during which it is implied in no uncertain terms that Hamid’s sister became a prostitute. All the while, Hamid, blissfully ignorant of the conversation around him, stares blankly at the floor. As the narrator recounts, living in a mosque in which 20 other stricken families had taken up residence: Hamid was only six years old. He lay on his tattered bedding a long time, listening all the while to endless stories. Stories of the elderly, and the mothers, and the children. Stories of degradation

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and woe, despair and loss. Stories of surrender. The uncles’ stories in particular, stories about ‘prudence’ and ‘circumstances’. He spent four years listening. He’s listened a lot, a whole lot. But there was one truth in all he listened to: his sister had run away from home. She’d been lost. I tell you, he listened a lot, a whole lot. In that place full of degradation and failure and defeat, he was nothing more than a pair of ears, listening and listening to tons of words and stories and wailing, all of which were unable to kill a single fly. Unable to bury a single truth: that his sister had fallen. But now Hamid has decided to stop listening.68 The narrator does not hide his contempt for tales of surrender, circulated ad nauseum, or of the ‘uncles’ stories in particular, stories about ‘prudence’ and ‘circumstance’, that seek to excuse the older generations’ inaction and absolve them of the sins of the past. Kanafani takes aim directly at the tales ‘degradation’, ‘despair’, ‘loss’, and ‘surrender’, that marked the period initially following the Nakba and glimpsed in Chapter 1, attributing them primarily to the ‘uncles’, representatives of the patriarchal older generation. Thus Kanafani once again also takes the opportunity to launch an indictment of the older generation who would not only wallow paralyzed in their despair, but moreover, through their urging of ‘prudence’ and ‘circumstance’ attempt to compel the younger generation to inaction as well, a continuation of the condemnation of Hamid’s uncle levelled above. Since the Nakba, nostalgic tales of homeland combined with tragic stories of its loss to keep the memory of Palestine and its people alive. Here, however, Kanafani highlights the limits of the function such storytelling can serve in lieu of concerted action. There is some degree of self-contradiction here when juxtaposing this message with, for instance, Kanafani’s ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’, with its beseeching plea ˙ ˙ for Palestinians to find and raise their voices. Now, it seems, simply speaking is not simply not good enough, but, moreover, is arguably counter-productive. This may function, at least to some degree, as a self-repudiation of Kanafani’s pre-1967 writings, corresponding with Kanafani’s abandonment of modernist techniques. The ‘words and stories and wailing, all of which were unable to kill a single fly’ are therefore ultimately found wanting. Thus, the passage’s final sentence

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– ‘now Hamid has stopped listening’ – contains a tacit alternative. Indeed, ‘Hamid has stopped listening’, and has begun acting. All the ‘words and stories and wailing’ cannot conceal Hamid’s sister’s fall from grace. Almost imperceptibly, Kanafani metonymically shifts the fall of Palestine to Hamid’s sister’s downfall. It is, for Kanafani, a curious and telling slip into that familiar equation of female characters with the nation already seen in Samira Azzam in the previous chapter. Also demonstrated in Chapter 1, however, is Kanafani’s previous resistance to deploying such tropes. Recall, for instance, that it is the death of a man in ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ that symbolizes Palestine’s ˙ ˙ fall. All of this is part and parcel of Kanafani’s shift to a far more conventional literary aesthetic in the post-1967 period, not just aesthetically and thematically, as thus far discussed, but also in the symbols and tropes he chooses to deploy. But such a shift should not be equated with a subordination of art to politics. To view it as such is to set up a false dichotomy. Rather, it is better understood as an artistic response to a shift in the political context from which literature emerges. As ‘‘Hamı¯d Yaquf . . .’ ends, those gathered in the narrator’s home – ˙ the militants, the uncle, and the narrator’s wife – all hear the heavy footfalls of Israeli soldiers deploying all around: Their sound came as a surprise, as though coming from an upstairs room. I looked at my uncle – he was trembling. Then we all looked at Hamid, who in turn passed his gaze from one to the other of us, smiling, inside his own silent world in which he could hear nothing other than the crumbling of a steel mountain. Anxiously, my uncle asked, ‘Don’t you hear?’ As’ad calmly replied: ‘Ask Hamid’.69 Ultimately, therefore, ‘Hamı¯d yaqif . . .’ is a critique of the cowardice of ˙ the older generation, embodied here by the uncle. Hamid’s deafness leaves him unaware of the possibility of impending danger, yes, but Kanafani positively juxtaposes Hamid’s calmness wrought of ignorance with the uncle’s fearful trembling. This in turn serves as inspiration for others around him, for while the uncle anxiously asks if the others in the room can hear the deploying Israeli soldiers, the narrator’s response – ‘Ask Hamid’, – indicates a rejection of the uncle’s cowardly escapism and an adoption of Hamid’s willingness to directly confront his foe.

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In Hamid’s back-story and subsequent serenity after being deafened by the tank’s detonation, however, we also see advocacy for the cathartic effects of violence. Having tried to put his losses behind him, it is finally only through the deafening ring of the tank’s explosion in his ears that Hamid is able to find peace. In this one can clearly hear the echoes of Fanon, for whom violence was a central albeit complex facet of Third World anti-colonial revolutionary struggles. For Fanon, violence functions on two all-important planes – the individual and the collective. ‘At the level of individuals’, writes Fanon, ‘violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his selfrespect.’70 This dynamic is clearly evinced in Hamid, whose act of violence cleanses the twinned shames of losing his sister and his homeland, and his ensuing deafness frees him from having to listen to the pontifications of the older, disgraced generation. The individual, in turn, is connected to the larger collective through his/her act of violence: ‘the practice of violence binds [colonized peoples] together as a whole, since each individual forms a violent link in the great chain, a part of the great organism of violence which has surged upward in reaction to the settler’s violence in the beginning’.71 Shifting from the individual to the collective, then, violence plays a vital function in forging together each individual perpetrator of violence into a cohesive and collective whole. The applicability of the binding powers of armed resistance to the Palestinians is clear as they entered a period of revolutionary revival and collectivism based on their resistance struggles. This should be borne in mind in the ensuing discussion as it will become central to the discussion of ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq. In addition to critiquing the older generation, ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-albana¯diq also valorizes the younger generation that, by the time of its publication, had taken up armed resistance in earnest. The first story in the collection is entitled ‘Al-Saghı¯r yastaʿı¯r martı¯nat kha¯lihi wa-yashriq ˙ ila¯ Safad’ (‘The Youngster Borrows his Uncle’s Rifle and Goes East to ˙ Safad’) and tells the story of a 17-year old boy, Mansur, who convinces his uncle into allowing him to borrow a rifle in order to participate in the storming of the citadel in Safad in which British troops have taken up positions. The story’s prosaic title is more significant than it would appear at first glance. First, and significantly for the series of Mansur stories that follow, a dichotomy is immediately established between the

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infantilized youngster (saghı¯r), Mansur, and his uncle, from whom he ˙ borrows the rifle. As Barbara Harlow observes: Mansur must find someone from whom he can borrow a gun in order to join the battle being waged by the villagers at Safad. Guns, however, are the possessions of adults, his father, his uncle, the older men of the villages, and Mansur is subject to their authority. Whereas his father is not interested in his ideals of resistance and patriotism, Mansur’s uncle, Abu al-Hassan, tells him simply that he is too young, that he is just a child.72 Thus, a generational conflict is established from the outset, echoing the theme of ‘Hamı¯d yaqif . . .’ already seen. Harlow’s observation also ˙ tacitly highlights the twin themes of masculinity and agency already mentioned above. As Harlow states, ‘guns . . . are the possessions of adults’, and yet those same adults display a decided reticence to use them in defence of the homeland (embodied in Mansur’s father’s disinterest in Mansur’s ‘ideals of resistance and patriotism’). Mansur, by contrast, though ‘just a child’, or, in other words, not yet a man, with the implications of masculinity carried by male adulthood, is nonetheless the active agent, eager to resist Anglo-Zionist colonization of his homeland. Here, as in ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’, it is ˙ difficult to avoid the phallic symbolism of the gun. At one, very basic, allegorical level, Mansur’s quest to acquire a gun is a quest to achieve masculinity. But at the same time, Kanafani questions and subverts the very notion of masculinity itself by placing guns (that is, the phallic symbols of masculinity) in the hands of the older men, the undisputed holders of masculine-patriarchal power, and yet rendering them unwilling and/or unable to exercise the responsibilities implied by their masculine roles. Mansur’s efforts to acquire a weapon are hampered by the dismissal and belittlement he encounters from his father and uncle, but, as the story’s full title indicates, Hamid is ultimately able to borrow a rifle from his uncle. In doing so, as shall be discussed below, Mansur stirs his complacent father into action, ultimately leading him to later rent the same gun, putting up olives as collateral for his brother-in-law should the gun become lost or damaged. Thus, Barbara Harlow ultimately concludes that:

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the gun participates in a complicated system of exchange and circulation. That system as it is deployed in the course of events in the stories exhibits not only the hierarchical structures of authority within traditional Palestinian society, between father and son, merchant and peasant, town and village, but their potential transformation as well. With the circulation of guns, for there is more than just one weapon involved, there emerges a collective solidarity, based on bonds of affiliation rather than on the ties of filiation and authority.73 This shift in Palestinian identity from one traditionally based on ‘ties of filiation and authority’ to a ‘collective solidarity based on bonds of affiliation’ would be crucial to the emerging Palestinian identity defined by resistance, and echoes Fanon’s writings on violence. The circulation of guns in the Mansur stories lays bare the traditional power structures – economic, filial and gendered – that would ultimately fail to prevent the fall of Palestine. Inasmuch as these traditional pillars of authority provided a modicum of cohesion along family, clan, and village lines, so too did those lines divide and fragment the Palestinian body politic.74 Mansur, therefore, represents the attempt to transcend these divisions in order to achieve the ‘collective solidarity’ to which Harlow refers while undermining traditional patriarchal authority. The series of Mansur stories take place during the Mandate period prior to 1948. Here again we see a departure from the themes and tropes that had hitherto dominated Palestinian literature. Previously, depictions of the Mandate period focused primarily on idealized, romanticized depictions of Palestinian life prior to 1948, often portraying idyllic peasant and rural life as a symbol of rootedness to the land, and as a foil to the Palestinians’ present condition of landlessness.75 This theme is taken up once again, but fundamentally altered, as it is made clear that Mansur’s family, and Mansur himself, are peasants, deeply connected to the land they till. But despite, or rather, precisely because of his connection to his fields, Mansur decides to borrow his uncle’s rifle and leave his village to participate in the siege of the Safad citadel. Kanafani is therefore engaging in a certain degree of historical revisionism. While previous Palestinian narratives had been ones primarily of victimization and helplessness, Kanafani seeks to reframe individual Palestinians’ role, particularly the ‘hapless’ peasantry,

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to portray them as active agents. Kanafani thus re-inscribes onto the period immediately preceding the Nakba the socio-political mood of resistance and revolution that immediately preceded and followed the Naksa. The next story, ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahaddath l-Eva ‘an Mansur ˙ alladhı¯ wasala ila¯ Safad’ (Doctor Qasim Talks to Eva About Mansur, ˙ ˙ Who has Reached Safad), continues Mansur’s tale. As Mansur reaches Safad, he encounters a group of militants who are dismissive of him and his dilapidated, obsolete rifle: ‘this peasant wants to save Safad. He carries a stick.’76 After Mansur demonstrates his courage during a verbal altercation between him and the militants, they bring Mansur along with them to their garrison in Safad where, he is informed, a machine-gun emplacement located in the Jewish quarter of the town has been continually harassing them. Mansur has the opportunity to see this first-hand during the story’s climax, as one of the militants with Mansur becomes pinned behind a water tank while attempting to carry food supplies across an open square: ‘Mr. Ma’rouf reached the tank and stuck to the ground like a nail that had suddenly been hammered down. At the same time, the bullets reached him and clanged loudly as they hit the tanks, leaving behind three holes in it from which water began to flow.’77 Mansur realizes that the machine gunner is biding his time, waiting for the water to finish draining from the tank so that it can no longer provide cover for Mr Ma’rouf cowering behind it. With water gradually seeping out, Mansur takes action: He ensured a round was chambered and aimed the rifle’s barrel slowly and carefully at the corner of the wall and aimed with calm and precision. His uncle had told him ‘don’t worry about the gun sight, worry only about calming your nerves’. The empty square in the wall of sandbags framed the rifle’s barrel when the machinegun ferociously opened fire once again. The holes in the water tank multiplied devilishly as water spurted out of them with intensity, but that didn’t shake his nerves. In the next moment, he pulled the trigger, causing an unbelievable crack of thunder. Then, silence. Mansur hits his target, the machine gun falls silent, and, moments before the tank empties completely, Mr Ma’rouf is able to make his way

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across the open square. Compare this scene with Azzam’s ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ ˙ Birak Sulayma¯n’. In each story, the Palestinians’ weapon is belittled in the face of the enemy’s superior firepower. However, whereas in Azzam’s tale the father is left with no choice but to flee, in Kanafani the young boy is able, through sheer steadiness of nerve, to overcome the superior enemy. Whatever superiority in the enemy’s weaponry, Kanafani is saying, can be overcome by the Palestinians’ sheer force of will and determination. In ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan yaqu¯s ‘Ala sayya¯ra Inkiliziyya’ (Abu al-Hasan ˙ Ambushes an English Car), the story of Mansur’s return from the battle in Safad is told. He is confronted by his father: ‘Where were you, you dog?’ Without turning, he told him the truth: ‘In Safad’. ‘In Safad? What were you doing in Safad?’ ‘I took my uncle’s rifle and joined the youth, they were fighting’. ‘And who asked you to do that?’ ‘Nobody. I decided for myself’. His father shouted ‘Turn around and speak to me face to face, you ungrateful boy!’ He calmly turned around and stared his father directly in his angry eyes. Abu Qasim took one step towards Mansur, and it was clear that he was about to use his hand, and in the following moment, Mansur felt the expected slap, but did not move. When his mother stood between him and his father, Mansur calmly moved her aside. Once again his father shouted: ‘Say something!’ Mansur swallowed his saliva, tasting its sweetness and warmth, but did not lift his hands to see if his lip was bleeding. He continued looking directly in his father’s eyes: ‘If you’re here, and Qassim is in Haifa, then a third one of us must go to Safad’. ‘Are you trying to accuse me of a lack of patriotism, you son of shame?’ Mansur swallowed once again and looked at his mother standing ready to hurl herself between them once again if Abu Qassim struck again. ‘I don’t impugn your patriotism, I was simply in Safad’.

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Abu Qassim hesitated for a moment. This was a new type of battle, not the type he’d gotten used to in the past. He stared at his son angrily, whereupon he hit upon another point without giving any opportunity for retreat: ‘Did you return the rifle to your uncle?’ ‘Safe and sound’. ‘And why didn’t you inform me?’ ‘I was in a hurry’. They lingered another moment, like two roosters, but the anger was of the type that dissipates, and all that now remained was its semblance.78 This confrontation is a key turning point, not just in ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan ˙ yaqu¯s ‘ala sayya¯ra Inkiliziyya’, but in subsequent stories that continue the story of Mansur and his family. Key is Mansur’s father’s realization that ‘this was a new type of battle, not the type he’d gotten used to in the past’. Mansur’s open rebellion against his father and his adamant insistence on defending and continuing his intransigence is unprecedented for Abu Qassim. This further marks the breakdown of traditional patriarchal structures of power, and the younger generation’s refusal to unquestioningly accept the older generation’s authority. The bucking of traditional, paternalistic modes of authority is further encapsulated in Mansur’s father’s sobriquet, Abu Qassim. Fathers in the Arab world are traditionally called by the name of their first-born son, in this case Mansur’s elder brother Qassim, hence ‘Abu Qassim’ (Qassim’s father). This, however, then raises the question of Mansur’s relationship to his father. With his father referred to throughout the story as Abu Qassim, Mansur is metaphorically fatherless, ultimately, as we shall see below, finding camaraderie not through the traditional family, village and clan networks, but rather in the ranks of armed Palestinian irregulars mobilizing to defend their homeland. Mansur’s older brother Qassim, meanwhile, is depicted in the opening of ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahadath l-Eva ʿan Mansu¯r alathı¯ wasala ila¯ Safad’, sitting in the Haifa ˙ ˙ ˙ family home of Eva. Eva, we are led to understand, is Jewish, and the family home has a machine-gun emplacement upon its roof. Sitting on the roof, Qassim reflects on his native village of Majd al-Kuru¯m where his father still lives and for which Mansur is fighting: ‘it seemed in his mind an incomprehensible distance away, resembling oblivion’.79

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Thus, the two brothers act as foils to one another, while the young Mansur strikes out on his own to fight for his native land, Qassim, for whom Mansur’s father is named, fraternizes with the opposing camp, his native village seemingly an eternity away. Ultimately, in ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan yaqu¯s ‘ala saya¯ra Inkiliziyya’, whether it ˙ was his intention or not, Mansur succeeds in shaming his father for his lack of patriotism manifested through armed action. Following the showdown with his son, Abu Qasim participates in the ambush of an English military vehicle along with the brother-in-law from whom his son had previously borrowed the rifle, and other relatively elderly men of his generation. As such, Kanafani depicts this older generation, for all its flaws, as not without some hope of redemption. It is made clear, however, that the catalyst for redemption must come from the younger generation. As Mansur’s father, Abu Qasim, sets off with the other men, their determination is interwoven with their intimate knowledge of their land and its history: He carried his rifle and walked out the door without closing it behind him. They were waiting for him behind the house. As he arrived, they walked with him without saying a word. Without hesitation, they made their way east through the olive groves, each footstep betraying an intimate knowledge of the landscape. They knew just about every stone and every tree. Not just that, but moreover, they knew the history of every tree – to whom it belongs now, and to whom it belonged in the past, how much fruit it bears and how much fruit it doesn’t bear, and how much it would produce this season, and how much it produced in seasons past. They went up behind Sajoor far enough to avoid encountering any person until they came out behind Al-Rama. There, they swung out into a line resembling an arc and went down behind the stones overlooking the crossroads.80 Having been quite critical of the elder generation throughout the Mansur stories, and indeed the collection as a whole, here Kanafani offers them some redemption. For while their age may make them unduly prudent and deferential to the status quo, so too does it imbue them with an intimacy with the land and landscape that can only come with time.

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This redemption of the elderly generation continues as the men wait to ambush an oncoming car, recalling the uprising in 1936 with bittersweet overtones: Oh, those bygone days when Abu al-Abd would disappear for a week at a time in the mountains, eating wood and thyme, and not returning except with at least five English soldier’s hats. Oh those bygone days when one could walk from dawn to dusk without hearing him panting for breath. That was twelve years ago, a long time during which a poor man becomes exhausted and his bones dissolve. Poor Abu al-Abd, do you think you can enter into battles now as you did in the past? Do you think those you’ll face are the same Englishmen that you fought twelve years ago? Do you think that they’ve grown old as you’ve grown old? Poor Abu al-Abd, if only you knew that they constantly bring in a new generation and send the old back to their homes. We’re the only ones who’ve grown old [. . .] as for them . . .81 The elder generation, now so complacent and dormant was not always so. There was a time when they too were young, vigorous, and independent, embodied in Abu al-Abd’s disappearances into the wilderness and living off the land, reappearing with tangible evidence of his daring acts of resistance to British colonialism. However, as the passage goes on to make clear, times have changed, the men of Abu al-Abd’s generation have grown frail while the British empire has sent young blood to replace the old. Only Abu al-Abd and his comrades, it seems, have aged. Despite the redemption of the old men in their zeal to ambush an English car, that redemption is ultimately limited and partial due to the elderly men’s own physical limitations. Well-intentioned though they may be, Kanafani is asserting in no uncertain terms that their time has passed and that Palestinians in 1948 needed a younger generation willing and able to confront the English who never seem to grow old and weak. It is at once a cautionary tale and a celebration of the younger generation of armed revolutionaries that were emerging in the mid-1960s. Eventually an English car with two soldiers in it comes up the road where the old men are waiting in ambush. Using the same rifle Mansur borrowed from him to go to Safad, Abu al-Hasan snipes the driver and

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the men descend upon the car, letting the other English soldier go without harming him. The men’s aim was to capture weapons from the car, which they succeed in doing, though Abu al-Abd subsequently expresses regret for not beating the soldier: ‘My whole life I’ve longed to slap an English soldier, and despite that, I forgot to do it.’82 The two passages cited above also provide a glimpse into Kanafani’s post-1967 aesthetic shift. The former, with its invocation of trees, stones, olive groves, and landscape verges on pastoral naturalism to emphasize the elderly men’s intimate connection to the landscape. Here, knowledge of the land that can only be gleaned from decades and generations of its inhabitation functions as a claim to that land. In particular, the reference to the trees’ production, not just this season, but in seasons past as well, serves to establish a lineage dating back indefinitely. This is carried into the latter passage, with its invocation of the ‘bygone days’ during which Abu al-Abd would venture alone into the mountains, extracting sustenance from the land in a manner that only intimate familiarity can provide. But here the time period is more clearly defined: it is the time of the Great Arab Revolt 1936–9, when Palestinians revolted in solidarity against British imperial machinations and continued Zionist settlement of Palestine. Time is linear and stable, geography and landscape unchanging, a dramatic departure from the modernist hallmarks so prevalent in Kanafani’s pre-1967 literary production. For the main indicator of Kanafani’s aesthetic shift is not what is present but, more difficult to convey, what is absent. Gone are the temporal and spacial dislocations of, for instance, ‘Kafr al-manjam’. Absent too is the abstracted surrealism of ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’. ˙ ˙ These devices and techniques, mobilized by Kanafani in the pre-1967 period to convey the fragmentation, dismemberment, and dislocation of the Palestinians following the Nakba are replaced by conventional, linear, orthodox narratives of Palestinian resistance. If Kanafani’s pioneering modernism in the wake of the Nakba was meant to convey the malaise of that period, then perhaps by abandoning those devices Kanafani sought to transcend the fragmentation and dislocation wrought of the Nakba. Those works, and the techniques used in them, were fundamentally intended to convey the quintessentially modernist dilemma of alienation.83 By contrast, whereas Kanafani’s pre-’67 works tended toward atomization and disintegration, the emphasis in

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ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq’ is upon coalescence, prompting Kanafani to adopt a new literary idiom to convey this sentiment. But while Kanafani’s new literary aesthetic may share some affinities with, for example, Samira Azzam’s realist mode insofar as both largely eschew modernist narrative techniques, it differs markedly in tone. Whereas Azzam and Kanafani’s pre-’67 works, despite their vastly differing aesthetics, were both fundamentally meditations on the quiet desperation of Palestinians after the Nakba, Kanafani’s post-’67 works strike a far more active and overtly recalcitrant tone. Where before 1967 a subterranean thread of anger wove its way through the works of both authors, occluded on the one hand by Azzam’s unadorned plaintiveness, and on the other by Kanafani’s abstract narratives, that anger would subsequently palpably break the surface in the stories of ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq, serving as a rallying cry for challenging the failed old order and uniting against the common Zionist foe. Returning to ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan yaqu¯s ‘Ala sayya¯ra Inkiliziyya’, in the ˙ elderly men’s ambush of the British vehicle, we see Fanon’s assertion of the unifying dimensions of violence. The old men, their best days behind them, are prompted into collective action in the wake of young Mansur’s decision to borrow his uncle’s rifle and go to Safad. This theme is continued in the final story in the collection following Mansur and his family: ‘Al-Saghı¯r wa abu¯h wa-al-martı¯na yadhhabu¯n ila¯ qalʿat jidı¯n’ ˙ (‘The Youngster and his Father and the Rifle go to Jideen Citadel’).84 Mirroring his son’s actions, Abu Qasim rents a gun from Abu al-Hasan, from whom Mansur also borrowed the rifle, insisting to pay one guinea per day, and putting up the gun’s value in olives as collateral should the gun be lost or damaged. This latter part of the financial agreement is significant, equating the iconic and deeply symbolic Palestinian olive with the rifle used to defend it, and by extension, the homeland. Upon hearing word that his father had rented the gun and gone to fight at Jideen Citadel, Mansur resolves to follow and fight alongside him, but is unable to find a gun to borrow once again. Mansur goes to Jideen regardless, hoping to come upon an opportunity to borrow a weapon along the way. The main reason for the assault on Jideen Citadel, currently being used as a British military garrison, is to acquire the weapons inside it. Mansur asks his father about his personal motivations for participating in the assault on Jideen, to which his father replies:

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‘The revolution has begun, that’s all’. ‘No, you want to get a rifle from Jideen, to give to me on my wedding as you once promised’.85 Mansur’s father does not respond. Mansur is unable to procure a weapon and is forced to watch helplessly as the attack begins. The assault on Jideen is chaotic and futile. The attackers are barely able to advance upon the barbed wire that rings the citadel before they come under heavy gun and mortar fire from within the fortress, forcing them to halt their advance and, eventually, retreat. It is a scene we have already witnessed in the writings of Samira Azzam: armed Palestinian irregulars waging an ultimately futile battle against a much more powerful foe.86 However, like the other battle scenes in ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq, this episode differs from the usual mode of depicting such futile confrontations in that the Palestinians are on the offensive, rather than merely defending their villages. Perhaps it is for this reason that, despite the ultimately doomed attack, the scene contains none of the melancholia and bitterness of, for instance, Samira Azzam’s ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ Birak Sulayma¯n’. Instead, it is filled with bravado and ˙ heroism, despite its ultimate failure. As the men retreat, Mansur waits for his father to fall back, but he does not come, spurring Mansur to run headlong into oncoming fire to find him. With the help of another man, Mansur manages to find his father wounded on the battlefield and carries him back to safety. The father ultimately succumbs to his wounds, however, and dies leaning against a tree tightly gripping the rifle he had rented: Mansur stood impotently by watching his father dying bit by bit without a single movement except those deep pulsations that caused him to quiver and made it seem as though his veins were like taut wires flowing out from his hands and merge with the body of the rifle as well. Finally, all three shook together as one: the tree, the man, and the rifle. From behind the haze of angry rain and his tears, Mansur imagined that, together, they were nothing more than a dead corpse. These final lines of the story present the reader with an arresting image. The trinity of the elderly man, the tree, and the rifle, motifs that have

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dominated the first section of the collection of short stories, are now intrinsically bound together in death.

Resistance and its Discontents: Yahya Yakhlif’s Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj Whereas in ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq Ghassan Kanafani demonstrates a palpable zeal for armed confrontation, by 1977 when Yahya Yakhlif published his short story collection, Nu¯rma¯ wa-rajul al-thalj (Norma and the Snowman), the attitude toward armed resistance had undergone a fundamental shift.87 The limitations of waging a guerrilla-style insurgency had gradually become apparent to the Palestinians. Armed revolutionaries enjoyed neither the densely wooded cover of Cuba and Vietnam, nor the vast desert expanses of Algeria that greatly facilitated a protracted asymmetrical war against a technologically and/or numerically superior adversary. Instead, the Palestinians confronted hostile regimes wherever they sought to base their movement, be it in the West Bank, Jordan or Lebanon. Two other important developments had also taken place by 1977 that arguably undermined the zeal for armed resistance. The first occurred in 1974 when the Fatah-led PLO first posited the notion of the two-state solution. Though dismissed by Israel out of hand, the simple act of mooting the possibility of relinquishing what amounted to 78 per cent of historic Palestine was revolutionary in and of itself. Hitherto, Palestinian nationalist leaders had always maintained, at least rhetorically, that their ultimate goal was the liberation of the whole of historic Palestine, even if many conceded in private that this was not a realistic objective. From, about 1974 onwards, however, discussion of a two-state solution within Palestinian political circles gradually entered the mainstream. The other key event of this period was the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. After their expulsion from Jordan in Black September of 1970, the Palestinian political leadership had moved its base of operations to Lebanon, where large numbers of Palestinian refugees resided in densely populated refugee camps around Beirut and in the south near the Israeli-Lebanese border.88 Sectarian tensions had for some time been simmering beneath the surface of Lebanon’s fragile confessional system of government, and the influx of large numbers of

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mostly Sunni Muslim Palestinians, at least on the face of it, served to destabilize the already tenuous and volatile situation.89 Charting the varied and complex circumstances leading up to the Lebanese Civil War is beyond the scope of the present work; suffice it to say, however, that in actuality these circumstances were far more multifarious than simply a matter of an influx of Palestinians upsetting Lebanon’s delicate political balance.90 In the end, the Palestinians soon found themselves drawn into the seemingly interminable cycle of violence and shifting alliances that made the Lebanese Civil War so recalcitrantly resilient. By 1977, then, armed resistance, violence and war had lost their sheen. The theoretical and ideological exhortations to taking up arms that had become ascendant from about the mid-1960s seemed far removed from the frequently senseless violence and gratuitous death and destruction visited upon Lebanon and its inhabitants throughout the course of its internecine conflict. It should come as no surprise, then, that Yahya Yakhlif’s attitude to violence in Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj is markedly more ambivalent than that articulated by Ghassan Kanafani in his late works. Yakhlif articulates this ambivalence not through a dialectical championing/questioning of violence in his works, but rather, through a seemingly blase´ insouciance to it. Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj depicts violence as so ubiquitous and quotidian that it hardly merits being directly addressed. This is all the more remarkable given that the majority of the stories in the collection centre upon militants. As opposed to the stories in Kanafani’s ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq, however, the focus of Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj is not upon the heroic acts of armed resistance they carry out, but rather, the lengthy periods in between operations spent playing cards and chatting idly. Yakhlif’s militants crave a great many things – cigarettes, tea, warmth, women – but they show no great appetite for conflict. For them violence is simply taken for granted as a daily fact of life in Lebanon of the 1970s. In the story that lends its title to the collection, the narrator states ‘they would chat and alternate guard duty and occasionally disagree. They’d dream of a holiday in Beirut, or swimming on the beach at Tyre, or playing cards in the coffee shops of Sabra.’91 In addition to this ambivalent indifference to armed acts of heroism, there are subtle undertones of wry humour throughout the works of Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj that are difficult to convey in translated passages. Once again, this contrasts with the gravitas that permeates the works of

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Azzam and Kanafani. Yakhlif responds to the tragic absurdity of the fratricidal nature of the Lebanese Civil War with a subtle, wry humour and playfulness. That Yakhlif could dare to address so sacrosanct a topic as Palestinian resistance with such seeming flippancy speaks volumes about the social transformations and iconoclasms that had taken place in the ten years since 1967. Political or politicized humour is inherently subversive, refusing to pay homage to revered symbols and institutions – in Yakhlif’s case, that of the resistance fighter. The story that lends its name to the collection, ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul althalj’ revolves around a group of fida¯’yı¯n in the Lebanese Civil War. It is told primarily through the eyes of the volunteer newly arrived at the front. The eponymous ‘Snowman’ is Saeed Abu Jaber, an almost mythical figure in the story who is perched high up in a snowy mountaintop manning a heavy-machine-gun emplacement. He descends only periodically, to visit his fellow fighters at their encampment as well as his lover, Norma, the fruit juice stall vendor in a nearby camp. The unnamed volunteer’s nationality is established as being Palestinian at the very outset of the story. As the driver makes his way toward the encampment in which the volunteer will be based, he points out Jabal al-shaykh (Mount Hermon): The volunteer nodded his head and was about to say that he’d seen it years ago from the other side, but he didn’t say anything. The car passed through some village, he couldn’t read the sign, while the young men in the back seats of the car smoked and smoked and didn’t cease smoking. He said to himself ‘it looks like our village, Burin [. . .] the houses, the people, the cacti, the calves hanging from hooks in the butcher shop, and even the bend in the road, its downward slope, and the many potholes’.92 Mount Hermon is located on the border between Syria and Lebanon. The volunteer’s assertion that he had seen it from the other side implies that he had been in Syria at some point. Burin, meanwhile, is a village near Nablus in the West Bank. From this brief excerpt, then, we can chart the volunteer’s path from his native village of Burin in Palestine, to Syria, and finally to the highlands of southern Lebanon within sight of Mount Hermon.

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The volunteer’s transience is emphasized once again soon thereafter when the driver asks him if he is a university student, to which the volunteer replies: ‘yes, I was in the college of engineering, but I didn’t like it. Then I transferred to medicine, but I didn’t complete pre-med. After that I transferred to literature, and now I’ve given up this habit and decided to volunteer’. This leads the driver to joke, ‘In that case, beware of transferring from one faction to another as you did one college to the next.’93 The cumulative effect of this exchange is one of instability. Changing one’s allegiances in civil war Lebanon is a matter as simple as changing one’s college major. Amidst this ideological and spatial transience, nothing can be certain. Against this backdrop of transience and uncertainty, the close bonds formed between the fighters are contrasted. While, overall, ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ expresses something between ambivalence and indifference towards violence qua violence, it clearly celebrates the camaraderie among men wrought of violence. Thus, shortly after arriving, the volunteer and his comrades: Drank their dark black tea and ate sardines and custard and canned beef for breakfast. In the afternoon he joined them in preparing dinner as though he had been with them for years [. . .] and by the second day he knew that this was Ali al-Dhiab, the Bedouin who liked rocks and boulders which he climbed as a goat climbs; and that this was Abu Siraj who fired the Grinov despite the fact that his elbow joint was made of platinum; and that the third man was Yousef who washed every day in cold water and left his long hair to cover his neck; and that the fourth was Abu Arwa who hadn’t seen his wife and children in Yarmouk Camp for more than a year because he didn’t have travel documents and the borders were still closed.94 As in late-Kanafani, we are presented with an image of unity and camaraderie among the combatants. Unlike Kanafani, however, violence and acts of armed resistance are far in the background. Additionally, in contrast to, for instance, Mansur’s representation of the younger, more revolutionary generation of Palestinians in the Mansur cycle of ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq, or the three titular men in the sun, the men in Yakhlif’s ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ are

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individuated. Unlike the aforementioned works of Kanafani, where characters tend to have more broadly representational roles – of class, generation, political or national affiliation – Yakhlif’s men are unique individuals: Abu Siraj with his replaced elbow joint, long-haired Yousef. Meanwhile Abu Arwa’s inability to cross borders due to his lack of travel papers resulting in his separation from his family may have been, then as now, a common plight among Palestinians, but we are given so brief and passing a glance at Abu Arwa himself, that any representational potential in his character is precluded. In the final analysis, these men are individuals, united in solidarity perhaps, but ultimately jaded and wearied by the conflict that has simply become a part of quotidian life. In the course of their conversation, Yousef asks the volunteer if he had ever studied abroad. The volunteer replies yes, he had studied for some time in Italy. In response to which the man asks: ‘And can fida¯ʾyı¯n visit Italy?’ ‘If the police in the airport finds out that you’re a fida’i, then they’ll detain you and search your clothes and return you on the first flight. But if you reach Rome you’ll find friends amongst the leftists waiting for you and willing to protect you’.95 Here Yakhlif reasserts the presence of a transnational leftist militarism upon which much of the rise of Palestinian militarism after 1967 was predicated. Almost immediately, however, Yakhlif undermines this very notion when Abu Arwa (the husband and father unable to see his family in the Yarmouk camp in Syria) interrupts, saying: ‘He wants to visit Rome and we can’t even visit Yarmouk camp [. . .] which one of you young men has an ID (yahmil huwiyya)?’ ˙ Abu Siraj said, jokingly, ‘My rifle is my ID’. Ali Dhiab asked, ‘Why do others carry passports and pass through Arab borders with ease and nobody stops them, whereas we’re prohibited from passing and arrested and imprisoned in the cellars?’ ‘You’re a fanatic’, Abu Siraj responded, while at the same time the sound of the Doshka came from there; from the snow-covered summit.

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Yousef jumped with joy, ‘It’s Saeed, he’s opened up on them with the Doshka and surprised them’. The volunteer was silent. This exchange is important in a number of ways. First, Abu Siraj’s joking assertion that his rifle is his identity is fundamental. The slogan ‘my rifle is my identity’ (huwiyyatı¯ bunduqiyyatı¯) was ubiquitous throughout this revolutionary period in Palestinian history, and is still frequently found gracing posters, leaflets, and other publications produced by various Palestinian resistance organizations.96 In equating the weapon of resistance with Palestinian identity, the slogan embodies the new ethos of resistance that came to define Palestinian identity, particularly during the 1960s. ‘Huwiyyatı¯ bunduqiyyatı¯’ is the sort of statement that could conceivably be made in earnest by one of Ghassan Kanafani’s characters in his late works. Here, however, Yakhlif subverts the intended meaning of the popular phrase through humour and sarcasm. The same slogan is once again used ironically in Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness, where, after meditating on the mistreatment and injustices endured by Palestinians at the hands of fellow Arabs in whose lands Palestinians have been exiled, the narrator dismissively responds to himself saying ‘fine, fine. He knows his duty: my identity – my gun’.97 It is useful to contrast the flippancy of Abu Siraj’s facetious assertion of his relationship to his weapon, or the weariness with revolutionary slogans such as ‘my gun is my identity’ expressed by Darwish on the one hand, with the reverence with which weapons and the principle of armed resistance are treated in Kanafani’s ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq. Second, the transnationalism of the passage preceding it is undermined by the observation that Palestinians are prohibited from entering even ostensibly ‘brotherly Arab countries’ (as the saying in the Arab world goes). Crucially, it is the police at the point of departure, presumably an Arab country, which the fida¯’yı¯n must fear, lest they be found out and imprisoned. As Yousef observes, once they reach Rome airport, they can expect to be greeted and protected by Italian leftists. Finally, the discussion is interrupted by the sound of the Doshka heavy machine gun firing from the mountaintop. It is through the sound of the machine gun firing that we are first introduced to Saeed, the eponymous ‘snowman’. As will shortly become clear, Saeed’s interruption of the discussion with his gunfire is significant.

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Having met all the men at the camp, the volunteer inquires as to who Saeed is: ‘We forgot to mention him, it’s Saeed Abu Jaber, leader of the Doshka emplacement up there, there atop that summit. Amidst the snow Saeed Abu Jaber set up the Doshka. At that summit that looks like the mouth of a dormant volcano the snow fell, killing warmth to the depths like a dentist kills the nerve endings of gums. He dug with difficulty, making his way for the past two months in a forest of solid snow. And now’, said Abu Siraj, ‘after these arduous weeks, Saeed and his group control the hilltop completely and everything beneath him is visible and under his control’. Since that day, Saeed became a presence in their conversations. The Doshka operated non-stop. They’d talk about him every evening. ‘Saeed hasn’t tasted sleep in three days’. ‘Their shells can’t reach him or touch him’. ‘Saeed needs blankets and woollen vests’. The volunteer attempted to paint a picture of Saeed in his imagination. He imagined him as Taras Bulba, with a wide belt around his waist, capable of carrying multiple mortar shells at once on his chest, while around his head a glowing, saintly halo formed. ‘Doesn’t our friend the snowman come down from that summit sometimes?’ asked the volunteer. Ali al-Badawi answered him: ‘He comes down once a month. He takes a short break but doesn’t allow his subordinates to come down except to procure provisions and ammunition’. And perhaps it was Yousef who said, in what resembled a whisper, ‘and he’s in love with a girl named Norma’.98 The hyperbolic characterization of Saeed as a warrior’s warrior contrasts with that of the other men who, while clearly awed by Saeed, seem to display no particular fondness for battle themselves. The intertextual reference to Nikolai Gogol’s Taras Bulba is particularly telling. In Gogol’s story, Bulba, the title character, is a jolly yet irascible Cossack only too eager to enter into battle. Bulba is ‘extremely stout and heavy’, weighing ‘over thirty stone’:99

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Bulba was terribly headstrong. He was one of those characters which could only exist in that fierce fifteenth century, and in that half-nomadic corner of Europe, when the whole of Southern Russia, deserted by its princes, was laid waste and burned to the quick by pitiless troops of Mongolian robbers; when men deprived of house and home grew brave there; when, amid conflagrations, threatening neighbours, and eternal terrors, they settled down, and growing accustomed to looking these things straight in the face, trained themselves not to know that there was such a thing as fear in the world; when the old, peacable Slav spirit was fired with warlike flame, and the Cossack state was instituted – a free, wild outbreak of Russian nature – and when all the river-banks, fords, and like suitable places were peopled by Cossacks, whose number no man knew. Their bold comrades had a right to reply to the Sultan when he asked how many they were, ‘Who knows? We are scattered all over the steppes; wherever there is a hillock, there is a Cossack.’100 Yakhlif cleverly co-opts Gogol to remark on the Palestinian situation. The reference to ‘Southern Russia, deserted by its princes . . . laid waste and burned to the quick by pitiless troops of Mongolian robbers’, can easily be transmuted into a metaphor for Palestine: abandoned by its nobles and elites, stolen from its inhabitants by Zionist settlers and militia. From this follows the description of the ‘men deprived of house and home’, representing the Palestinians themselves, who, exiled and dispersed, ‘grew brave there; when, amid conflagrations, threatening neighbours, and eternal terrors, they settled down, and growing accustomed to looking these things in the face, trained themselves not to know that there was such a thing as fear in the world’. As with the description of the Cossacks in the passage, so too did the Palestinians come to be scattered, throughout the Middle East, and indeed, throughout the world. There are, of course, limitations to the metaphor. The institution of the Cossack state referred to in the passage has yet to come to pass for the Palestinians, except insofar as the creation of quasi ‘state-within-a-state’ conditions that were created in refugee camps, first in Jordan then in Lebanon. Nonetheless, it is easy to see the parallels between Gogol’s description of the Cossack condition and that of the Palestinians.

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Shortly following the preceding passage, Gogol goes on to write: Taras was one of the band of old-fashioned leaders; he was born for warlike emotions, and was distinguished for his uprightness of character. At that epoch the influence of Poland had already begun to make itself felt upon the Russian nobility. Many had adopted Polish customs, and began to display luxury in splendid staffs of servants, hawks, huntsmen, dinners, and palaces. This was not to Taras’s taste. He liked the simple life of the Cossacks, and quarrelled with those of his comrades who were inclined to the Warsaw party, calling them serfs of the Polish nobles.101 Yakhlif essentially allows Gogol to do the bulk of Saeed’s characterization. In a gesture clearly applicable to Palestinians dispersed in exile, Bulba, though subject to foreign cultural influences that threaten to ‘dilute’ his Cossack essence, nonetheless resists deracination, clinging tightly to his Cossack identity. In stark contrast to the other fighters in the camp described earlier, individuated and unique, Saeed, it seems, is almost purely symbolic. Bulba’s ardent Cossack nationalism is meant to be superimposed upon Saeed, but the ultimate result is a cartoonish caricature of the Palestinian resistance fighter. Yakhlif here is not so much indicting the Palestinian militants themselves so much as he is interrogating the discourse that surrounds, and refers to, them. The contrast between his descriptions of the mundane daily lives of the soldier in the camp on the one hand, and the impossibly embellished figment of Saeed that exists in the minds of the same soldiers ultimately only serves to undermine the mythologization of the Palestinian fighter. Returning once again to the passage from ‘Nurma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’, it is here that Norma’s name is invoked for the first time. At this point the narrative abruptly breaks and turns to Norma: Norma . . . About her they said: ‘she’s tall and thin. Her breasts weren’t firm, nor was her bottom round. Freckles were scattered across her face and neck. But she had blue eyes’. And they said: ‘Norma is a juice vendor. She owns a tin shack on the main road between Sidon and Tyre. She squeezes the oranges and washes the glass cups, and

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suffers from dizziness and chapped palms and paleness of the face. But when she’s in good health she shines and her eyes glow, and without putting on kohl or being festooned with ornaments, she becomes a girl that can be loved, or who can be accompanied by her lover to a dance’.102 The most immediate aspect of this passage is how starkly Norma is contrasted with her lover, Saeed. While Saeed is depicted as the paragon of health and heartiness, Norma is sickly, weak and somewhat homely. In a subsequent section of the story, Saeed jokes that next time Norma will come with him to volunteer alongside the other men, in response to which, the volunteer ‘imagined the blue-eyed, skinny, juice-seller woman. He tried to find a responsibility for her among them, but could not imagine her doing anything other than operating the wireless’.103 Elsewhere, one of the men hyperbolically declares, ‘If he doesn’t see Norma then all the gods of war won’t be able to make him stand fast on the snowy mountain’.104 There is a certain tongue-in-cheek quality to the description of Norma, like that of Saeed. The lovers are foils of one another. Norma differs starkly from Samira Azzam’s Su’ad in ‘Khubz al-fida¯ʾ’. Whereas Norma is sickly, weak, and beckons Saeed away from the front lines, the nurse Su’ad is active, vigorous, and provides aid, comfort and ultimately salvation to the fighting men. Once again through the use of subtle humour, Yakhlif is subverting the archetypal characterizations of both the heroic Palestinian fighter as well as the idealized Palestinian female witnessed in the writings of Kanafani after 1967 and Samira Azzam. Indeed, while living in a refugee camp, Norma’s nationality is never explicitly established. Here Yakhlif is lodging a protest of sorts against the triumphalist Palestinian discourse on resistance, an example of which we have already witnessed in Kanafani’s late work. Saeed departs to see Norma, and the men remain at camp, chatting idly as usual. Once again conversation turns to crossing borders and acts of resistance as the young Yousef asks the volunteer: ‘Why are they afraid of us in airports, volunteer?’ ‘Because we hijack planes’. ‘Are you against the hijackings?’ ‘Yes’.

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‘Why?’ ‘Because I’m opposed to terrorism and foreign operations’. ‘What do you mean against terrorism and foreign operations?’ The volunteer began to explain, gesturing with his hands and fingers. He got excited and his facial features changed . . . and at the cedar trees Abu Sarwa was gathering dry firewood and Ali alDhiab, slings his rifle over his shoulders and heads to the well two kilometres away to wash. The volunteer suddenly stopped talking. Yousef looked to the road with astonishment and said, ‘It’s Saeed! He’s come at last!’105 Here once again, a substantive discussion about the merits and ethics of acts of resistance is broached, only to be scuttled by the appearance of Saeed, this time returning from his liaison with Norma. Saeed, the archetypal, cartoonish warrior, twice unwittingly curtails conversation on the political situation and the merits of armed resistance. Symbolically, this may signify the manner in which the rhetoric of armed resistance has often precluded interrogation and debate over its merits. Even here, though, there is ambivalence, for Saeed is far from a malevolent, domineering character. Rather, he is depicted as jovial and caring. His interruptions of the debate already in progress is unintentional and unwitting. This can perhaps best be demonstrated through the only episode in the story that signifies real action. As can perhaps be intuited from discussion thus far, ‘Nurma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ is primarily composed of dialogue between characters and character sketches. The only ‘event’ that occurs in the course of the story is the volunteer’s stumbling upon a rabbit freezing in the cold. The volunteer brings the rabbit in from the cold and informs the other men of his find. Saeed, the embodiment of the warrior spirit, dutifully places the rabbit near the fire to warm it up. Before leaving the camp to return to his mountaintop encampment, Saeed bids the men not to slaughter the rabbit. The volunteer asks if the rabbit should be released, and Saeed personally sets it free. Here the rabbit acts as an unlikely symbol of Saeed the warrior himself, which may explain Saeed’s tenderness towards it. There are parallels in Saeed the ‘snowman’ perched high atop a freezing mountaintop in the snow, and the rabbit that was found freezing in the snow. The comparison between the rabbit and Saeed again subverts the image of the masculine, fearless warrior, equating Saeed with a symbol seemingly antithetical to

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masculine bravado, while Saeed’s request that the rabbit not be slaughtered betrays tacit fears of death on his part. Moreover, it is yet another example of the more light hearted treatment of the Palestinian condition evident throughout ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’. While the stories in Yakhlif’s collection are by and large told through conventional narrative techniques, ‘Al-Dabʿ’ (The Hyena) employs a ˙ surrealist horror aesthetic, demonstrating how authors, freed from the more dogmatic aspects of ‘committed literature’, could now experiment with different aesthetic and narrative techniques. The narrative of ‘Al-Dabʿ’ is highly fragmented and the transitions between the man’s ˙ memories of a past demonstration which the man seems to have led, his present in his bedroom in a refugee camp in an unspecified location (likely Lebanon), and his recurring nightmare of transforming into and racing after a hyena, are intentionally blurred. The dark, horror of ‘Al-Dabʿ’106 cannot differ more starkly than the ˙ wry humour of ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’. The fragmented and constantly shifting nature of ‘Al-Dabʿ’ defies certain interpretation. ˙ In part, it is a reflection of the nightmarish reality of the Lebanese Civil War that ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ attempts to deal with somewhat more flippantly, though as discussed above, that flippancy is integral to the story’s message. Perhaps then, if the Lebanese Civil War can be understood as janus-faced in all meanings of the term, ‘Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ represents one polarity of the conflict while ‘Al-Dabʿ’ represents ˙ the other – a fragmented, incomprehensible nightmare defying any certain interpretation. In large part, ‘Al-Dabʿ’ attempts to grapple with the lead-up to the ˙ Lebanese war. At one point, the fragmented narrative reads: ‘He was the only honest one, that brave boy who was injured in his leg at the Cola roundabout in the May battles. He said with agitation: “When we raise a slogan that divides the masses, then that slogan must be untrue.” (You couldn’t control yourself, you yelled at him, so he turned around and left).’107 The reference to ‘slogans that divide the masses’, nebulous though it may be in keeping with the cryptic nature of the story as a whole, is nonetheless of paramount significance. Shortly preceding this passage, the narrative reads: The microphone is in your hand. Your throat is sore, as though the blade of a knife were touching it. There’s an old lady chanting and

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chanting. What do they want? They all reject what you’re saying. Your lips move. The microphone crackles and in your head a wobbly fan rotates. You look like a factory owner confronting a strike. Your lips move. The microphone crackles, the faces are red and their blood is boiling, anger overwhelms you, it spreads like fire. There’s a confrontation. You turn around, and then suddenly, there’s a deluge.108 The chaos of the scene is palpable, not least because the setting and context of the scene are withheld from the reader. Instead we are presented only with the significant image of ‘a factory owner confronting a strike’. That it is the protagonist who is cast in the role of the factory owner, that is, the villain in this scenario, prepares us for the young boy’s subsequent criticism of the ‘slogans that divide the masses’. What these slogans are, who the man is addressing, and why they should reject what he is saying remains concealed from the reader, all contributing to the sense of confusion that the reader shares with the protagonist. This confusion is tinged with a significant sense of danger, not least owing to the provocative image of the blade of a knife held against the man’s sore throat. Yakhlif is engaging in a significant act of self-criticism, interrogating the role played by the Palestinians in the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War expressed through the protagonist’s regret at not heeding the young boy’s warnings about the spuriousness of divisive slogans. However Yakhlif does not go so far as to blame the Palestinians, for above all, ‘Al-Dabʿ’ conveys uncertainty and confusion through its ˙ fragmented and indeterminate narrative that precludes any definitive attribution of responsibility. The ‘May battles’ and ‘Cola Roundabout’ previously mentioned refer to an outbreak of hostilities between the Lebanese government and army on the one hand, and Palestinian militant factions on the other, considered one in the long chain of incidents that signified Lebanon’s slide towards civil war. The incident was sparked when, on 2 May 1973, elements of the PFLP kidnapped/’arrested’ two Lebanese army officers. The Lebanese army responded by issuing an ultimatum for their release, and subsequently heavily shelling the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila. Palestinian militants ensconced in the camp returned fire. The incident also figures in Liana Badr’s 1983 novella, Sharfa ʿala¯ al-Fakiha¯nı¯ (A Balcony Over the Fakihani, 1993). In it, she writes:

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May 1973 – and tank gun and machine gun fire on Shatila camp. There were no shelters in the camp, so people fled to Sabra, where they hid in the doorways of buildings or in warehouses. He came at night and took me away. The sky was lit with green and red stars, and the thunder and lightning wasn’t real thunder and lightning, but bullets from machine guns and small arms. We were running and stumbling, carrying the two babies, bottles of milk and bags of clothes and diapers. He left me at the house of someone we knew in the Jadid Road, then went away again. The Lebanese army tanks came to Cola Roundabout and began to shell the camps; the building shook, and the constant din was like the noise of an earthquake swallowing up heaven and earth together. Next morning, as I was giving Ruba some milk, I noticed a white hair in the middle of her head. I couldn’t believe a baby’s hair could turn white.109 The treatments given to the same incident by the two authors could not be more different. The most obvious disparity between the two is formal: whereas Yakhlif makes only cryptic, passing mentions of the ‘May battles’ and ‘Cola roundabout’, and depends instead on the confusion, fragmentation, and nightmarish context of the story to sufficiently convey the sense of fear and horror, Badr, by contrast, explicates in detail the date, location, the ‘green and red stars’ (i.e. tracer fire), gunfire producing ‘thunder and lightning’, and the shelling producing ‘the noise of an earthquake swallowing up heaven and earth together’. She makes explicit reference to shelling of Shatila by tanks at the Cola roundabout, and the final coup de graˆce is her discovery of the white hair on her infant daughter’s head, a central event in the story, as a result of the previous night’s terror. Yakhlif relies on chaos and narrative disintegration to convey a sense of the action, while Badr uses explication and metaphor (e.g. ‘green and red stars’,‘thunder and lightning’) to depict the same events. The former is visceral, the latter visual. By seamlessly interlacing the scenes of the man’s nightmares with events of the Lebanese Civil War, Yakhlif makes a statement about the nightmarish and oftentimes surreal quality of the Lebanese conflict more broadly, captured elsewhere such as in Elias Khoury’s novels on the Lebanese Civil War.110 In doing so, however, Yakhlif undermines the romanticized heroism depicted in Kanafani’s post-1967 works. Be it

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through the flippancy of ‘Nurma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ or the surrealist nightmare of ‘Al-Dabʿ’, Yakhlif paints a decidedly less rosy image of ˙ armed resistance than does Kanafani. Kanafani did not live long enough to see the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War and we therefore ultimately cannot know what his literary response to it would have been. In Yakhlif, however, a thread of scepticism and cynicism toward the conflict and the Palestinians’ involvement in it is clear, expressed variously as flippancy and dismissal on the one hand, and an attempt to confront its most nightmarish qualities on the other.

Internal Resistance and the Gender Politics of Patriarchy and Modernism: Liana Badr’s ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ Liana Badr’s ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ (1985, ‘I Want the Day’) from her short story collection of the same name is a profoundly interior work of high modernist writing. In it we can trace the influence of several literary trends that have thus far been observed. Badr builds upon the legacy left by pioneering female Palestinian writers such as Samira Azzam, however, in contrast to Azzam, Badr’s feminist politics are far more overt and assertive. In ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’s’ high modernism we can also trace the influence of pioneers of literary experimentation such as Ghassan Kanafani before his didactic/realist turn, as well as Yahya Yakhlif and other authors operating in the wider Arabic literary context such as the Lebanese Elias Khoury and Sudanese author al-Tayeb Salih. As we shall see, the convergence of these influences in ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ yields a work that not only critiques the past and present of the Palestinian national movement and its attendant masculinist patriarchy, but also in many ways presages the vital question of Palestinian women’s rights and freedoms that would come to the fore after the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada that would erupt only two years after the work’s publication. The most immediately apparent aspect of ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ is its profound interiority. We have already seen the deployment of interiority in Yakhlif’s ‘Al-Dabʿ’ as a means of commenting on the damaged ˙ Palestinian psyche and, of course, Samira Azzam’s tentative gestures toward interiority as she made some of the initial literary explorations of Palestinian women’s conditions. In ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ the device reaches its apotheosis, using interiority to convey a profound sense of

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claustrophobia, immobility and imprisonment. The female subjectivity of both the work’s author as well as the main character are central in this regard, as interiority takes on added dimensions when deployed by overtly feminist authors like Badr as a commentary on the circumscribed role of women in Palestinian society.111 Badr’s work also demonstrates a line of descent from, and a building upon the works of Samira Azzam already discussed in Chapter 1. We have already seen the tentative steps taken by Azzam in constructing a distinct Palestinian feminist literary idiom premised on interiority to highlight the circumscribed public roles permitted to females whilst simultaneously launching an indictment of social norms and mores which maintain those limitations. Badr would build upon these tentative beginnings, symbiotically linking theme and aesthetic, with interiority, stream of consciousness, and fragmented narrative being integral to the simultaneous portrayal of female subjectivity and indictment of masculinist patriarchy being leveled by Badr. ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ consists of an unnamed female narrator’s stream of consciousness narrative intermingled with her reminiscences of the past. Crucially, her observations of her present in a nondescript white room that seems to imprison her blend indeterminately with her recollections of the past, blurring the distinction between the two and keeping the reader constantly unsure as to not only where she is, but also when. Indeed, confusion and indeterminacy are central to the story. For instance, we can gather that there two men involved in the story: the narrator’s former lover as well as her current lover to whom she is telling the story of her previous lover. Once again, however, the distinction between the two men is blurred and it is uncertain at numerous points in the story when the narrator is referring to her past lover and when she is referring to her present one. This conflation of the two male figures combines with the narrator’s protestations to produce an acute feminist critique of patriarchal nationalism. For, indeed, while the narrator makes clear that she was in a military training camp where she and other women trained alongside men to fight, she now finds herself confined to the plain white room where she is hidden away when visitors come calling for her lover, while he, in the meantime, comes and goes as he pleases. While this trenchant critique functions more or less obliquely throughout the story, there are a few moments where it more

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unambiguously breaks through to the surface of the narrative, as when the narrator states: All of them would carry on with big talk about women’s liberation. So if she did not yield in their hands, the words looped around her neck into a noose, tightening more and more until she was choked by the rumours and friends’ stories. And we didn’t then wake up in a new society. Such an unstable [ghayr rası¯na ] girl, ˙ and at such an age! Unbelievable. Liberty is for grownups alone. 112 And her, what would she understand about life? This passage demonstrates well the effect of Badr’s strategy of blurring and indeterminacy. We do not know who ‘they’ are that would ‘carry on with big talk of women’s liberation’, and it is in ‘their’ indeterminacy that a sense of the narrator’s beleaguerment from all sides is conveyed. Significant too is Badr’s use of the common modernist device of free indirect discourse (‘such an unstable girl, and at such an age! Unbelievable. Liberty is for grownups alone. And her, what would she understand about life?’) to parrot her detractors. Moreover, the indeterminate ‘they’ conveys a sense of panoptic surveillance. It is an omnipresent ‘they’ that observes and passes judgement on the narrator. Additionally, in a slippage typical of the text as a whole, the ‘big talk of women’s liberation’ is almost imperceptibly blurred into the ‘rumours and friends’ stories’, presumably about the narrator’s sexual transgressions of social mores. Significantly, the ‘big talk about women’s liberation’ and the ‘rumours and friends’ stories’ are seamlessly linked through reference to ‘the words that looped around her neck into a noose’. Thus, while she makes clear that she was ‘choked by the rumours and friends stories’, the starting point of the passage is the narrator’s bitter reflection on the hypocrisy of, and failure to live up to the ‘big talk of women’s liberation’. All of this culminates in what is presumably the parroting of ‘their’ assertion of her being an ‘unstable girl’ and the assertion that ‘liberty is for grownups alone’, once again highlighting the hypocrisy of the ‘big talk about women’s liberation’ whilst simultaneously launching a generational critique that we have previously seen in other works of the period such as late-Kanafani. Overt criticism of patriarchy comes to the surface elsewhere in the story as well, as when the narrator recalls that even the manner in which

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they (i.e. girls) were taught the alphabet was wrapped in a masculinistnationalist ideology that integrally ties nationalist aspirations to female domesticity: ‘K – Kids. P – Peas. C – Carrots. R – Revolution. O – Ongoing’.113 The rhetoric of ‘ongoing revolution’ sits alongside the maternal and domestic duties of bearing children and cooking. The peas and carrots referred to here are themselves an internal reference to a previous passage in the story that reads: Didn’t [Adam and Eve] wed so that Eve could atone for the sin of being mesmerized by the snake and not giving herself a moment of clear thought? What’s important is that they married. And marriage is ideal and wonderful. Despite the fact that he’s bits of amber on a long, unending rosary. Sweeping and wiping and cooking. Peas and carrots swimming in a pot that’s been boiling since descending to the earth.114 Marriage here is intrinsically bound to the notion of original sin, and in particular as Eve’s atonement (read: punishment) for submitting to the serpent’s temptations. The sarcastic assertion that ‘marriage is ideal and wonderful’ as well the sense of interminable domestic toil conveyed through the lines, ‘sweeping and wiping and cooking. Peas and carrots swimming in a pot that’s been boiling since descending to the earth’ convey a deep-seated bitterness by the narrator. The ‘rumours’ and ‘stories’ alluded to earlier are also referred to repeatedly throughout the story, conveying a claustrophobic (more on this later) sense of panoptic surveillance. One of the narrator’s lovers is a painter who promises to paint her, but instead only paints the fida¯ʾyı¯n and his own relatives. Of the latter, the narrator observes: In the other room, his silent canvases hang on the wall. They look at me with curiosity and cold impassivity. They are the paintings of his favoured relatives, and rumours drip from their long fangs that resemble Dracula’s. They remain on the wall, and from within them emanates the quiet beating of drums. Rhythmic and heavy, it announces the presence of an unseen enemy within the trees of the tropical jungle.115 The relatives’ rumours are given a pointedly threatening dimension as they ‘drip from their long fangs that resemble Dracula’s’, meanwhile the

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sense of constant surveillance is heightened by the imaginary and perhaps even hallucinatory drumbeats that ‘announc[e] the presence of an unseen enemy’. But while the reference to the tropical jungle on the one hand heightens the sense of invisibility of the ‘unseen enemy’, specific reference is made to the fact that the narrator is wearing a blouse patterned with tropical flowers that was chosen for her by the painterlover under the pretence of painting her portrait. The ‘unseen enemy’, therefore, lies both without and within the narrator herself. It is understood that the ‘rumours’ referred to here are of a sexual nature. We have already seen the frequent deployment of the ‘fallen woman’ motif, for instance, in Samira Azzam, who, while providing a sympathetic portrait of the orphan-cum-prostitute in ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, ˙ nonetheless does so within the framework of providing mitigating circumstances and excuses for the young girl’s fall from grace, or in the story of Hamid’s sister from Kanafani’s “Hamı¯d yaqif . . .”, in which the ˙ fall of Palestine is superimposed on Hamid’s sister becoming a prostitute. The masculinist-patriarchal framework wherein pre- or extramarital sex on the part of women is prohibited remains in place. In Yakhlif’s ‘Nurma¯ wa rajul al-thalj’ it is understood that Saeed is engaged in a sexual relationship with Norma, and while no judgement is cast upon her as such, the subversive potential of the narrative is undermined by the fact that the reader never encounters Norma directly nor is her own personal perspective ever given. By stark contrast, ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’is told from the perspective of a young woman personally unashamed by her sexual relationships, but nonetheless dogged by the rumours and stories told about her behind her back. Moreover, there are some fairly frankly sexual instances in the story, such as: ‘We talk, and talk a lot. Tenderly at first, then more quietly, and then in throaty whispers broken by panting breaths amidst the rustling of our bodies touching and cigarettes that flavour our kisses’.116 Elsewhere, however, the shame of female sexuality long ingrained from childhood cannot but assert itself. So for instance, at one point the narrator states: I recline on the green and white striped sheet and look at the nightgown’s buttons made of seashell around the neck. I open it and expose my breasts to the air and light and notice how pale the nipples are. A rosy whiteness stamped with small black freckles that remind me of something strange and amorphous between

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daughters and mothers. Nipple! What a repulsive word. Yuck! It immediately reminds me of a nursing mother. A nasty word, prohibited from use, circulation, or utterance. They taught us that. Who? The ones who taught us the letters of the alphabet. Parents. Relatives. Uncles. Aunts. Friends, and friends of friends.117 It is a telling moment wherein a moment of intimate sexuality is drowned out by the twin burdens of socially imposed maternal expectations and sexual shame. Scarcely has the narrator begun contemplating the details of her breasts before she is reminded of that ‘strange and amorphous [thing] between daughters and mothers’. At that instant, she exclaims ‘nipple!’ before proceeding to express her distaste for the word due to the connotations of a suckling child, and therefore motherhood as a whole, that it carries. Not only does it carry maternal connotations, however, but it is also a ‘nasty word prohibited from use, circulation or utterance’, by ‘Parents. Relatives. Uncles. Aunts. Friends, friends of friends’. In short, everybody, although the emphasis is clearly on the elders, once again implying a generational handing down of social mores instilling shame.118 These taboos and mores are then taken up by the younger generation, the ‘friends and friends of friends’, who in turn police one another’s morality. Thus a complex nexus is created between the shame of sexuality on the one hand, and the admired and expected maternal role of the female on the other. At the same time, the grotesque manner in which the narrator views her body echoes the shame of female sexual maturity experienced by the adolescent girl in Samira Azzam’s ‘Urı¯d ma¯ʾ’ (‘I Want Water’) discussed in Chapter 1. In both stories, the discourses surrounding female sexuality that swirl around the protagonists cause them to internalize shame and selfloathing toward their sexual subjectivity. Overall, ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’ is a subtle work of high modernism that relies primarily on its aesthetic and narrative style, rather than the narrative itself per se to convey the sense of the fragile, perhaps even fractured, psyche of the claustrophobically trapped narrator. The previous passage, for instance, deploys a narrative strategy used throughout the story, namely self-contradiction. The narrator observes that the images of the painter’s relatives ‘look at [her] with curiosity and cold impassivity’.119 Elsewhere in the story, she observes that a stuffed owl toy ‘remains staring

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at [her] with that sarcastic, innocent expression, like a child . . .’.120 The contradiction between curiosity and cold impassivity in the former passage, and the sarcasm and innocence of the stuffed toy’s expression in the latter seem to sit comfortably alongside one another despite the mutual exclusivity of the descriptors. This, as well as the constant slippage in time and space (of which, more later) all contribute to an overall air of uncertainty and confusion in the reader. Not only do we not know where or when we are, but moreover, the narrator herself is maddeningly selfcontradictory, not even permitting us a clear understanding of the facial expressions by which she is confronted. In parallel, the narrator’s reliability is itself called into question as she herself seems unable or unwilling to discern the expressions staring back at her. The reigning mood of the story is that of an oppressive and claustrophobic interiority. This functions on two mutually reinforcing levels. On the one hand there is the interiority of the stream of consciousness narrative itself, taking place within the fragile/fractured psyche of the female narrator. Added to that is the fact that, with only a couple very minor exceptions where the narrator leaves the room to go to another one in the house, she spends the entire story in a nondescript white-walled room that she seems unwilling or unable to leave. The sense of claustrophobia and incarceration is heightened a number of times as visitors come to call on her lover, causing him to shut her in the room, a shameful secret: ‘They ring the doorbell, so he’d close the door to the room and go to them. Bits of their conversations reached her: Work, tomorrow, the following morning’.121 For the narrator (and through her, the reader), meanwhile, days and nights melt into one another meaninglessly, for she has nowhere to be: Honk, Honk, Honk. Hundreds of cars respond in the morning gridlock. A beautiful day in any case. No work, no running along the sidewalks between screams and shouts and curses cast from here and there. No job, no hanging clothes on a line along the veranda, no folding. The smell of hot coffee reaches me. I don’t get up to make any, he’ll leave it in the coffee pot as he leaves for the place where many people await him, as always happens each morning.122 One senses a certain half-heartedness in the narrator’s attempts to convince herself of the virtues of having no work. Additionally, her

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horizon is limited to domestic labour: ‘hanging clothes on a line along the veranda’, and ‘folding’. Meanwhile, she is left in isolation ‘as he leaves for the place where many people await him’. The imperceptible melting of day into night and into day again takes place throughout the story. The reader is never aware of the precise passage of time or whether day has come and gone, and indeed, of how many days have come and gone with the narrator in her present situation until she makes a reference to either the light or darkness outside her window. Indeed, the juxtaposition and interplay of light and darkness is perhaps the most insistent leitmotif found throughout the story. This makes its way into even the story’s title. While the word naha¯r in the title most easily translates into ‘day’, the Arabic word carries with it strong connotations of light, perhaps more akin to the English term ‘daytime’. Naha¯r (day/light) is the obverse of layl (nighttime), referring specifically to the period of light between dawn and dusk. Significantly, the story ends with the narrator’s exclamation: ‘I want the day, I want the day.’123 Throughout the story light streams into the room in which the narrator is confined. The narrator frequently remarks on this, as when she observes: ‘sun crawls with its orange threads on the walls of the room’,124 or, ‘The ceiling, the room’s ceiling curves like a mushroom while grooves of orange light sway against it in geometric patterns.’125 The narrator only passively observes the light giving the sense that it is just out of her reach, both literally and figuratively. Elsewhere, alongside light shining into the room, ‘a car horn wraps around the closed window’s handle’.126 Like the light, the honking of cars in morning gridlock (one of the instances through which the narrator informs the reader that morning has come), is able to infiltrate into the room. This contrasts starkly with the narrator who remains reclined in bed for the better part of the story. Thus, while even sound is anthropomorphized to have the agency to ‘wrap around the closed window’s handle’, the narrator herself remains largely passive. All of this can perhaps be summed up in a single passage: But now I’m in bed. I don’t have the courage to sleep again after the sun has reached the middle of the sky, and I can’t get up quickly, leaping after the day and brightly-coloured wakefulness. The day! A fountain of luminescent water they call a wellspring of hopes. But if I won’t see what which I wish for this day, or don’t find it, why should I get out of bed?127

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What she ‘wish[es] for this day’, is not specified but she is nonetheless certain she cannot or will not find it, thereby precluding her from leaving her claustrophobic confines. And yet, we are told, both in the story’s title as well as by the narrator herself in the story’s final line that it is the ‘day(time)’ itself that she wants.128 Ultimately, the confluence of interiority, anti- or a-realism, symbolism, sexual ambivalence and female subjectivity all within a text that constantly tends toward complete formal disintegration make ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ ripe for feminist psychoanalytic examination. In Speculum of the Other Woman, Luce Irigaray writes: Whereas ‘she’ comes to be unable to say what her body is suffering. Stripped even of the words that are expected of her upon that stage invented to listen to her. In an admission of the wear and tear on language or of its fetishistic denial? But hysteria, or at least the hysteria that is the privileged lot of the ‘female’, now has nothing to say. What she ‘suffers’, what she ‘lusts for’, even what she ‘takes pleasure in’, all take place upon another stage, in relation to already codified representations.129 It is aptly applicable to Badr’s ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ in a number of ways. First, as should be evident from the above passage, like ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’, the language Irigaray uses to write tends towards formal disintegration, subverts language itself. This arises from Irigaray’s advocacy of ‘parler-femme’.‘A feminine language, [Irigaray] imagines’, writes Sarah Franklin, ‘would undo the proper meaning of nouns, the singularity of truth that still regulate all discourse. There would no longer need to be a unity of meaning in order for there to be a ‘proper’, ‘correct’, or ‘true’, meaning of words’.130 Irigaray of course opens herself to accusations of essentialism, but we can nonetheless see a feminist subversion of language at play in Badr’s story, for instance in the repeated resort to paradox mentioned earlier. Irigaray goes on to assert that ‘she shrieks out demands too innocuous to cause alarm, that merely make people smile’, calling to mind the final lines of ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’, as the man ‘races back from the door to which he was heading, holding my face in his palms and laughing as he imitates me: “You want the trees, you want the trees.”’131

CHAPTER 3 INTIFADA

The Intifada and Palestine Studies: Emergence of a Field By 1987 the Palestinian people had endured nearly 40 years of statelessness and exile following the Nakba and 20 years since Israel consolidated its control over what little remained of historic Palestine in the form of the occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza following the 1967 war. The ultimate goal of Palestinian national selfdetermination appeared more remote than ever. Worse still, in addition to the fading hopes of achieving a Palestinian state, the Palestinian national movement itself appeared to be in terminal decline. Fragmentation and intra-Arab hostilities following 1967 meant that not only did the Palestinians no longer have very many allies among the region’s governments, they had in fact engaged in open conflict with several regimes, including the Jordanian, Lebanese, and occasionally even the Syrians. With no territorial base of operations, a leadership exiled to Tunisia after 1982, and the Lebanese Civil War still consuming valuable energy and resources, the outlook for Palestinians in 1987 looked bleak. It is perhaps for this reason that the First Intifada (intifada meaning, literally, ‘shaking off’) that erupted in 1987 holds so central a place of pride in modern Palestinian consciousness. Rashid Khalidi goes so far as to say that: the precipitous decline of the Palestinian cause would have continued, had it not been for the spontaneous outbreak of the

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intifada, which galvanized the Palestinian people, impressed international public opinion, and, most importantly, convinced a sizeable number of Israelis that they could not indefinitely maintain the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.1 Beginning in Gaza in December of 1987 before quickly spreading to the West Bank and Israel, and continuing in one form or another until shortly before the announcement of the Oslo Accords in 1993 (though greatly reduced in intensity following the Madrid Conference of 1991), the Intifada was characterized by Palestinian mass strikes and public demonstrations, and confrontations between Palestinian stone-throwing youths and Israeli military personnel that would invert the familiar depiction of Israel as a vulnerable David confronting an Arab Goliath.2 Civil disobedience, the primary strategy adopted by the Palestinians to wage the Intifada (though sporadic incidents and outbreaks of Palestinian violence took place), was met by a draconian and violent Israeli response. Seeking to minimize Palestinian fatalities (or, more specifically, the unwelcome international condemnation that resulted therefrom), then-Minister of Defence, Yitzhak Rabin, implemented the policy of ‘force, might, beatings’, otherwise known as the ‘broken bones policy’, which sought to replace lethal force with a systematic use of beatings by Israeli soldiers.3 So severe, frequent and regular was the beating of Palestinians that the Israeli military replaced its soldiers’ wooden truncheons, which had a habit of breaking and splintering, with more resilient plastic and fibreglass ones in March of 1988.4 In addition to signifying a renewed Palestinian spirit and period of resistance, the Intifada also prompted a flourishing of scholarly inquiry into the Palestinians. Whereas the emergence of the work of the socalled Israeli ‘New Historians’ in the late 1980s, such as Benny Morris discussed in Chapter 1, marked a significant paradigmatic shift in scholarly discourse on Israel-Palestine, the same period saw another, parallel, and more subtle shift in scholarship in the field that is rarely acknowledged. While the Israeli New Historians were examining recently declassified Israeli documents to unearth the ‘truth’ about the conditions of Israel’s inception, another cadre of Western scholars, responding directly to the events of the Intifada were, arguably for the first time, engaging in sustained and systematic scholarship on the

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Palestinians qua Palestinians, approaching the Palestinians as a people and political entity distinct and discrete from the surrounding Arab states as well as Israel, although paradoxically, simultaneously and inexorably entangled with them as well. In this regard, judging by the scholarly output of the Western academy during this period, the Palestinians had succeeded in projecting themselves to the outside world as a distinct people as outlined in the previous chapter. Though by no means exhaustive, a simple search of the term ‘Palestinian’ on Google Scholar can nonetheless be telling. A search of publications between 1948 and 1986 (that is from the year of the Nakba until the eve of the First Intifada) produces 16,200 results. Many of these titles tend to use ‘Palestinian’ as a prefix for ‘Arab’, such as in Yehoshua Porath’s ‘The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement, 1918 – 1929’,5 Shabtai Teveth’s ‘Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War’,6 or John K. Cooly’s ‘Green March, Black September: The Story of the Palestinian Arabs’,7 indicating that the Palestinians during this period were still seen primarily as merely a subgroup under the broad category of ‘Arabs’. Many other titles, meanwhile, deploy the term Palestinian in reference to the pre-modern geographical entity, making the use of the term in that context irrelevant for our immediate purposes.8 By contrast, the same search between the years of 1988 and 1992, that is, a mere four-year period, produces 10,400 publications, nearly as many as were produced in the approximately four decades prior. Moreover, however, and more importantly, the very nature of inquiry had changed. First, virtually none of the titles hyphenated ‘Palestinian’ and ‘Arab’, or used the former term as a prefix for the latter. Second, many of the works took on an explicit tone of sympathy with the Palestinian peoples, their struggles, and their travails, evident in titles such as Zachary Lockman and Joel Beinin’s edited volume ‘Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising against Israeli Occupation’,9 or Walid Khalidi’s ‘All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948’.10 Finally, much of this scholarship moved beyond viewing the Palestinians as a homogeneous political bloc with singular aims and objectives, and began dissecting the Palestinian body politic into its constituent parts, identifying tensions and conflicts within and among Palestinians, as opposed to simply those between Palestinians and Israel or other Arab states.

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Palestinian women are among the most researched social grouping beginning from this period, with studies such as Kitty Warnock’s ‘Land before Honour: Palestinian Women in the Occupied Territories’,11 Julie Peteet’s ‘Gender in Crisis: Women and the Palestinian Resistance Movement’,12 and Philippa Strum’s ‘The Women Are Marching: The Second Sex and the Palestinian Revolution’ to name but a few examples.13 Recognizing the central role they played in the Intifada, and the inordinate violence to which they have been exposed or which was inflicted directly upon them during so formative a period in their lives, Palestinian children also became the focus of extensive scholarly inquiry, with studies such as Ahmad Baker’s ‘The Psychological Impact of the Intifada on Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza: An Exploratory Study’,14 ‘Predictors And Effectiveness of Coping with Political Violence among Palestinian Children’ by Raija-Leena Punama¨ki and Ramzi Suleiman,15 Kate Rouhana’s ‘Children and the Intifadah’,16 and Daoud Kuttab’s ‘A Profile of Stonethrowers’.17 This bourgeoning of scholarly interest in the Palestinians and the intricacies of their societies meant that, perhaps more so than any previous chapter in the Palestinians’ history, the First Intifada was meticulously documented, researched and analysed.18 Often conducted ethnographically, in addition to giving a palpable sense of Palestinian lived experience, these studies also gave voice to interviewees, allowing Palestinians to circumvent the lack of official state institutions, including archives that have often rendered Palestinian voices mute when it came to the Nakba. Whereas scholars had researched the history and politics of the Palestinians long before, it is arguably with the First Intifada that the early features of ‘Palestine Studies’ as a distinct field of research begin to take shape. As laudable as much of this research was, both in its intent and scholarly findings, we can retrospectively identify large gaps which can be incredibly illuminating in their own way. The first thing that becomes overwhelmingly apparent in reviewing the research cited in this section so far is the staggering emphasis upon Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It is logical, of course, that researchers would focus on these Palestinian populations, the actions of which were giving rise to what were the momentous events of the Intifada. But the emphasis on these Palestinian populations to the almost complete exclusion of Palestinians exiled outside historic Palestine leaves us with a troubling

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knowledge gap. The feelings, sensations, attitudes, and reactions to the outbreak of the Intifada among Palestinians exiled to Tunisia after 1982, those large numbers still remaining in Lebanese refugee camps and elsewhere in the Arab world, and those diasporic populations farther flung still, remain largely opaque to us today. Whereas preoccupation with the figure of the Palestinian fida¯ʾı¯ may have previously resulted in a disproportionate emphasis upon Palestinian adult males exiled in Jordan and Lebanon at the expense of interest in Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, we can retrospectively see that an overcorrection of sorts had taken place following the outbreak of the Intifada. Moreover, while the ethnographic method that tends to dominate these studies was a positive development, giving voice to Palestinians and attempting to portray their daily lives, concerns and struggles, there was little or no corresponding shift of inquiry into Palestinian cultural forms and production.19 This was hardly new; researchers had previously paid scant attention to, for instance, Palestinian art, cinema, or literature as well. Within the context of the violence and brutality meted out against the Palestinians over the course of the Intifada, the focus on the lived experience of the Palestinians most directly affected by Israeli occupation and the revolt against it is understandable. Put another way, it may have seemed perverse to meditate on the finer points of Palestinian literary or artistic production while images of Israeli soldiers using stones to break the bones of unarmed Palestinian protesters were being televised the world over. In the well-intentioned zeal to document Israeli abuses against Palestinians, the hardships they experienced, and Palestinians’ responses to Israeli oppression, attention to cultural production took a back seat. We can now recognize with the benefit of hindsight that this omission is lamentable; that, arguably, the Palestinian cultural production that emerged during and in response to the Intifada is of central, not tangential, importance. Fortunately, while it may be too late now to revisit exiled/ diasporic Palestinians’ responses to the Intifada as it was unfolding, the literature of authors outside the West Bank and Gaza remains with us. As shall become evident in subsequent discussion, this literature betrays profound ambivalence toward the Intifada. On the one hand, Ibrahim Nasrallah, who lives in Jordan and visited the West Bank the summer prior to the outbreak of the Intifada, would not only express

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unbridled enthusiasm for the forthcoming Intifada, but also demonstrate an uncanny prescience, seeming to predict the outbreak of the Intifada and the form it would take before it actually occurred. In stark contrast to this, Liana Badr, displaced from Lebanon to Tunisia, would demonstrate an almost studious avoidance of any mention of the Intifada. These omissions bring to mind once again the conspicuous absence of the mention of Palestine in the work of Samira Azzam and Ronan McDonald’s observations on the short story’s ‘strategies of silence’ mentioned in Chapter 1. The extensive scholarly literature on the Intifada outlined above and the numerous subsequent works that would add to a growing corpus of literature on the period address the complex and multifaceted social, economic and political conditions that led to the Palestinians’ uprising with far greater detail and nuance than permitted to us here. Suffice it to say, however, that while the putative ‘cause’ of the outbreak of the Intifada was the death of four Palestinians after an Israeli military vehicle collided into a group of day-labourers at an Israeli military checkpoint in Gaza, this was merely the spark that ignited an already highly volatile situation that had been festering at least since Israel’s conquest of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, and arguably dating back much further to the Nakba of 1948. In reality, a confluence of economic hardship, social transformations (particularly among youth and women), political stagnation at the level of the elite nationalist leadership (most of which had been exiled to Tunisia after 1982), the accelerating pace of Israeli colonization of the West Bank and Gaza in the form of Jewish-only settlements, and the increasingly draconian and violent nature of Israeli military occupation conspired to create a situation that Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and even Israel itself, could no longer tolerate.

Prophecy or Perception? Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya There is perhaps no better indicator of the deeply charged atmosphere leading up to and immediately preceding the outbreak of the Intifada than Ibrahim Nasrallah’s remarkable short story composite, Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya (1989, Terrestrial Waves).20 Nasrallah’s short story collection demonstrates remarkable prescience bordering on the prophetic, although Nasrallah himself is quick to dismiss any attribution of prophecy, emphasizing instead that the conditions he encountered

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indicated to him that the Palestinians of historic Palestine, or at the very least of the West Bank, were primed for revolt: I have always objected to the term ‘prophesied’ [regarding Al-Amwa¯j ] because it carries metaphysical connotations. The fact is that the author observes his reality and reads that reality, and through that constructs his creative vision of what will result of this state of affairs if they continue in a given direction, or reverse course, or revolve in the same place. And for that reason it can be said that Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya is a view of the accumulation of the consciousness of daily struggle of the people and the wonderful innovations of that consciousness and inspiration. The result is the convergence of all these little tributaries to form, in the end, a river or a sea [. . .] I saw that the stockpiles of that spirit of struggle and Palestinian consciousness, and the accumulation of work, would propel this people forward another step so as to exceed what their fathers achieved in ‘36. It is a reading that was correct because it did not come out of a vacuum, but rather after tangible experience of the period preceding the Intifada by five months.21 Written over the course of the summer preceding the outbreak of the Intifada in December of 1987 during which Nasrallah visited the West Bank, it is clear from the story’s prescience that the situation there was ripe for rebellion. It is significant that Nasrallah should directly attribute the writing of Al-Amwa¯j . . . to the conditions in the West Bank that he experienced firsthand. As we shall later see in the writings of Liana Badr, this direct experience of the conditions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, or more precisely, the lack thereof, could result in vastly different literary production. Whereas Nasrallah demonstrates not only a profound prescience of the forthcoming Palestinian uprising, and an attendant, all-consuming concern with it, Badr would virtually ignore it altogether. However this makes them no less significant, for while scholarship after the Intifada would come to focus on Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, these texts can give us insight into the concerns and conditions of diasporic Palestinians not in direct contact with the homeland. The narrative thread that runs throughout and binds the stories in Nasrallah’s collection tells of the draconian nature of Israeli occupation,

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the daily hardships and humiliations suffered by Palestinians under Israeli rule, and the gradual crescendo of pressure and resentment culminating, in the collection’s final stories, in a mass uprising of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel itself, referred to in the text as an ‘intifada’. Moreover, many of the elements that would become iconic components of the Palestinian Intifada are prominent throughout Nasrallah’s text: Palestinian mass strikes, stone-throwing youths, and illicit concerts are met by city-wide curfews, arbitrary arrests, torture, and indiscriminate violence meted out to civilians by Israeli soldiers.

The Politics of Form While it is difficult to overstate the significance of the seemingly prophetic nature of its narrative (Nasrallah’s objections to the term notwithstanding), the formal properties of Al-Amwa¯j . . . are arguably no less significant. The text comprises 27 stories closely linked by a continuous narrative thread and populated by a recurring cast of characters. The cohesion of the individual stories comprising Al-Amwa¯j . . . has led Arabic literary critics to categorize the text as a novel while conceding that there is much ambiguity over how the text should be categorized. Further complicating any attempts at neat categorization is the fact that the stories in the text are peppered with poetry and songs, while the narrative itself frequently takes on the form of cinematographic direction, giving the text a filmic quality. Ultimately, therefore, Birzeit University scholars Issa Muhammad Abu Shamsiya and Mahmoud al-Atshaan assert that Al-Amwa¯j’s . . . ‘advanced artistic form does not stop at the boundaries of the traditional artistic structure of the novel as derived from events, characters, and temporal and spatial frameworks, but rather extends to benefit from techniques from other literary and artistic forms’. They go on to add that ‘this work is not a novel according to the technical definition of the novel. Rather, it is a melange of diverse art forms or of elements that set each individual art form apart. The narrative here is novelistic, the dialogue dramatic, the soul poetic, the soundscape musical and the language cinematographic’.22 All of this is packaged in the overall structure of a collection of individual short stories. Thus, Al-Amwa¯j . . . is at once a novel, a short story collection, poetry, song, and a screenplay. It is intermedial while at the same time

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transcending genre itself. Nasrallah himself makes clear that the structure and form of Al-Amwa¯j . . . is integral to its message, saying: Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya is a unique book, like the Intifada itself. Just as the Intifada was something different, so too must commentary on it, though [Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya ] preceded it, be different. And in reality, we cannot comment using conventional methods on that which is unconventional, that which was for many a surprising and novel turn of events. Therefore Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya is a story collection, a novel, an opera, and an unconventional film. Categorization here is unimportant. What is important, I think, is its transcendence of categorization, so to speak.23 This transcendence of genre or resistance to the narrow confines of categorization echoes the theme of transcending boundaries that permeates the text. The first six stories of the collection chronicle the stories’ protagonists crossing into the West Bank, and the treatment meted out to them by the Israeli authorities, personified in the character of Shlomo, who begins the collection as a border guard. The first page of the first story in the collection refers to the various borders and boundaries separating Palestinians from their land and one another as ‘unseen walls, collided into by all’.24 Just as the characters in the stories of Al-Amwa¯j . . . variously confront and overcome borders, checkpoints, curfews, prison and interrogation cells, barbed wire and the like, so too does the form and structure of Nasrallah’s text militate against any attempt to confine it to any single genre. Similarly, the interconnectedness of the individual stories within the collection, bound as they are by a common narrative thread and constantly referring to events in previous stories or yet to occur in future ones, challenges the confines of individual stories while also speaking to the theme of Palestinian unity so central to the text. Just as the intifada transcended the boundaries separating Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself, so too do the stories in Al-Amwa¯j . . . spill over the boundaries separating them; just as the characters in the collection unite in a mass uprising, so too do the individual stories in Al-Amwa¯j . . . coalesce into a unified whole, and are more powerful than the mere sum of their parts for having done so.

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Characterizing the Nation In crafting the characters of Al-Amwa¯j . . . Nasrallah does away with any pretence of depth or dimensionality. Instead, the characters are mere impressionistic sketches that stand in for the larger body politic. Abu Shamsia and al-Atshaan observe that: It can be said that the novel’s characters do not possess defined characteristics or unique identities, either in terms of their external descriptions or their internal worlds. Rather, they are in reality segments of humanity, either an elderly man, a child, an infant, a woman, a soldier, or a man. They are platforms or instruments with which to convey an idea or signification more so than being true characters.25 This is not meant as a critique of Nasrallah’s characterization, for this seems to have been a self-conscious strategy on the part of the author, who asserts that: In the confrontation between justice and strength, Palestinian characters here are not merely characters in the commonly understood sense. Here they are something different, they signify the source of justice and rights, and are therefore more reminiscent of a single bloc or a single character. The group of Palestinian characters here are symbolic.26 Among those characters is Umm Muhammad, the humble roadside fruit vendor who has lost all the men in her family to Israeli bullets but remains cheerful and defiant in the face of regular harassment by Israeli soldiers. There is also the youngster El-Bahary who confronts and confounds Israeli soldiers throughout the collection, but it is the elder El-Bahary (seemingly no relation to the youngster), whose name comes from the Arabic for ‘sailor’ or ‘mariner’, that is the most prominent of the characters in Al-Amwa¯j . . . though there seem to be multiple characters bearing the same name. Abu Shamsia and al-Atshaan argue that in creating multiple El-Baharies playing different roles but united in their purpose, Nasrallah seeks to create out of the character(s) ‘an objective correlative of all that is Palestinian in juxtaposition to Shlomo’.27 The singular purpose

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around which the Palestinian characters unite is resistance to Israeli occupation through various forms of civil disobedience, an expression of the much-lauded ethos of sumu¯d, or ‘steadfastness’. ˙ Shlomo and his comrades in arms, soldiers all, are, with the fleeting but significant exception of Shlomo’s father, the only Israeli characters encountered in Al-Amwa¯j . . . a reflection of Palestinians’ lived experience under Israeli military occupation.28 Significantly, while the Palestinian characters in the collection remain more or less unchanged throughout, Shlomo does not. Instead, Shlomo begins the collection filled with disdain and contempt for, and suspicion of, Palestinians wrought of a sense of haughty superiority and resentment for having been taken away from his home and forced to serve in the Israeli military’s occupation of the West Bank. Gradually, however, contempt turns to outright hatred, disdain into malice, and suspicion into full blown paranoia, all of which ultimately culminate in madness as time and again Shlomo finds himself undermined, disgraced, confounded and outwitted by the Palestinians who confront him. Shlomo’s frequent defeats seem to occur any time he encounters a Palestinian. One of the first such defeats of the collection occurs in ‘Liha¯dha¯ al-jundı¯ mahamma wa¯hida hiya al-qatl’ (‘This Soldier has Only ˙ ˙ a Single Duty: To Kill’). In this early story in the collection, Shlomo has seemingly been promoted from a border guard to an interrogator. Having previously encountered El-Bahary as a lowly border guard in the collection’s first story, Shlomo is filled with renewed confidence, arrogance even, as he bids El-Bahary to ‘sit comfortably . . . for you will not be leaving here again’. The cause for Shlomo’s self-assuredness is the availability of information on El-Bahary: We have everything today . . . all the information . . . your trips to Beirut . . . Damascus . . . Amman . . . your residence in Beirut . . . in al-Misaytaba at the end of Dawood Abu Shaqra street . . . on the third floor of the ‘Abu Hamid’ building, and your residence in Damascus behind the university . . . all these things are clear to us now . . . your communications . . . all your movements have been revealed to us.29 El-Bahary only smiles in response to Shlomo’s intimidation, eliciting a slap from the soldier that knocks El-Bahary out of his chair. ‘Is that

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all you’ve got’, inquires El-Bahary, unclear as to whether he is referring to Shlomo’s knowledge or strength. El-Bahary calmly seats himself once again: El-Bahary: ‘I suppose there’s no way out for me then . . . I must confess’. The Interrogator: ‘You said it yourself’. El-Bahary: ‘Very well then, I shall inform you of everything . . . you live on the fifth floor of the third building on Zion Street, Haifa. Your home is comprised of three rooms, and your bedroom overlooks the harbour. Your home has grey rugs and white walls’. (The interrogator becomes flustered . . . as though caught in a trap) El-Bahary continues: ‘The bed in the bedroom is made of bamboo cane . . . and your daughters’ beds are made of white wood and there’s a picture of Rambo in their room. Not Rambo the dog that your courts ruled a few days ago would serve in the “liberated territories”, no, the Rambo who scores impressive victories for America in Vietnam . . . on screen’. (The interrogator . . . taken aback by what he’s hearing . . . wideeyed with apparent foolishness . . . as if everything he had been prepared for is being killed in this moment) El-Bahary: ‘Your wife . . . yes, your wife, works at Bank Leumi and likes the colour green in all its shades . . . it reminds her of Graz in Austria, her home town’. (The interrogator crumples . . . he heads to the metal door screaming . . . he knocks on the door violently. The guard comes) Shlomo screams: ‘get me out of here quickly, quickly, come on!’ (El-Bahary laughs loudly and wipes away the line of blood flowing from his mouth)30 Readers had already been introduced to Rambo in ‘Ra¯mbu¯ fı¯ sufu¯f ˙ al-jaysh’ (‘Rambo in the Ranks of the Military’), a story that features many of the quintessential elements of a classic courtroom drama including cries from the gallery upon pronouncement of the death sentence. It is Rambo the dog who is sentenced to death for the crime of biting seven individuals over the previous year. However, despair is quickly followed by hope as the judge outlines the terms of a reprieve for Rambo through a compromise proposed by the Israeli Ministry of

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Health, which ‘announces its willingness to waive the death penalty against the dog, Rambo, as a public threat, if this dog joins one of the special units of the Israeli military operating in the ‘liberated territories’ where, in this case, his propensity to bite could be beneficial to society’.31 In this incident, Nasrallah presciently foreshadows the leniency with which Israeli courts would treat Israeli soldiers and settlers accused of crimes against Palestinians. Israeli soldiers and the armed Israeli settlers who often launched their own raids into Palestinian villages were free to act with impunity, aided by civilian judicial and military tribunal systems that seemed highly reticent to dispense guilty verdicts or punishments commensurate to the crime that had been committed. In March of 1989, four soldiers from the Givati Brigade who beat to death a Palestinian from the Jabaliya refugee camp were found guilty only of causing grievous bodily harm, rather than manslaughter, on the basis that the court could not definitively determine which of the four soldiers had delivered the fatal blow. Similarly, ‘Rabbi Moshe Levinger, a leader of militant settlers . . . was sentenced to five months imprisonment for killing a Palestinian shopkeeper in Hebron’. Levinger ultimately served only three months of his five month sentence, ‘on the grounds of his good behaviour and overcrowding of the prisons’.32 Returning to the interrogation scene in ‘Liha¯dha¯ al-jundı¯ . . .’ in a humorous subversion of expectations that is peppered throughout the collection, Shlomo’s smug self-satisfaction and confidence, predicated upon the certainty of his superiority as demonstrated by the wealth of information he possesses against El-Bahary, is brought crashing down, ultimately resulting in a complete reversal of roles. Having intended to intimidate and frighten El-Bahary with his vast, intimate knowledge about his whereabouts and goings-on, it is Shlomo himself who ultimately attempts to flee in terror, ‘as if everything he had been preparing for is being killed in this moment’. Shlomo subsequently re-enters the interrogation room, trembling in fear, behind two guards described in the text as ‘of that sort that seems as though they were placed on this earth for a single profession: killing’. El-Bahary is then submitted to two hours of beating and torture during which he is hung from the ceiling by his legs and loses consciousness. El-Bahary is eventually brought out of his stupor by the head of military intelligence for the area who quizzes El-Bahary on his association with

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armed factions and how he came to know so many intimate details about Shlomo’s home and life. Despite his recent savaging, and slowly regaining his strength and awareness that he has succeeded in instilling fear in Shlomo and the head of intelligence, El-Bahary explains simply: The whole matter is that I worked in Haifa four years ago, as have so many others. I was a builder and coincidentally painted the walls of officer Shlomo. When he began interrogating me, I remembered who he was. That’s all there is to it. That’s why I know what I do about him.33 The irony is thus complete. El-Bahary, the putative prisoner brought in for interrogation not only demonstrates his superiority over Shlomo, but moreover, for all his pretensions of omniscience, Shlomo fails to recognize the prisoner El-Bahary as the handyman who painted his home. Despite the infamous prowess of the Israeli intelligence-gathering apparatus, the clear disparity of power between Shlomo and El-Bahary (stand-ins for Israel and the Palestinian people respectively), and the merciless beating just visited upon El-Bahary, it is ultimately he who emerges victorious from the encounter. Shlomo is shaken by the gradually dawning recognition of El-Bahary and the realization of yet another humiliation at the hands of a Palestinian: he shudders like a yellowed leaf on the cusp of being swallowed by the autumn. His hands fall to his sides in an involuntary movement as though he had started to break down and he hangs his head forward . . . his face has gone dark . . . his strength seeps from his fingers . . . everything disappears as his face continues in its state.34 In the first lines of the next story Shlomo’s defeat is completed when, just outside El-Bahary’s cell, the head of intelligence tells Shlomo ‘you are of no use now . . . you’ll go back to the streets . . . to the patrols’.35 While El-Bahary may have outsmarted his interrogators, it seems he is detained nonetheless (significantly, no charges or accusations against him are ever specified), for we find him sitting in a cell singing defiantly in a subsequent story entitled ‘Simphu¯niyyat al-hudu¯ʾ yaqtaʿha¯ ʾawa¯ʾ al-dhiʾb’ (‘The Symphony of Tranquillity is Broken by the Howling of

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the Wolf’).36 Using cinematographic description, we are presented with the image of the prisoner singing defiantly throughout the night. El-Bahary then promises a fellow inmate that, upon his release in three months’ time, El-Bahary will take up residence in a nearby block of flats and continue to sing to his fellow prisoners. Here Nasrallah once again captures the strategies of defiance that constitute the essence of sumu¯d, ˙ or ‘steadfastness,’ that would be a hallmark of the Intifada. Moreover, Nasrallah presages the strategy of extensive detentions Israel would deploy in attempting to quell the Palestinian uprising. Whereas Israeli courts would demonstrate remarkable leniency in sentencing those Israeli soldiers and settlers accused of crimes against Palestinians, using prison overcrowding as a pretext for the early release of Rabbi Moshe Levinger, convicted of murder as mentioned above, the Israeli authorities did not let prison overcrowding deter them from mass arrests and lengthy detentions without due process of Palestinians. Instead, new prison complexes were built over the course of the Intifada to accommodate the approximately 70,000 Palestinians that would be arrested over the course of the first three years of the Intifada.37 This extraordinary incarceration rate was a result not only of the mass participation of Palestinians in activities that the Israeli authorities considered deserving of imprisonment but also due to the arbitrary nature of Israeli arrests. Due to the Intifada’s diffuse, rhizomatic nature from across Palestinian social and economic strata, the Israelis treated all those detained for participating in the Intifada as possible leaders, quickly filling existing prisons and requiring the construction of more, or converting schools into makeshift prisons. Ultimately: just as the Israeli army turned schools into jails, it is said that the prisoners turned the jails into schools of the intifada. Inside the overcrowded detention centers, prisoners banded together to exchange information about the events of the intifada, to maintain their familial and political connections with the outside, and to plan strategy for the future.38 Indeed, ironically, the Israeli prison system became a ‘political finishing school’ of sorts for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who passed through its cells. As Uri Nir and Dan Sagir wrote in Ha’aretz in April of 1989:

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The political consciousness of the young people who are released after a stay of several months is immeasurably higher than it was prior to detention. Their self-esteem rises, and they return to their homes as local heroes. In many cases they try to retroactively justify their detention, and perhaps also get revenge, as they renew protest activity with a vengeance. Many, who were detained for minor offences, like throwing stones, burning tyres and other ‘Intifada crimes’ emerge from imprisonment as leading activists. Thousands of these young people have been transformed into the locomotive that leads the train of the continuing Uprising.39 Recidivism was high among former prisoners, with ‘an estimated nine out of ten imprisoned men [becoming] involved in ‘hostile activities’ after their release’.40 To cope with the exponentially growing Palestinian prison population, Israel built the infamous Ansar prison camps, three in total. Ansar I was located in southern Lebanon (which Israel had occupied since its invasion of that country in 1982), Ansar II was in Gaza, and perhaps the most notorious of the three, Ansar III (dubbed ‘the camp of slow death’) was built in the alternatingly sun-scorched and bitterly cold Negev desert. The ambivalence wrought of the cruelty of the Israeli carceral system simultaneously combined with the fraternity and political education Palestinians often encountered whilst imprisoned is captured in Ibn Jabal’s, O Negev (Ansar III Prison Song): O Negev O Negev You must be desire You must be honor and exploration You must be a sword You must be a lesson One of the lessons of the Intifada O Negev O Negev They want you as a grave for us But we turned the grave into a flower And carried the sun as dawn No, no to the forms of oppression O Negev

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O Negev You must be desire You must be honor and exploration We sipped warmth as a glass of elixir And we loved the sand as a whisper We bore the night as a wedding A sovereign state O Negev O Negev We have built a fortress now Evidence of how great is our wound How many martyrs proclaimed: All hail All hail to martyrdom O Negev O Negev The children of the stones Set fire to the land Their voice brought a decision Its own leadership O Negev O Negev We are the voice of the people The sharpened sword of revolution We say no, no voice will sound Over the voice of the intifada O Negev O Negev You must be desire You must be honor and exploration You must be a sword You must be a lesson One of the lessons of the intifada41 Evident here is the Palestinians’ subversive re-purposing of those prison facilities that were meant to tame and pacify them. Indeed, Ibn Jabal’s poem is, ironically, an ode to the bleak prison set in the barrenness of the Negev desert. Far from quelling the Palestinians’ rebelliousness, Ansar III signifies ‘honor and exploration’. The searing heat of the desert is

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transmuted into ‘warmth as a glass of elixir’, while prisoners ‘loved the sand as a whisper’ rather than surrender to the oppressive monotony of the desert landscape. While Israeli gaolers ‘want you as a grave for us’, emblematic of the spirit of defiant sumu¯d, Palestinian prisoners ‘turned ˙ the grave into a flower’. Returning to Nasrallah’s text, in a later story we once again find El-Bahary detained and taken in for questioning in a building surrounded by ‘high barbed wire . . . as though set up to prevent the advance of an army of giants’.42 The interrogator, notably not Shlomo this time, is particularly interested in El-Bahary’s ʿoud, the Arab pearshaped lute widely regarded as an ancestor to the European guitar, which, as the reader knows from a promise made in a previous story, El-Bahary has been playing daily to entertain those detained in a prison adjacent to his flat. Provocatively, however, the interrogator asserts: ‘So this is the ʿoud then . . . aah . . . the ʿoud is a beautiful instrument, I believe it’s Jewish in origin’.43 El-Bahary remains silent in response to the interrogator’s provocations, as he does throughout the story as the interrogator attempts to bait El-Bahary. Clumsily the interrogator works his way up the musical scale (do, re, me, etc.), stopping at ‘la:’ The interrogator: I’m deeply resentful of ‘la’. You know, I don’t like it, I could open fire on it at any moment, or put a poisonous snake to its chest and say that ‘la’ was killed by predestination, then throw it into the sea. That would be logical. For, as you know, ‘la’ likes to be let loose, and after it exited from here – from us – it went up to a mountain and what happened, happened. Who could prove that we aren’t telling the truth? These are, of course, veiled threats being made towards El-Bahary. What is significant, however, and what is lost in translation, is that ‘la’ is a homophone for the Arabic word for ‘no’. ‘La’, therefore, signifies defiance, intransigence, and the unwillingness to heed commands, exemplars of El-Bahary himself – and by symbolic extension, the wider Palestinian body politic. But apart from being a thorn in the side of the Israeli military authorities, there is a greater threat posed by El-Bahary and ‘la’s’ form of intransigence: contagion. As the interrogator says to El-Bahary:

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Strange, ‘la’s’ ill manners have spread to the rest of the notes. This makes matters very difficult for me, you see? I dislike cruelty, but I am driven to it. (He turns the ʿoud . . . shakes it) I know the notes will fall out now (he shakes the ʿoud a second time, and a third and a fourth . . . he looks at the table top). Nothing! Listen, if any of them fall out, tell me quickly. El-Bahary . . . (The interrogator returns to shaking the ʿoud again) I told you that ‘la’s’ ill manners have spread to the rest of the notes. I’m forced now to take it out by force. (He raises the hand holding the ʿoud . . . smashes it into the ground . . . an explosion).44 The interrogator forbids El-Bahary from leaving the town for six months, requiring him to check in with the authorities twice a day to prove his presence while also forbidding him from singing or participating in any concert or celebration within the city limits. Any breach of these restrictions, the interrogator assures El-Bahary, will result in the latter being returned to prison. El-Bahary maintains his silence in the face of the interrogator. However, it seems it is too late, the contagion of defiance has silently, surreptitiously spread. As El-Bahary sits in silence: The sound . . . in unison . . . crosses the barbed wire . . . the scowl of the interrogation cell . . . the military governor’s window fortified by death . . . and ascends . . . gradually turning into a loud anthem . . . the interrogator shakes . . . he runs towards the door and opens it . . . he expects an explosion of protest in the face of the tranquillity of his decisions . . . People cross the streets . . . the usual daily noises . . . yet the sound still comes . . . loudly . . . the interrogator scrutinizes their faces . . . their stature . . . the movement of their lips . . . yet the song resonating from between their ribs continues . . . and the singing continues . . . ‘The footsteps of light, I hear them in my blood’. (Complete despair spreads over the interrogator’s face).45

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Thus, this encounter between El-Bahary and the Israeli military authorities ends, like all other such encounters in the collection, with the authorities’ defeat.

A Comedy of T/Errors Despite the bleak subject matter taken up by the stories, and notwithstanding the graphic violence often depicted therein, there is a distinctly wry tone that permeates Nasrallah’s collection, occasionally reaching the point of outright hilarity. The use of humour in such a manner is powerfully subversive, used both to demonstrate Palestinian resilience, the haplessness of Israeli military rule, and the grim absurdity of life under occupation. Tellingly, moments of absurdist humour most often tend to occur at points of interaction between Israelis and the Palestinians they are occupying. At times, these dark ironies cross well into the realm of farce, as in the sign posted at the border post through which Palestinians are crossing into the West Bank that reads: ‘Dear honoured visitor! In case of complaints, please inform a bridge officer’, before ‘warmly welcoming arrivees to the land of Israel.’46 In another story, armed Israeli settlers drive through the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron tossing fliers out of the window of their jeep: The statement was a message directed at Palestinians. Its right side was occupied by the Hebrew text and the left the Arabic text, between which was an outline of a heart indicating love. The statement read: ‘On the occasion of the nearing of celebrations of forty years since the establishment of Israel, we invite Arabs in the West Bank to donate in benefit of the Israel Defence Forces. Our goals are as follows: . .

To obtain first aid kits and establish medical organizations dedicated to treating Israeli soldiers To obtain educational and cultural materials for Israeli soldiers who were not able to do so prior to enlisting in the military

We hope this encounter will be met by a personal response. Signed, The Levi Fund for the Security of Israel’.47

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From the absurd to the surreal, throughout the collection an exchange between Shlomo and the younger and elder El-Bahary is repeated time and again: The Soldier: ‘Didn’t I kill you at a protest two years ago at the Dahshiyeh refugee camp?’ El-Bahary: ‘I think you did in fact kill me, but not in Dahshiyeh. It was a long time before then’. The Soldier: ‘Where?’ El-Bahary: ‘In Kafr Qassem’. The Soldier: ‘But . . . but I wasn’t there’. El-Bahary: ‘Strange, you resemble him quite a bit, but 2 million are made in the same likeness!’48 And elsewhere: ‘Shlomo scrutinizes the youngster: “Didn’t I kill you once in Ballata Camp?” The young Bahary laughs: “No ya khawa¯ja, I’m from Deir Yassin.”’49 The term ‘khawa¯ja’ is used colloquially in the Arabic-speaking world as an honorific or term of respect for foreigners, namely white Europeans. The youngster here uses it as a double irony, first in identifying the Israeli soldier as a foreigner and descendant of white European settlers, and second, sarcastically as a term of respect. On the significance of the repetition of this scene in the collection, Nasrallah avers: The Israeli problem, as commented on by [Al-Amwa¯j albarriyya ], is that they are unable to achieve a resolution, despite their victories in all the battles that they waged against the Palestinian people and the Arab world. He who they killed yesterday, they find waiting for them after years in another challenge or in another confrontation. There is no dilemma for any occupying power greater or more difficult than the dilemma of failing to achieve a definitive victory because it will continue to pursue victories in search of that final triumph until it is ultimately defeated.50 The re-appearance of Palestinians previously killed in encounters with Israeli soldiers and the subsequent exchanges between them brings to mind Karl Marx’s famous addendum to Hegel’s assertion of

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history occurring twice, to which Marx adds: ‘the first as tragedy, the second as farce’.51 As with the use of humour throughout the collection, however, farce here contains profoundly subversive potential. It simultaneously highlights the futility of Israeli policies and actions whilst re-affirming Palestinian steadfastness and tenacity in the face of violence. The casual light-heartedness with which the Palestinians involved in these exchanges respond imbues the killing of Palestinians with a quotidian mundanity, highlighting the frequency and regularity of such killings, underscored further by the seeming interchangeability of the Palestinian camps of Dahshiyeh and Ballata in the West Bank, and the towns Deir Yassin and of Kafr Qassem in present-day Israel. The latter two towns were the scenes of infamous massacres of Palestinians in 1948 and 1956 respectively. Nasrallah thus constructs a line of continuity from the massacres and killings of Palestinians in 1948 through to the present. The Palestinians involved in the exchange seem far more concerned about clarifying the time and place of their killing, than the inherent paradox of having been previously killed by the soldier with whom they are now speaking. Shlomo, meanwhile, is typically confounded.

‘An Infant . . . an Alert’: The Spectre of the Palestinian Child The confrontations of Al-Amwa¯j . . . are not the epic armed battles seen in the works of Azzam and Kanafani that inevitably resulted in Palestinian defeat, nor do they refer back to any previous romanticized era in Palestinian history. Rather, the confrontations taking place are part of the daily reality of Palestinian life under occupation contemporaneous to the time at which Nasrallah is writing. In other words, Nasrallah does not reach back into Palestinian history, retroactively imbuing it with glory, as does Kanafani in ʾAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq, for instance. It is, rather, a portentous portrayal of present struggles and a future mass uprising that would unite Palestinians in the disparate towns and villages of the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel itself. In these confrontations, the occupying Israeli military is, on the one hand, depicted as ubiquitous, ruthless, violent and threatening, while on the other hand incompetent, hapless, fearful, and at a loss as to how to control the increasingly restive Palestinian population.

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The haplessness and fear of the Israeli authorities, prevalent throughout the collection, is aptly demonstrated in the story ‘Mukhayyam jalzu¯n’, where the confrontation between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians becomes a matter of child’s play in the most literal sense. The story takes place near the camp of Jalazone, at an Israeli observation post overlooking a road, manned by the now-disgraced Shlomo and a fellow soldier. Jalazone is described in the story’s opening as follows: Jalazone camp . . . a space eternally ready for a wedding or a demonstration . . . apparent . . . concealed . . . a soldier cannot know its secret, [it] always devises new methods for hidden clarity . . . the sight of a rifle cannot cover its expanse . . . [the camp] always creates new windows for a clear unknown that shakes the confidence of the generals.52 The conflation of weddings and demonstrations at first appears to be little more than a jarring paradox, further emphasized by the contradictory description of the camp as simultaneously ‘apparent . . . concealed’. As Abdelwahab Elmessiri observes, however, ‘wedding festivities apparently occupy a special place in the Palestinian imagination, for after the occupation of 1948, these festivities became one of the principal means by which the Palestinians expressed their national sentiment’.53 Thus, while on one level ‘wedding’ and ‘demonstration’ may connote paradox, on another they serve a mutually reinforcing function. Continuing the theme of paradox and self-contradiction, the story’s outset establishes a sense of both foreboding tension and lackadaisical insouciance as the soldiers sit, both apprehensive and bored, watching lovers embrace (‘Only to produce another devil in nine months’ time’), traffic passing by, and cursing their lot.54 Reminding the reader of his previous humiliation at the hands of El-Bahary, Shlomo fondly recalls, ‘I remember the days I worked as an interrogator . . . the prey would come to me already prepared . . . and all that was left for me was to devour its flesh as I please’, before ‘he recalled the cause for his being returned to the streets . . . his face darkened and his body tensed’.55 The two soldiers speculate on whether a difference exists between the ‘children of the RPG’, the armed youths confronted by Israel during its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the atfa¯l al-hija¯ra, or ‘children of ˙ ˙

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the stones’, the rock wielding youths and children who would subsequently become an iconic aspect of the First Intifada, putting into stark relief the disparity in power between Israeli military might and the Palestinians: The Soldier . . . ‘Do you think the children of the stones differ from the children of the RPG?’ Shlomo: ‘I think so’. The other: ‘But I say there’s no distance separating mortars and stones so long as the anxiety dwells within you, [making you] always ready to madly open fire [. . .] (silence) you know, it’s a relative question (silence) there you’re inside a tank, so it’s natural that you’d confront a shell [. . .] and here [. . .] you’re bare [. . .] and there are stones’.56 Presently, the observation post is pelted by stones from an unseen source, prompting the two soldiers to investigate. Finding no one nearby, the soldiers return to their post and resume their conversation as traffic ambles by in front of their position. Soon a military vehicle carrying the military governor of the area passes before suddenly coming to a screeching halt. Furiously, the governor emerges from the car to inquire what a Palestinian flag is doing fluttering above the two soldiers’ observation post where the Israeli flag should be. The narrative then abruptly cuts back to the rock-throwing episode from the perspective of a group of children, two of whom draw the soldiers away with the stones while another pair steal into the observation post and replace the Israeli flag with a Palestinian one. The episode is typical among the stories in Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya using humour and the disparity of power between Israel and the Palestinians to lay bare the nature of Israeli occupation and the corresponding Palestinian resistance to it. It is also the culmination of the ascent of the Palestinian child as the symbol of resistance traced throughout this book so far. Recall Chapter 1’s discussion of Samira Azzam’s ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’ (‘On the Way to ˙ Solomon’s Pools’,), in which Hasan, the village defender, perceives his futile resistance to the Zionist onslaught as ‘nothing more than a little boy’s game’. In ‘Mukhayyam Jalzu¯n’, Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is quite literally a little boy’s game, albeit one that effectively undermines Israeli authority.

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As in ‘Mukhayyam Jalzu¯n’, children figure prominently throughout depictions of confrontation and resistance in Al-Amwa¯j . . . The soldiers fear the ‘devil’ that will emerge from the embracing lovers in nine months while it is children who dupe the Israeli soldiers into abandoning their post, allowing the children to replace the Israeli flag with a Palestinian one. In one of the first stories of the collection, ‘Huna¯k radı¯ʾ . . . huna¯k istinfa¯r’ (‘An Infant . . . An Alert’,) one of those ˙ same children first appears as an infant carried across the border by his mother. Even at that tender age, however, his future mischief and defiance is foreshadowed as he sets off the border crossing’s metal detector. Having removed all metal objects from her body, the mother passes through the metal detector alone and silence prevails, causing the female border guard tasked with searching the mother to inwardly speculate, ‘maybe the woman hid weapons inside its clothes . . . but can possibly be hidden in the clothes of an infant? Here she suddenly shuddered . . . and yet maybe . . . maybe this child is itself the weapon of this woman.’57 Finally, the border guard carries the child into a room for closer inspection ‘as though she held between her hands a time bomb ready to explode at any moment’.58 Of course, the infant is a time bomb of sorts, knowing nothing other than Israeli military occupation from birth and growing up under the daily hardships, humiliations, and abuses that entails. As one of the songs that form part of the narrative goes: ‘Here, youth is a dangerous title / And childhood is dangerous/And so too are mothers’ dresses / And their wombs are stuffed with danger’.59 As mentioned above, children, their role in the Intifada, and its effects upon them, became the focus of much scholarly inquiry in the years immediately following the outbreak of the Intifada. Perhaps the most iconic and enduring image of the Palestinian Intifada is that of the kuffiyeh-clad, stone-throwing Palestinian youths (the atfa¯l ˙ al-hija¯ra, ‘children of the stones’) that would become the iconic ˙ symbol of the asymmetry of power between the Palestinians and their Israeli occupiers. The ‘children of the stones’ also served to highlight the disparity between the Palestinian old guard and the emerging Palestinian youth, most of whom, by 1987, had never known anything other than exile or Israeli occupation. Nizar Qabbani’s poem, ‘Children Bearing Rocks’ perfectly captures this sentiment:

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Children Bearing Rocks With stones in their hands, they defy the world and come to us like good tidings. They burst with anger and love, and they fall while we remain a herd of polar bears: a body armoured against weather. Like mussels we sit in cafes one hunts for a business venture one for another billion and a fourth wife and breasts polished by civilization. One talks of London for a lofty mansion one traffics in arms one seeks revenge in nightclubs one plots for a throne, a private army, and a princedom. Ah, generation of betrayal, of surrogate and indecent men, generation of leftovers we’ll be swept awaynever mind the slow pace of historyby children bearing rocks.60 Written on 18 December, 1987, a mere ten days after the start of the Intifada, it depicts the shame and loathing felt for the older generation, idly sitting in cafes interested primarily in accumulating wealth or wives, whilst simultaneously voicing the hope that this new generation of Palestinian youths directly confronting Israeli occupation will become the new vanguard of the Palestinian national movement. This theme of generational critique, simultaneously chastising elders while celebrating the younger, is one which should by now be familiar, having already been glimpsed in Samira Azzam, Ghassan Kanafani, and Liana Badr. Qabbani’s poem also extends the sentiment of disenchantment with the ‘revolutionary vanguard’ which began to be witnessed in Yahya Yakhlif’s alternatingly sardonic and

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horrific depictions of the Palestinians’ involvement in the Lebanese Civil War, dubbing them a ‘generation of betrayal / of surrogate and indecent men / generation of leftovers’. The poem’s speaker includes himself among this generation, concluding that ‘we’ll be swept away / by children bearing rocks’. Here again the disparity between the masculine pretences of the male old guard, performing masculinity through the ‘hunt for a fourth wife’, and the tangible acts of resistance performed by the younger generation is laid bare. Peter Boullata’s poem, ‘Intifada’, strikes a similar chord: Intifada the land of Palestine shook until the very stones loosened and were gathered up by you as other children, innocent, have picked flowers your rocks blossomed blood-red against a conspiracy of years of having your every breath, heartbeat observed constrained until you could not breathe, every gasp a battle the way you suffocate under a veil of tear gas, chambers of death your own homes, streets, gardens you said you have had enough and started an earthquake drawing down a shower of hailstones against a sinful nation the occupation officers have hit a stone, been struck by the steadfast hardness of a people willing to die on their feet rather than live on their knees

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you love your lives enough to struggle against the constraints bound, as you have been all your lives you are loosening the bonds now casting off what has kept you down you are bound for glory shaking, shaking until you are free61 The lionization of Palestinian youths is in many ways a continuation of a pattern that should by now be familiar: a period of despair is ruptured by a seminal event leading to renewed hope for deliverance which, when it fails to materialize, leads once again to despair, subsequently interrupted by another seminal event, and so on.62 But the image of the Palestinian youth specifically within the context of the Intifada also served a function that differed markedly from previous invocations of the revolutionary Palestinian youngster as seen in, for instance, Kanafani’s Mansur stories. Besides serving as a foil to the ineffectual older generation, the Palestinian youth, armed only with a slingshot and stones, also served as a foil to heavily armed Israeli soldiers and their armoured vehicles. In doing so, the image of an Israeli David scoring unlikely, indeed, nearly miraculous victories against the Arab/Palestinian Goliath, so popular in the west, was inverted.63 It was now the Palestinians, embodied in the ‘children of the stones’, who played the role of David confronting an Israeli Goliath. Nasrallah deploys the image of the Palestinian child posing a putatively existential threat to the state of Israel to underscore the disparity of power between the opposing sides and the irony of Israel’s apparent visceral fear of Palestinian children, a fear that recalls the observation of the unnamed narrator in the Hebrew author, S. Yizhar’s Khirbet Khizeh upon seeing a boy and his mother being forced into exile: ‘something was happening in the heart of the boy, something that, when he grew up, could only become a viper inside him’.64

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There is an obvious comedic element to the well-armed soldiers’ absurdly overblown fears of the infant in ‘Huna¯k radı¯ʾ . . . huna¯k ˙ istinfa¯r’, and of children in general throughout the collection. The numerous foibles and humiliations of the Israeli occupying forces cumulatively create the impression of a fragile and insecure state, helpless, despite its formidable military might, in the face of mischievous children, uncooperative elderly women, and other intransigent Palestinians. The text makes a point of highlighting the fact that the walls Israelis have built to protect themselves have in fact turned the Israelis themselves into prisoners. An exchange between ElBahary and another man in the story ‘Al-Nawa¯fidh tarwı¯ al-hika¯ya¯t’ ˙ goes as follows: The Man: ‘Have you noticed that our windows here are wide . . . as if to allow in the sun in its entirety . . . despite all these rifles at the ready behind the wires . . . have you noticed that their windows are extremely narrow . . . as if they’re the slits of an old fortress rising from the corpse of a memory?’ El-Bahary: ‘Perhaps we feel greater reassurance . . . despite everything’. The Man: ‘Have you noticed that their colonies sit behind a corrugated fence, as if they’re erecting a prison around themselves?’65 The overall perceived fragility of the Israeli state is illustrated through the paranoia of security measures in ‘Dawla fı¯ ha¯dina bla¯stikiyya’ (‘A State in ˙ ˙ a Plastic Incubator’) which likens Israel to a prematurely born child requiring constant vigilance in an incubator lest it be destroyed. At one point, the same young mother from ‘Huna¯k radı¯ ʾ . . . huna¯k istinfa¯r’ tells ˙ her infant child ‘it’s as though their state lives in an intensive care unit, surrounded by all these machines . . . they fear that if one of them breaks down, it’ll die. Or perhaps it resembles a plastic incubator for premature babies’.66 The story takes place at a checkpoint wherein safety checks takes on a surreal, absurd dimension, as individual articles of clothes are inspected for guilt or innocence: A new battle being waged by the soldiers, this time with clothing. They toss about all the clothing and shake them out one article at a

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time. Then, each item of clothing is thrust at its owner once the soldier is assured of its innocence: an innocent shirt, innocent socks, undergarments, shoes. Books, meanwhile, are singled out for particular scrutiny: Books gathered piled up over there to undergo an electronic inspection process wherein lines are combed for mines and letters are torn off their white background to see what lurks behind them.67 This is a far cry from the depiction of the confident, all-powerful, and mighty foe portrayed in most of the texts examined hitherto. Nasrallah’s Israel is, despite its formidable military prowess and extensive intelligence-gathering, paranoid and helpless, ultimately unable to control the Palestinians under its occupation, whose infants it fears as an existential threat. It incarcerates Palestinians on a whim, or employs collective punishment measures on entire towns, and yet Nasrallah’s Palestinians through stubbornness and sumu¯d, lead their lives, sing ˙ songs, and hold celebrations, while taking any opportunity to undermine Israeli authority over them. When the Israeli military does attempt to exercise its authority, it frequently finds itself thwarted, as in the stories ‘Nablus wa-waqt ˙ al-shams’ (‘Nablus and the Time of Sunlight’) and ‘Shlu¯mu¯ yashhar sila¯hu wa-Rambo anya¯bu’ (‘Shlomo Bears his Weapon and Rambo his ˙ Fangs’). The first story sees an Israeli military patrol, including Shlomo and Rambo, marking with an ‘X’ those stores which have heeded a call for a strike. The reader learns that the strike was not well-advertised, resulting in relatively few shops shutting down, exposing those shopkeepers to punishment. Those who have opened for business are unable to shut down their shops in plain view of the military authorities lest they also expose themselves to punishment, so they simply turn away customers while keeping their shops open. As night descends, and all shops have closed, a group of Palestinians, seeking to remedy the error of not advertising the strike more widely and wishing to spare punishment to those few shopkeepers who heeded the call, undertake to paint ‘X’ on all the shops in the town. In the following story, ‘Shlu¯mu¯ yashhar sila¯hu wa Rambo anya¯bu’ the ˙ military governor has returned to the town the following day to

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dispense punishment to the offending shopkeepers only to discover all shops marked with an ‘X’. Once again defeated by wily Palestinian ingenuity, as the Israeli authorities are time and again throughout the collection, and furious at being unable to determine who the offending shopkeepers are, the governor determines to punish the whole of Nablus.

The Intifada Erupts These draconian measures wrought of paranoia and a siege mentality accumulate throughout Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya, gradually building up tension, as rapid literary rough-cuts to yet-to-occur explosions, mass demonstrations, and soldiers opening fire on civilians throughout the text give a sense of inevitability to the future uprising, mirroring, perhaps, Nasrallah’s own palpable sense of the impending Intifada. Song, which has been a recurrent theme throughout the text, plays a crucial role here as the camp gathers to hear El-Bahary sing for the first time following his six months of silence as ordered by the military governor. Song has, throughout the collection, been a force of unity and defiance, as demonstrated in the song that brought utter despair to the military governor’s face after he smashed El-Bahary’s ʿoud. On the prominence and significance of the songs, written out in full, throughout the text, Nasrallah states that: Songs were a fundamental part of Palestinian national life, and in revolutions [songs] move to the fore and occupies a wide space, becoming an act and not just rhetoric, because they are a third hand here. As for their importance to the narrative, [songs] move it toward a celebration of an image of humanity.68 This concomitance of unity and defiance culminating in celebration wrought of song is captured in the opening paragraph of ‘Al-Suʾu¯d ila¯ ˙ al-Jalı¯l’ (‘Going up to the Galilee’): Scattered light . . . the shadows of tall mountains . . . all of this indicates a sun that fills the world with wheat . . . the voice of the singer emerges from the depths of the melodious soul . . . it traverses the distances between towns gathering all the kindness

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it encounters . . . gathering the trees and birds and vegetation between the cracks of boulders, and the thyme of the mountains . . . the voice passes Ramallah, Jerusalem, Nablus, Jabaliya, Tulkarm, and Jenin, it ascends to Nazareth . . . Acre . . . the summits of the Galilee, and the greenness of Mount Carmel that bends towards blueness of waves. And the sound passes Taybeh. Everytime it passes a tree, the tree follows in its wake. Here, the geography of nearly the whole of Palestine is evoked, consumed by El-Bahary’s song. The song transcends the checkpoints and borders that crisscross and separate the disparate Palestinian towns and villages, uniting them into a single cohesive entity. Nadia Yaqub has documented the nature of the Palestinian oral poetry duel performed at weddings, in which similar recitation of Palestinian village names is common. She observes that ‘the listing of Palestinian place names in the poetry duels carries a special significance, reminding wedding participants of the Palestinian character of the region, of local Palestinian history, and of their own legitimacy as Palestinian residents on the land’,69 continuing: The space created in the poetry is not merely a Palestinian one, but one most intimately tied to their concepts of home, family and belonging. The area defined by a given performance is usually relatively small (for example, the north-central Galilee). However, it is not uncommon for poets to mention other regions (the Negev, the Triangle, the West Bank and Gaza) in a clear attempt to extend the boundaries of the Arab Palestinian space created in the performance to include all of historical Palestine. At least some poets, then, seem to be aware of the political significance of their practice, even as they avoid direct references to Palestinian nationalist sentiments.70 A similar dynamic can be clearly seen at work in Nasrallah’s text, wherein the evocation of village and town names the length and breadth of historic Palestine simultaneously create a sense of unity while laying claim to the land. Moreover, in reproducing such a prominent aspect of traditional Palestinian wedding celebrations, Nasrallah is once again equating, tacitly this time, the idea of the

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wedding and celebration with resistance, as previously seen in ‘Mukhayyam jalzu¯n’. In the episode that finally sparks the much alluded-to mass uprising, it is also song that transports El-Bahary to the seashore, as his name has predestined him to do, and a final encounter with Shlomo: At this moment, El-Bahary is propelled towards the waves that wash over him . . . to sweep over the prison . . . to appear increasingly delicate the closer he gets to them . . . he rushes, he runs . . . and suddenly, Shlomo stands in front of him bearing his weapon, blocking El-Bahary’s way to the waves. Bullets in the direction of El-Bahary . . . Many sailors [literally: many Baharies] emerge from Jabaliya camp . . . bloodlust rises in Shlomo . . . now he can reap them all. Suddenly, sailors [Baharies] appear in a demonstration behind him . . . from Ballata camp . . . and three from Umm el-Fahm . . . and four from Nazareth. Shlomo loses his nerve . . . suddenly he throws down his weapon and begins to cry. The sailors [Baharies] advance from all directions.71 These are the closing lines to ‘ʿIna¯q al-mawja’ (‘The Wave’s Embrace’). The story immediately following, ‘Mada¯ al-Miqla¯ʿ’ (‘The Range of the Slingshot’), is little more than a series of bullet points outlining numerous simultaneous scenes, some prosaic, such as a woman hanging out laundry, or a street vendor handing candy to a young girl, others dramatic, such as a soldier being stabbed, a military vehicle set ablaze. We know the soldier is Shlomo and the jeep is that of the military governor from scenes already shown in snippets in flash-forwards earlier in the text. Meanwhile, loudspeakers are announcing a curfew throughout Palestinian areas: . .

The loudspeakers . . . ‘All who leave their homes will be subject to the utmost punishment’ Inside the homes . . . everyone thinks that if they leave they’ll be the only ones in the street . . . then we see anxious movements of people

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more reminiscent of birds beating their wings against cages [. . .] A sound comes from outside . . . the sound of angry waves beckoning people to come outside as a runaway horse passes through the streets filled with soldiers like wraiths Doors crack open . . . windows . . . heads peek out onto the long street . . . we see Umm Muhammad, El-Bahary, the young El-Bahary’s mother, the young El-Bahary, the master of ceremonies . . . faces multiply Suddenly now people are face to face . . . and the street is a mixture of many streets of occupied towns

.

. . . . . . . . . . .

The people rush out of their homes and to the roofs . . . in a single motion, scenes from Nazareth . . . Akka . . . the Galilee . . . Jerusalem . . . Nablus . . . Ballata, Hebron . . . Jalazone, the scenes are intercut to give the chants emanating from all a sacred majesty Soldiers surge forth in their military and civilian cars . . . incendiary scenes Bloody clashes in Ballata . . . martyrs . . . wounded . . . bullets Retreat . . . gunfire directly into the chests of protesters A sniper blows off the head of a youth carrying the Palestinian flag . . . and the protest advances Firebombs at the American consulate in Jerusalem The storming of a hospital . . . arrests . . . a Palestinian youth hurls a tear gas canister in the direction of the Israelis Palestinian flags atop telephone and electricity poles Successive patrols, day and night . . . and the earth is aflame A new offensive by Zionist forces Helicopters launch tear gas . . . and live ammunition in the direction of the protesters One of the protesters aims his slingshot at the helicopter.72

This is the climax to which the stories that comprise Al-Amwa¯j . . . have steadily been building. Having meditated on the Palestinian spirit of resistance variously through quiet dignity, humour and direct confrontation with Israelis, as well as the theme of a gradually building unity wrought of repression among Palestinians through song, the evocation of village and town names, the eruption of a unified

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Palestinian resistance movement finally comes to fruition. Once again, the various towns of historic Palestine are invoked, while their residents are depicted emerging onto the streets in protest, evoking a unified body politic and consciousness moving in unison. The final image of the collection is that of Israeli soldiers, airplanes, and tanks mobilizing in order to achieve that ‘definitive triumph’ against the Palestinians that has, despite all of Israel’s strengths and victories, thus far proven so elusive, and which, Nasrallah maintains, will prove to be its ultimate undoing.

Women, Exile and the Intifada in Liana Badr’s Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ ˙ Whereas Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya demonstrates an allconsuming preoccupation with the Palestinian Intifada yet to occur, Liana Badr’s Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ (1991, A Golden Hell) appears to studiously ˙ avoid mention of the ongoing uprising altogether. Where mention of the Intifada is made, it is fleeting and at a remove. Far from indicating a lack of concern, the Intifada’s conspicuous absence in Badr’s Jahı¯m dhahabı¯, ˙ like the conspicuous absence of the Nakba in all but the latest of Samira Azzam’s writings, serves to italicize the predicament of exile as Badr’s almost exclusively female protagonists struggle to cope with successive displacements, able only to view at a distance the momentous events occurring in their Palestinian homeland. This serves two important functions in the context of the Intifada that shall be elaborated below. First, it re-directs attention that had come to focus heavily on Palestinians and the uprising in the territory of historic Palestine back onto diasporic Palestinians exiled outside their historic homeland and cut off from the events taking place there. Second, it expands the dilemma of exile, hitherto largely depicted in masculinist terms, to encompass women as well. While the following discussion will focus primarily upon Badr’s short story collection, it is instructive to occasionally contrast it with Sahar Khalifeh’s novel, Ba¯b al-sa¯ha (1990, The Doorway to the Courtyard) ˙ published a year prior to Badr’s collection.73 Whereas Badr writes at a remove, from Tunisia, Khalifeh writes from Nablus, in the West Bank, to which she moved in 1988; a firsthand witness to the Intifada and its impact upon Palestinians there. The result is a work that in many ways

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differs starkly from Badr’s in terms of the centrality and presence of the Intifada in the novel, which revolves around the residents of a small West Bank neighbourhood struggling to cope with and pose resistance to Israeli occupation and the curfews and closures imposed in an attempt to quell the Palestinian uprising. Where Badr scarcely mentions the Intifada at all, in Khalifeh’s work the Intifada forms the backdrop and catalyst for all the action that occurs in the novel. Notwithstanding this crucial difference, however, both Badr and Khalifeh strike many of the same thematic chords, with women’s issues at the core of both works. As we have seen, Badr’s earlier short story, ‘Ana Urı¯d al-naha¯r’, was marked by a high modernist narrative producing an atmosphere of oppressive, claustrophobic interiority that Badr used to launch a ringing indictment of Palestinian nationalist patriarchy, the circumscription of women’s public roles, and the restrictions imposed upon women by social mores. In stark contrast, the stories that comprise Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ ˙ are pervaded by a diametrically opposed sense of exilic agoraphobia as Badr’s characters find themselves bewildered by an unfamiliar environment understood to be Tunisia. Tunisia is significant in this regard because it was to there that large numbers of Palestinians were expelled from Beirut in 1982 following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Proximity to the Palestinian homeland therefore takes on tacit importance. Lebanon, just across the border from Palestine, is nostalgically recalled at several moments in stories throughout the collection. This despite, at times even because of, the savage civil war raging in that country. For even though Lebanon was not, indeed could not be, ‘home’ for the Palestinians in any meaningful sense (restrictions placed upon Palestinians, such as extensive exclusions in employment ensured this), Beirut had nonetheless come to hold an almost spiritual significance for Palestinians, and Arabs more broadly. As Edward Said notes, however, as a result of the Lebanese Civil War, ‘Beirut was destroyed as the intellectual and political nerve center of Arab life; for us, it was the end of our only important, relatively independent center of Palestinian nationalism, with the Palestinian Liberation Organization at its heart.’74 By contrast to Lebanon, then, Tunisia is portrayed by Badr as alien, its landscape unfamiliar, its darı¯ja Arabic dialect either absent altogether (replaced by the colonizer’s French) or utterly incomprehensible. Whereas previous texts we have explored have uncompromisingly regarded Palestine as the beloved homeland to which

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all Palestinians ardently wish to return, Badr complicates this narrative through her nostalgic longing for Beirut. Far from Badr signalling a relinquishing of the desire and right to one day return to Palestine, Therese Saliba remarks that ‘Badr constructs Palestinian diasporan experience as a map of discontinuous locations, wherein first Jordan and then Beirut come to represent “a piece of home,” in contrast to Palestine, which remains a country “beyond reach.”’75 ‘“Return,”’ writes Saliba, therefore ‘is multiply configured as a return to Palestine, which represents the pure homeland and place of security, return to the innocence and comfort of an untroubled past, or even return to the contaminated diasporic location (Beirut, Jordan, or the camps), which represents, at least, a “piece of home.”’76 Differentiating between ‘return’ (e.g. to Beirut, Jordan, etc.) and ‘al-awda’, the Arabic for ‘the return’ that has taken on almost metaphysical connotations in the Palestinian context and always understood to mean ‘the return’ to Palestine specifically, Saliba writes: ‘Al-Awda (The return) figures prominently in Badr’s stories as a tortured dream, emerging against the backdrop of banished nightmares of exile, massacres, and war.’77 Formally too, Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ signals a departure from ‘Ana¯ urı¯d ˙ al-naha¯r’, deploying a far more conventional, realistic narrative than the highly abstract modernism of Badr’s previous work. Significantly, Sahar Khalifeh also retreats from modernist devices and narrative during the same period in Ba¯b al-sa¯ha. Like Badr’s ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’, published ˙ in 1985, Khalifeh’s 1986 novel, Mudhakkara¯t imraʾa ghayr wa¯qiʿiyya (Memoirs of an Unrealistic Woman), also employed a high modernist, stream of consciousness, interior narrative that served to forcefully critique patriarchal Palestinian society and social customs.78 Interestingly, just as both female authors adopted modernism in works published in the mid-eighties to explicate female (and feminist) social challenges, so too do both authors, by the early 1990s, abandon it in favour of far more conventional, realistic narratives. The significance of these formal shifts is not entirely clear, although the coincidence of both feminist authors following so similar a trajectory is difficult to ignore. It may be that by the early 1990s the discussion surrounding literary form had become, by no means less political, but perhaps less contentious. The previous dogmas and pressures that led in the 1950s to a consensus surrounding realism as a vehicle for politically committed literary expression (as seen in Chapter 1), also prompted the reactions

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against it and the subsequent experimentalism that followed committed realism’s loss of legitimacy. It may be that by the 1990s, Badr and Khalifeh had concluded that modernism’s subversive potential that formed a core component of its ability to castigate social patriarchy and misogyny had largely been exhausted. On the other hand, just as the post-1967 crisis prompted Kanafani to adopt more realistic, didactic narratives, perhaps so too did the Intifada compel Badr and Khalifeh to address feminist issues in their writings in a more direct manner. The crisis here should be understood not so much to be the Intifada itself (though the violence visited upon Palestinians during this time certainly constituted a crisis in its own right) but rather more particularly for our present purposes, the crisis of easy optimism about the Intifada’s potential to liberate women. The complacency wrought of such optimism threatened to obscure the fact that Palestinian women continued to suffer disproportionately, both through Israeli occupation as well as the patriarchal Palestinian national movement. Thus while the defeat of 1967 would compel Kanafani to adopt a realist form in order to convey the imperatives of resistance as lucidly as possible, so too does the advent of the Intifada necessitate a plainspoken response on the part of Badr and Khalifeh. Above all, however, both Kanafani’s realist turn after 1967 and Badr’s experimentation in various aesthetic modes caution us against too-rigid a dichotomy between the imported terminology of ‘realism’, and ‘modernism’. Palestinian authors’ diverse formal output (individually and collectively) demonstrate that, far from being antagonistic or countervailing currents, different aesthetic modes coexist and complement one another. The lines between them, far from being bold and rigid, are in fact porous and permeable.

Whither Badr’s Intifada? The voluminous scholarship about the Intifada has, as outlined above, focused almost exclusively on the Palestinians within historic Palestine rising up in defiance of Israeli occupation. While this group had been previously marginalized by scholars’ emphasis on Palestinians exiled in Jordan and Lebanon, where the loci of resistance had hitherto been concentrated, the shift of attention to Palestinians engaged in the Intifada leaves unanswered the question of how those Palestinians previously located at the centre of struggle now coped with their

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marginalized status. Badr’s evasion of the Intifada altogether is one part of the answer, but its larger significance only comes to light when juxtaposed with those fleeting episodes in Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ where the ˙ Intifada is ultimately invoked. Only two stories in the collection make any reference to the Intifada. The first is entitled ‘Rabı¯ʿ’ (‘Spring’) and seems to be based on Israel’s assassination of Fatah co-founder, Khalil al-Wazir, in April of 1988 in Tunis. Apart from the similarities between the story’s narrative and the facts of al-Wazir’s assassination, the story was also written the same month as the assassination, highlighting once again the short story’s ability to respond to political developments with immediacy. The Intifada is invoked only obliquely in ‘Rabı¯ʿ’, as the unnamed man who is ultimately to meet his demise at the hands of Israeli commandos, sits watching scenes of Israeli soldiers’ brutality on the evening news, an allusion to Yitzhak Rabin’s ‘broken bones’ policy: That night, the man sat to watch a film. On the television screen, children race in front of armed soldiers. One of them, armoured in a steel cage, with metal helmet and cement cudgel attacks a ten year old child. He catches him, and the wailing of the child’s mother and siblings sounds. The wailing crescendos. The soldier picks up a stone and beats the child on the collar bone, his chest, the bones of his forearms, and his upper arms. The child cries. Screams. Shouts. Blood spurts from his nose, completely covering his face in red. In the light-coloured pyjama that receives the fluorescent rays of the television, the man recalled the same scene he’s been witnessing since his childhood in the year 1948.79 Between the characterization of the scenes as a ‘film’ and the man’s pyjamas (but, seemingly, not the man himself) receiving the images being broadcast from the television, there is a sense of dissociation from the scenes of the Intifada. Tellingly, these scenes transport the man back to his own expulsion from Palestine as a child, further emphasizing the distance – geographic, temporal, and psychological – separating the man from the historic uprising of his compatriots in the homeland for which he has long struggled in exile. By invoking the suppression of

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protesters within the same context as al-Wazir’s assassination, Badr is also making a point about Israel’s victims beyond the borders of historic Palestine. With global and scholarly attention focused on the Intifada and the Palestinian victims of Israel’s violent crackdown, ‘Rabı¯ʿ ’ serves as a timely reminder that Israel’s ability to inflict violence upon Palestinians it sees as a threat extends beyond the borders of historic Palestine where the Intifada was centred. While ‘Rabı¯ʿ’ invokes the Intifada only obliquely, through the iconic images of violence visited upon Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, ‘ʿI¯d alard’ (‘Land Day’)80 explicitly invokes the Intifada by name. Here, once ˙ again though, the Intifada serves only to highlight the estrangement of exile as the narrator searches in vain for news of the Intifada in the newspapers, only to find puerile, fatuous stories: I searched the morning papers about something about which I could comment for the radio broadcast we were invited to on the occasion of Land Day. I looked for news of the children of the Intifada, but I failed due to the papers’ focus on the fashions of female celebrities who stamped 1988 with their styles. The newspapers revealed the rebellion of Princess Diana and the mounting disagreements with her mother-in-law concerning the timing of the serving of the famed English tea.81 Exasperated, the narrator throws down the newspaper and, like the man in ‘Rabı¯ʿ’, is transported in her memory to the past, this time not to the painful dislocation of 1948, however, but to the fond recollection of frolicking among her uncle’s orchard in the mountains of Hebron. In the story’s next scene, the narrator is accompanied by an elderly sheikh at the radio station in an unspecified Arab country where the two intend to give the aforementioned broadcast on the occasion of Land Day. They are detained while their particulars are scrutinized by the security services. As they wait, countless others go in: ‘strange, everyone goes in except us. Carrying tambourines and musical instruments, drums, floral arrangements. Waiters and security personnel. Even the bottles of refreshments entered, while we waited. All of them, except us. Waiting at the entrance. And we don’t . . . of course.’82 We are led to believe, then, that the pair ultimately fails to broadcast their Land Day message. In the story’s closing lines, the narrator

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describes her disconsolate return at the end of the day: ‘that night I pick up a newspaper to read news of the Intifada, and cry because I am not there’.83 In this instance, Badr makes explicit what remains obscured among insinuation and ellipsis throughout the rest of the collection: the profound disaffection and powerlessness inherent in being separated by providence and distance from Palestine and the historic uprising of its people there.

Against the Optimists: Badr’s Intifada Scepticism Conspicuously absent from Badr’s collection is any celebration of newfound freedoms and liberties putatively achieved by women through their participation in the Intifada. On the one hand, this may be a function of Badr’s estrangement from events in historic Palestine and the role of women in them. On the other hand, however, Badr’s omission of any celebration of women’s gains points to a profound disappointment with the early promises of the Intifada elided in more celebratory literature. Summarizing the quandary of this gap between the optimism of scholarly studies and the failure of these ambitions to materialize, Julie Peteet writes: The intifada, the uprising in the occupied territories against Israeli occupation, generated a body of literature in both English and Arabic too numerous to list. One of the more curious aspects of this literature was that the intifada was going to liberate women. The fact that this idea initially circulated so easily and with so little critique is an indication, on the one hand, of the extent to which scholarly knowledge of Palestinian women is embryonic, and on the other, of the euphoric atmosphere of the early intifada and the hopes it embodied for social transformation.84 Thus, in addition to both authors’ recourse to realism, Badr’s Jahı¯m ˙ dhahabı¯ and Khalifeh’s Ba¯b al-sa¯ha most closely align in their deep ˙ ambivalence about the gains afforded to women through the Intifada. Both works, each in their own way, express profound uncertainty and scepticism about the Intifada’s promise for women’s liberation. Badr does this, once again, by eliding any celebration of new-found freedoms for women wrought of the Intifada. Her female protagonists

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experience no improvement in their condition as they continue to wander in exile, unable to reach home, contenting themselves only with ‘pieces’ of it. Sahar Khalifeh’s Ba¯b al-sa¯ha, by contrast, addresses the issue head-on, ˙ though, similarly, reaches no definitive conclusion. In it, there occurs a telling exchange between Samar, the young, female, Palestinian NGO worker conducting a questionnaire of Palestinian women as part of a ‘scientific study’ into the effects of the Intifada upon the condition of women and an older woman, Zakiyya. She asks Zakiyya what changes have affected women since the start of the Intifada: ‘Do you want the truth?’ ‘And nothing but the truth’. ‘Honestly, nothing has changed [for women]. Her worries have increased and her heart aches. May Allah help those women’. Representing, perhaps, the undue enthusiasm over the Intifada’s liberation of women, Samar is shocked by Zakiyya’s response: ‘Auntie Zakiyya, can this be true? Why such pessimism?’ Zakiyya then launches into a lyrical litany of the old burdens upon women the Intifada has failed to remedy, and the new ones it has introduced: What do you want me to say? [That women] have come to throw stones, be free of their children, hide the [protesting] youths and participate in demonstrations? Okay, but her worries have increased a lot, a lot. Her old worries are as they are, and her new worries can’t be counted. Pregnancy and birth and recovery and breastfeeding and cleaning and washing and wiping and cooking and the huffing and misery of husbands and the worries of children and worries about the youths roving amongst the boulders and badlands and the heat of the sun and the bitter cold of winter and the thorns of the prairies. Worries about those who are near and worries about those who are far, worries about the young and worries about the old and bedridden. If a child is in your arms, you fear them taking it away, and if they take it you worry they’ll lose it. From the moment he enters the prison to the moment he exits it, you run after him from courtroom to courtroom and from gate to gate. And if he’s not in prison, you

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run after him from cave to cave, and from alley to alley. If you see him, you burn [with worry] with him, and if you don’t see him, you burn [with worry] for him. That’s our life, step by step, and torture by torture. May Allah help those women.85 Zakiyya is depicted as a modest woman, not lower class per se, but by no means affluent (a precarious socio-economic situation highlighted and exacerbated by her rich but miserly husband who torments her over a request as simple as a new pair of socks). In the text of the novel, her diatribe is written in the Palestinian colloquial dialect, lending it inflections difficult to convey in translation. What comes across powerfully, however, is the image of women bearing the burdens and worries of the nation as a whole. It is upon the shoulders of women – as wives and mothers – that the bulk of these burdens disproportionately weigh. It is well and good, Zakiyya says at the outset, that women should come to participate in political activism in new ways. Rather than relieve her of her old burdens (confined exclusively to the domestic domain), however, the Intifada has only added to them. Now, in addition to bearing, birthing, and rearing her children, the Palestinian woman must also fret over them as they are detained by Israel and navigate its legal system. Zakiyya stops short of blaming the Intifada for these new burdens, the subtext of Israeli occupation remains very much present. In that respect she differs markedly from Ghassan Kanafani’s older uncles with their counter-revolutionary counsel for emigration or docility in the face of Israeli occupation. Nonetheless, however, Zakiyya, and Khalifeh’s novel as a whole cast serious doubt on any unproblematized enthusiasm for the Intifada’s emancipatory potential as far as women are concerned. While avoiding mention of the Intifada, Badr nonetheless echoes the same sentiment of scepticism regarding the alleged gains made by women in the story ‘Ihtifa¯l’ (‘Celebration’). The ‘celebration’ alluded to by the title ˙ is that of International Women’s Day, held annually on 8 March (‘Ihtifa¯l’ ˙ was written in March of 1989). The story, told from the first-person perspective of a female narrator, begins by setting the scene of the return of the narrator’s husband who, we intuit, is a Palestinian politician who frequently travels as part of his duties, prompting the narrator to tell him: ‘you constantly travel to reclaim the homeland. But what will I do if we return to it but are unable to remain in one place?’86 Already, then, from

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the story’s outset, any clearly defined dichotomy between exile and return is blurred. Moreover, while it is made clear that the narrator’s husband travels frequently in exile, the narrator asserts in no uncertain terms that it is in fact women who bear the majority of the brunt of exile: ‘it is on their [feminine, third-person plural] shoulders alone that falls the burden of compensating for the total detachment [inqita¯ʿ ] of exile’.87 The ˙ implication here is that it is wives who must make up for the alienation and isolation wrought of exile. Liana Badr almost imperceptibly plays with the notion of women representing the nation. For, in ‘compensating for the total detachment of exile’, women are essentially charged with the task of playing for their husbands the role that would otherwise be played by the national community as a whole: companionship, camaraderie, support and belonging. As Badr makes clear, this burden, both real and symbolic, weighs heavily upon women. It is precisely in an attempt to escape this encumbrance, if even briefly for one evening, that the narrator of ‘Ihtifa¯l’ agrees to attend the ˙ evening’s celebration of International Women’s Day. Despite the fact that the event is meant to be for women only, the narrator’s husband has been invited because the event organizers ‘want to host important political figures’.88 After initial hesitation on the narrator’s part, her husband finally prevails upon her to attend, telling her ‘I’d love to celebrate your day. Why shouldn’t we experience together the collective celebration of this event?’ Persuaded, or perhaps in an attempt to persuade herself to attend, the narrator envisions what the celebration will be like: ‘True, why not? And immediately my imagination drifted to imagining an ample hall at the end of which was a table adorned with a white tablecloth and upon which was a large cake decorated with sliced fruit. There are cups of tea and cheerful women, leaving their many duties superseded this one day of the year for a moment of rest.’ The narrator imagines a convivial atmosphere of women putting aside their socially imposed obligations in order to participate in the celebration of women. Finally the woman decides: ‘I will go . . . I must! And with him, for certainly there will be a new atmosphere.’89 The narrator’s optimism about a ‘new atmosphere’, one, presumably, of equality, camaraderie, and celebration of women appropriate to the occasion (and a possible allusion to the ‘new atmosphere’ regarding women ushered in by the Intifada) is subsequently thrown into doubt

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when the narrator’s husband dictates what she should wear to the event: ‘no, not the cotton dress that you wore all day at work. Wear the purple outfit and put on the necklace decorated with coloured flowers. It’s your celebration, Women’s Day. Put on some kohl and lipstick. How I love to see you looking beautiful on this occasion.’90 The husband’s intentions may be benign, only to see his wife dressed in a manner that he sees as fitting for the occasion. But there is of course no small irony in the fact that it is his assessment of what is appropriate attire for the occasion, that is, International Women’s Day. It is a telling moment that lays bare male privilege, not even so much in dictating what his wife should wear to the event but, more fundamentally, that he even reserves the right to do so. The passage vacillates ironically and paradoxically between the husband’s instructions on how his wife should dress on the one hand (‘Wear the purple outfit’, ‘Put on some kohl and lipstick’,) and his adamant assertions that ‘it’s [her] celebration, Women’s Day’ on the other. That the husband himself seems oblivious to the irony and paradox in his statement only serves to further demonstrate the depth at which such notions of male privilege are entrenched. The husband’s stipulations also serve to foreshadow the celebration’s failure to meet the narrator’s expectations. For, upon arriving at the venue, rather than the bedraggled women seeking a moment’s solace from their daily chores and obligations, the narrator encounters women all finely dressed alike ‘as though they’d decided to wear a single uniform’, their hair styled by ‘the most well-known hairdresser’, and dyed colours described as ‘ʿajı¯ba’, an inherently ambivalent and paradoxical term that can mean either ‘bizarre’, or ‘strange’, or, ‘wondrous’, or ‘marvellous’. The narrator does not specify the sense in which she uses it.91 This also constitutes a class critique as well. For, in their expensive dresses and hairstyles, the women represent only the uppermost economic strata of society. The presence of any women of more modest means, more familiar with the daily toils and struggles of the less privileged, is conspicuously lacking. One of these well-to-do women whisks away the narrator’s husband upon their entering the hall in which the event is being held, leading him to a dais at the front. Alone, the narrator surveys the venue. It is a far cry from the image of solidarity, unity and conviviality she had envisaged:

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Inside I turned into an angry chameleon, blackened and charcoalpurple in colour. Around me in rows stood tens of miserable women like me, frowning faces, alarmed in their expressions. All of us turned our backs to one another, resigned to the arrangement of chairs, arranged orderly facing the stage. All of us play within our chests the same melody in unison in a great wave of hesitation, with our voices, swallowed down our throats, and the mutterings of our lips, and the scowls of hurry to avoid the predicament in which we stumbled due to our naivete´.92 Far from the free-flowing, lively gathering of women the narrator had envisaged, the arrangement of the seating in the hall speaks to an orderly and, more importantly, hierarchal arrangement in which the gathered women were to be a passive audience, precluded even from communication with one another by the set-up. The false expectations and, in the author’s words, the ‘naivete´’ that led to them echo early hopes, first in nationalism and the national leadership for women’s emancipation (as glimpsed in some of the writings of Samira Azzam), and subsequently in the Intifada as well. These hopes, Badr contends, premised as they were on naive hopes, were destined to fail. In the oppressively hierarchical set-up of the hall, even those chores from which the narrator had fantasized briefly escaping seem comforting in their familiarity by comparison to the International Women’s Day celebration: We, the audience in the hall, were all praying in our hearts to return home where meaningful, fond duties awaited us. Household chores became a refuge of calls for emancipation where, only an hour prior, they felt like eternal tasks. How lovely is it for a neighbour to taste a cake and commend you on its flavour. Or, a hand that squeezes and presses the cool, moist tamarind like brown clay as it slides on the edge of the pot before becoming an exquisite, refreshing beverage. I continued, with them, recalling the lovely household customs like one engaged in a communal prayer for rain.93 Given the fierce indictment of the confinement of women to the domestic sphere launched by Badr in works we have already seen in the intense interiority of ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’, Badr’s idealization and

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romanticization of domestic bliss in this passage seems curious indeed. But it is only through understanding Badr’s previous indictments of domesticity that we come to realize the depth of the narrator’s contempt for the gathering at which she has found herself, and the hypocrisy it represents. Compared to it, even those chores, which as the narrator observes had only shortly before seemed like a millstone around the gathered women’s necks, seem like sweet respite. But it is not the chores themselves that the women come to appreciate. Badr is not attempting to make an idealized argument for the romantic virtues of women’s household responsibilities. Rather, it is the deeper underlying significance with which women themselves have imbued these menial tasks – the mutual support and re-enforcement that comes from exchanging compliments over baking for instance – utterly lacking in the present celebration of International Women’s Day, that the narrator comes to long for. By contrast, these moments of solidarity and camaraderie between women come to feel as refreshing as the cool tamarind juice she fantasizes about. Once again, ironically and paradoxically, it is in these domestic, household duties – usually configured as manifestations of women’s subjugation – that the narrator sees a ‘refuge for calls for emancipation’. Adding insult to injury, a well-known male orator has been invited to address the gathered women: The voice of that speaker I’d heard much about in the papers rises and falls on the stage. He was happy to grace us with his voice which, the [female] leader said was our gift on Women’s Day. He was repeating some very self-evident things about the homeland [watan ]. From time to time he would direct greetings ˙ to friendly states on the occasion of our celebration, or direct threats against hostile states on the occasion of our celebration as well ‘And on the occasion of Women’s Day I would like to inform the state of . . . that . . .’ ‘And on the occasion of Women’s Day I would like warn the state of . . . that . . .’ Adding layer upon layer of irony, it is a man who patronizes the gathered women on the virtues of nationalism and the homeland, a responsibility

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which, as previously established in the story, women feel all too acutely. More than that, however, he exploits, indeed hijacks, Women’s Day to score hollow nationalistic points. In many ways, the man embodies a wider patriarchal nationalist leadership, happy to repeat platitudes about women’s liberation that amount to little more than hollow, selfserving rhetoric. The combined effect of all of the above – the critical assessment of the made-up women with their fancy hairstyles and expensive dresses, the hierarchal arrangement of the venue, being driven to long even for the dignity and solidarity afforded by household responsibilities, and the pontificating man on stage – constitutes a ringing indictment of the hypocrisies of women’s advocacy. Badr continues her searing critique of the hypocrisies of the nationalist leadership previously seen in ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ while the critical description of the women organizing the event recalls Samira Azzam’s careful avoidance of any essentializing notions of female solidarity that ignore important class distinctions.

Women in Exile Just as Badr studiously avoids mention of the Intifada, so too does she focus almost obsessively upon exile and its discontents, addressing it through a decidedly feminist perspective. Hitherto, the condition of exile was configured primarily as a male dilemma in Palestinian literature, as seen in Kanafani’s Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams (Men in the Sun) to name but the most iconic example of this phenomenon. The primary dilemma for these male characters tends to be fulfilment of their masculine duties and responsibilities set against the emasculating humiliation of the loss of their homeland. Conversely, female characters, as metonymical stand-ins for Palestine itself, tend to remain in the homeland, as demonstrated by Samira Azzam’s nurse, Su’ad, whose death in defence of the homeland signifies her eternal remainder there. Badr, by contrast, is concerned with depicting the condition of women in exile, decentring the discourse of exile as primarily a masculine dilemma and considering the implications of exile upon women. While the specific references to exile are somewhat muted in ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ due to the text’s intense interiority and indeterminate locale, exile is the fundamental concern of Jahı¯m dhahabı¯. ˙

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The collection opens with a story aptly titled ‘Manfa¯’ (‘Exile’), which begins with the following sentence: ‘The many letters I receive, the strange dialects, the empty rooms, none of these impress exile upon me like that sentence spoken by a child. He didn’t say anything significant. He didn’t utter but a simple phrase. But exile is words too.’94 The female narrator is at that quintessential site of impermanence and transience, an airport, waiting for a delayed flight on which a friend and her child are meant to be arriving. At last the long-awaited plane lands and the narrator’s friend emerges into the arrivals hall accompanied by the child that the narrator ‘left before he knew how to speak’. In distinctively Palestinian dialect the narrator asks the child ‘how are you, you beautiful little rascal? [ya¯ hilw, ˙ ya¯ azʾar, kı¯fak? ]’ She then describes the response: ‘I heard it. A word. He uttered it correctly, clearly, and completely, just as grownups say it. “Fine, I’m just fine.”’95 The word for ‘fine’ used by the boy, mnı¯h, is used ˙ throughout the Levant, but can carry decidedly Palestinian connotations, particularly, as in this case, when the narrator is in North Africa where the local darı¯ja and Levantine dialects of Arabic are mutually incomprehensible. This is the ‘simple phrase’, the ‘sentence uttered by a child’, referenced in the story’s opening lines that impresses the sense of exile so profoundly upon the narrator. Language and dialect, therefore, comes to play a fundamental role, imbuing a distinctive terroir to a given locale. As the narrator observes at the story’s outset, ‘exile is words too’. An airport is once again the setting for another story in the collection, aptly entitled ‘Mata¯r’ (‘Airport’). The story revolves around the unnamed ˙ female narrator and her young 10-year-old child’s thwarted attempt to travel from an airport in an unnamed Arab country to visit the child’s father. As the story’s opening makes clear the episode turns the narrator’s world upside-down: When I returned from the airport to the city in which I live the evening of the day I was prevented from travelling, my eyes had come to see in reverse. I mean [. . .] that [. . .] the earth occupied the skies with its brown, dusty crust. And in its place the silver, faded curtains of clouds descended, mixed with bits of blue sky, on their arduous journey, amidst feet. The roots of trees stretched, digging into the heavens of dirt, and their green leaves unceasingly fell to the transparent earth, sweeping it endlessly. As for the

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cyclonic winds, they made their way through alleyways like chickens on their feverish quest for food.96 Beyond the mere upheaval of her perception, the event upturns her very sense of self: I didn’t know if my head had come to be where my feet were, if it was my eyes that were breathing, and that my ears were seeing. I tentatively thought it was my nose that returned my yellow, cotton, tree-patterned travelling dress that I had been wearing to the wardrobe, or that it was my lashes that were letting out sobs. Everything became intertwined like the leaves of the creeping grapevine at our old home, and I didn’t know how what had happened could have happened to me.97 Here, Badr breaks from the realistic narrative that characterizes much of the rest of the collection, reverting to the surreal imagery that marked ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’. It is a literal depiction of the protagonist’s world being turned upside-down, with ‘the earth occupy[ing] the skies with its brown, dusty crust’, while the ‘curtains of clouds [descend]’ to what had previous been the earth. This upheaval of her perception extends to her other senses, and indeed her very body, as she breathes through her eyes, sees with her ears, and her head comes to replace her feet. The protagonist’s physical instability comes to mirror the instability of the condition of exile itself. At the airport, the customs office had insistently asked about the narrator’s ‘original nationality’, not satisfied with the (unspecified) nationality written on the narrator’s passport. The narrator attempts to postpone answering, knowing that being Palestinian is a liability, even in putatively ‘brotherly’ Arab countries. She begins to fantasize about being something else, but does not know what: ‘what came to my mind then was if only I could be . . . what else can I be? A different woman? With a different face? With a different accent or language?’98 Her confounded musings are once again interrupted by the passport officer, shouting this time, ‘like rapid-firing artillery: “I said the original [nationality]!”’99 Just as she is shaken from her reverie by the officer’s shouts, she is ushered into another one, this time instigated by a passerby carrying a pommelo fruit, much celebrated in Palestine:

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I forgot the face of the security officer with his light, spotty moustache and his eyes with their thick eyelids under his cap. I forgot all of that and could see nothing but the pommel fruit at this time of year, dangling off its branch near my bedroom in our home. I could feel nothing except the shimmer of the gleaming fruit between teeth when the Hajja Salima would cook it with sugar, causing it to melt on the tongue with a flavour between piercing bitterness and warm sweetness. Recalling all of this, I could not be convinced by what was written on the passport because I couldn’t, by any means, imagine myself with an identity bearing no relation to imbibing the softness of the green, tender lining as I carry it between my small fingers calling out to my father to light a match near it to produce sparks of orange, silver, white, red, and yellow from the rinds’ cracks that ooze a green liquid that drips onto my dress and legs.100 This escape from reality differs from the surrealist departures quoted above. In those instances, the narrator perceived the upheaval of her world in literal terms. Here she seeks refuge in the memories of an idyllic past, triggered by the familiar image of the pommelo fruit. Again though, it is a visceral experience as she comes to physically reexperience texture and taste of the fruit in her mouth. The pommelo, in prompting the recollection of the protagonist’s childhood, alters something in the narrator. Her previous prevarications and hesitation to utter her ‘true’ nationality vanish: ‘Just like that, I said it, without my usual concerns about what would happen to me as a result. I said: “Palestinian!”’101 Whatever sense of victory the narrator may have achieved from her simultaneously angry and triumphant utterance of her nationality is short-lived however. The officer, seemingly knowing the answer ahead of time, now has his suspicions vindicated and takes some pleasure in denying the woman permission to board her flight with a simple gesture of his finger, not deigning to speak to her. The narrator’s fond recollections are shattered: ‘My joy in recalling the image of the house and the trees my father planted the day I was born transformed into scattered shards with the continuous movement of his fingers in front of my eyes.’102

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The narrator is not so much a victim of her own identity as much as of the tumultuous and fickly capricious nature of inter-Arab politics, particularly the quickly forming and dissolving alliances and animosities that occurred over the course of the Lebanese Civil War. Allied factions one day would frequently wage bitter, pitched battles against one another the next as either they or their states benefactors decided a shift in the balance of power was necessary. Thus, the woman pleas with the officer: ‘I beg you, you know that all countries don’t write our nationality on their documents, so why are you doing this to me? I’m not responsible about your opinion of the degree of agreement of our political organizations with you this week!’103 But the officer remains unmoved. Having regained her composure at home but with her world still upturned, and once again recapturing the surrealism that marked ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’, the narrator observes: ‘here I am, reaching for a cup to write with coffee and milk. I lean my back against the pen to straighten it out and heal it. I sing, amusing myself with my voice emanating from the tips of my toes.’ But, as with her daydream of the pommel fruit in the airport, interrupted by the officer’s aggressive and insistent demands for her original nationality, the narrator once again finds herself violently roused from her musings: Suddenly a shudder runs through me. It shakes me in the emptiness of the chair. It pervades my back and the ends of my hair. No, it’s not the luggage that I left carefully arranged in the emptiness of the hallway’s ceiling in preparation for departure. No, it’s not the luggage that floats in chaos rather than remaining in place on the ceiling without shaking about. It was the murmurings of the sleeping child that saw, with his own eyes, the plane’s departure without us and did not utter a single word as the plane transformed into a night time hallucination I’d previously experienced myself. That ‘night time hallucination’, a reference not so much to the airplane itself, but rather what its departure without them signifies – the paradoxical state of itinerancy and inability to cross borders due to being Palestinian – has left an indelible scar on the narrator. She fears that the child will come to suffer from the same fate: ‘my heart froze. Will he be

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afflicted by the same cursed scar that afflicts all the adults amongst us?’ She searches the young boy’s body, as though such a scar would manifest physically upon him, and indeed she does find a scar on his right forearm, but upon having a startling realization, that visible scar is not what troubles her: ‘my heart sank completely between my ribs. Not because of the charred scar on his ripe flesh, but because I knew precisely what he was babbling, saying, secretly uttering during his sleep.’ The story ends here, giving no further indication of what it is that the child was murmuring in his sleep. While the mother ‘knew precisely’ what it was the child was saying, the reader is left less sure. It may be the passport officer’s repeated demands for his mother’s original nationality that resonated throughout the episode in the airport, giving rise to such grief for the mother. But while the reader ultimately cannot share the mother’s certainty of her son’s murmurings, there can be no doubt about the scar the child will carry with him. In ‘Mata¯r’, Badr is very clear that the intended target of her indictment ˙ is not Israel but the Arab states that ‘host’ exiled Palestinian refugees. In this respect, Badr is following in the footsteps of Samira Azzam, for whom Israel barely figured in her stories, but who spared Palestinians’ Arab ‘host’ communities little condemnation, and Ghassan Kanafani’s frequent excoriation of Arab regimes seen in Chapter 1. Edward Said underscores the often cynical uses of the Palestinian cause by Arab states who simultaneously either turn a blind eye to Palestinian suffering, or are active participants in the repression of Palestinians under their care: Palestine to them was useful up to a point – for attacking Israel, for railing against Zionism, imperialism, and the United States, for bewailing the settlement and expropriation of Arab land in the Occupied Territories. Beyond that point, when it came to the urgent needs of Palestinians as a people, or to the deplorable conditions in which many Palestinians live in Arab countries as well as in Israel, lines had to be drawn.104 In another story from Jahı¯m dhahabı¯, the unnamed female narrator ˙ bitterly laments: I discovered my estrangement the moment I was silenced by the Arab border guard at the Naqura checkpoint. I thought the Arab

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world would be like the Abdel Haleem Hafez song, ‘Watanı¯ ˙ H abı¯ bı¯ , Wat anı¯ al-Akbar’ [‘My Beloved Nation, My ˙ ˙ Great Nation’]. By the time I discovered my error, it was too late, for the Red Cross only assists people in exiting, not returning.105 But perhaps Badr’s depiction of women in exile is articulated most forcefully in ‘Alwa¯n’ (‘Colours’), a story that spans time and geography, beginning with a depiction of a young girl observing her mother paint the landscape scene visible through the barred window of the family’s rural Palestinian home. The image of the barred window is of paramount significance, deeply affecting the young girl as she wonders ‘how the mother was able to embody the town in her painting despite the crisscrossing bars of the window that obscure the view’.106 For the girl’s mother painting becomes, simultaneously, an act of recording and preserving the landscape thereby laying claim to it, as well as an act of transcendence of the bars, the presence of which symbolize the limitations placed upon the woman. Far from a languorous artistic endeavour, a sense of urgency is lent by the assertion that she suffers from a terminal muscle disorder that ‘does not leave her much time’.107 The mother does not live to see the family dislocated in 1967. Here, again, Badr decentres the primary location of Palestinian displacement and dislocation, away from the Nakba, which has thus far served as the primary locus around which the Palestinian discourse on exile turned, to the somewhat more forgotten displacement of 1967 which, though perhaps less cataclysmic, nonetheless resulted in 400,000 additional Palestinian refugees and which, for a younger generation that may not have experienced the Nakba of 1948, constituted their first experience of Palestinian forced relocation.108 This is certainly the case for the young girl, who, in scenes reminiscent of literary depictions of the Nakba, recalls that her mother ‘would not live to be crammed amongst the many passengers in the small car that crossed the bridge to the eastern bank of the river’.109 In the meantime, her father searches for weapons at the local police station only to find it deserted. When he encounters tanks racing away in the opposite direction of the front line, he is almost crushed as he tries to ask the soldiers what is happening. This sense of history repeating itself is made explicit in a passage that describes the violence using punctuated, staccato prosody:

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The napalm. Its burning smell like the tar of asphalt with which they pave streets. And the airplanes of metallic black pound the scurrying bodies of the hundreds and thousands of displaced from the refugee camps that surround Jericho. Bodies scattered along the paths stepped upon by frantic feet as they hurry to safety. Hysterical madness, the likes of which cannot be known except by those who heard the rumours of the actions of the old invaders towards anyone they could sink their claws into Napalm. Badr may as well be describing scenes from the Nakba, with its attendant desperation, chaos, and carnage. It is unclear whether the reference to the ‘old invaders’ refers to Zionist forces in 1948, or the much earlier Crusaders, the violence of whom has itself become the subject of legends, but this is precisely the point.110 This indeterminacy conflates the medieval Crusaders with the Zionists of 1948, castigating the latter through the legendary brutality and bloodlust of the former. As made clear by the text, for the unnamed girl protagonist of the story this would only be the first in a string of dislocations, throughout which the girl seeks in vain the familiarity of her early childhood home: ‘in those distant lands in which the girl wandered until she was dizzy, she did not see trees or a sky that resembled her first town’.111 From the West Bank, across the river to Jordan, and subsequently to Beirut where she experiences the civil war, with ‘burning artillery that falls like rain’, the young girl would constantly seek connection, not only to her early childhood home in the West Bank, of which she has firsthand recollections, but also, more abstractly, to the Palestinian homeland more broadly. Thus, for instance, in Lebanon, she ‘goes to the railroad tracks that used to lead to Jaffa and Haifa, and walk along the rails long after trains had ceased’.112 Tacitly, then, it is implied that the girl is surrounded by tales of historic Palestine, for Jaffa and Haifa could otherwise have no relevance to the girl, born after 1948 and knowing only her rural West Bank village before being exiled from there. It is while in Beirut, however, that the girl – now a woman – is re-united with the painting after a 15-year absence, brought by a relative coming to Lebanon from Palestine. It is here that the reader and the woman, together, come to appreciate the fine detail of the painting: ‘the birds’ wings circled in Jericho’s sky

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and the grape vines would crawl along the edge of the street. Ants would travel in rows under the smoke tree with its white fruit with the stalks of corn standing apart like silly straw fans. Meanwhile the tree branches would sway, mixed with the taste of the wind and the smell of the well water poured into the orchards.’113 This is a second-hand pastoralism of sorts, experienced not directly by the protagonist (for she no longer can), but vicariously, through the mother’s painting, incongruous in its serenity and idyllic setting amidst urban Beirut engulfed by civil war. The painting comes to constitute an escape from the anarchy and hazards of war-torn Beirut: Every morning she’d begin by gazing at it before proceeding with her daily errands. She’d open her eyes as she drew herself from the nightmares that follow from the continuous power cuts. She would push back against the distant reverberations of artillery bombardment in an attempt to listen with all her energy to the creeping of the engines of the warplanes, busy with their illusory attacks, in the city’s atmosphere. The melodic calls of roving vendors and the aroma of fresh vegetables ascend to her window with the smell of weapons’ grease and mounds of garbage that proliferated due to the continuous strikes of municipality workers. At that point, her body would disintegrate into fine particles of light out of the ardent desire to enter the space of the painting.114 There is a sense of her almost physically pushing out the various sights, sounds and smells of the war, finding brief solace in the calls of the vegetable vendors and the aroma of their wares, only to immediately once again be assailed by reminders of the conflict through the smell of weapon grease and uncollected rubbish. Despite being a city of exile, the protagonist takes issue not so much with Beirut itself, which she will later fondly recall after she is displaced once again, but rather the conflict raging within it, and particularly the Israeli involvement in it as signified by reference to the warplanes that frequently bombed Beirut. The arresting image of her disintegration into particles of light in an effort to escape her present – time and locale – by entering into the painting’s alternative universe demonstrates once again that, while the stories in Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ are, overall, told in a far more conventional, ˙ realistic narrative, there remain moments wherein Badr reverts to the

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abstraction that marked her earlier work as witnessed in ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’. Here, however, as with the image of the floating suitcases in ‘Mata¯r’, rather than comprising a core component of the text, integral to ˙ and inseparable from its message (as in ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’), Badr contents herself with only the occasional modernist flourish to punctuate a particular image. The effect of this is arguably more jarring and disconcerting than the consistent ethereality of ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’, highlighting all the more those instances of the disintegration of reality when they are set within an otherwise conventional, realistic narrative. In ‘Mata¯r’ this serves the function of highlighting the degree to which ˙ the denial of boarding the plane has upturned the woman’s life, while here it emphasizes the zeal with which the protagonist wishes to escape her present. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 is the occasion for the protagonist’s next displacement, from Beirut to another, unnamed Arab city. It is here that the character experiences nostalgia, not for her Palestinian homeland per se, but rather for Beirut, sensing a loss of ‘people, the noise of the neighbours, the curves of the street, the cracks in the sidewalk that she’d memorized, the smell of things, and the colours of afternoon heat’.115 This counterintuitive longing for Beirut once again recalls Saliba’s observations about Badr’s construction of ‘pieces of home’. Beirut is decidedly not the protagonist’s fabled homeland, the idyllic scene of her mother’s painting symbolizing a time before multiple upheavals forced her into a life itinerancy. To the contrary, it is mired in the ravages of the civil war where, we are told earlier in the story, so regular was the shelling and bombardment that it eventually became little more than white noise, scarcely noticed by the protagonist.116 Nonetheless, the protagonist of ‘Alwa¯n’, feels a longing for Beirut, depicting it as a ‘piece of home’. Meanwhile, through scenes in which she stands on the train tracks that lead to Palestine, or her desire to enter into the canvas painted by her mother depicting her childhood town, Palestine remains palpably ‘beyond reach’, return to it almost too difficult to even fathom. Badr therefore disrupts the image of the Palestinian homeland, as a unified whole, replacing it instead with multiple, fragmentary ‘pieces of home’ that recall Kanafani’s fragmented narratives. This poses serious challenges to any notion of return to Palestine as a final and conclusive resolution to the Palestinian dilemma.

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From the unnamed Arab city to which she has been displaced once again, the protagonist sends for her mother’s painting that had graced the wall of her Beirut flat, among other personal effects. All arrive with the exception of the painting which, the protagonist speculates, may have been used by the driver as a bribe to allow passage at one of the many checkpoints along the way. Finally, the protagonist boards a ship to take her to her next and final (as far as the narrative is concerned) destination, a North African, Mediterranean city, presumably Tunis. It is on this journey that the narrator asserts that ‘the knife was cutting her umbilical cord that tied her to Asia. Near, dear Asia, like a nest no matter how far the distance between them extended’.117 ‘In the new city in which she settled’, the narrator tells us, ‘her nostalgia grew more intense and acute. She couldn’t take in the breeze in leisure or depth’.118 Once again evoking Beirut longingly, the woman realizes that in this new city ‘there are no neighbours with whom to avoid the shelling in the stairwell, or housewives with whom to split the few available loaves during the rationing crisis or the scarce tea and sugar vouchers that the state deign to give its citizens. Here there is nothing except silence’.119 This longing for Beirut’s hardships (and the camaraderie they engender) is reminiscent of ‘Ihtifa¯l’s’ protagonist’s longing for house ˙ chores and the unity it creates among her community of women. It is worth noting that throughout these successive dislocations the woman travels alone, or at very least, the narrative does not specify any companions. Finally, in her flat in this unnamed Mediterranean North African city, the woman comes upon some colouring pencils and determines to draw (despite the fact that it is established earlier in the story that, as a child, she was utterly lacking in artistic ability or talent). She wonders whether she should draw the scene outside her window with the bars, or without, evoking the story’s beginning in which she, as a young child, was awestruck by her mother’s ability to draw the scene through the window without the bars that obscured her view. Evocation of the bars once again reminds the reader of the gender politics of the story, ever-present but left tacit throughout. Here again though we are reminded of symbolic imprisonment within this home, paradoxically, despite the multiple dislocations she has experienced throughout the story.

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The woman sits down to draw in earnest and, as the narrative makes clear, she cannot believe the final product when it is finished: ‘it was a rural town formed amidst trees. Its homes of mud and mud-brick. Its roofs zinc and floors of wood. Orchards and groves surround it. Its earth is red and ploughed by the wind and from it rises a herbal aroma that exists only there.’ From the mornings spent gazing at it and disintegrating into particles and entering it, the woman has recreated her mother’s painting, thereby also simultaneously recapturing that ‘piece of home’ from her apartment in Beirut as well as the ‘land beyond reach’ that is the Palestinian homeland. The Palestinians’ statelessness and exile has lurked in the background of many the texts we have examined thus far – in Samira Azzam’s post-Nakba forlorn tales of struggle, Ghassan Kanafani’s strident call to arms after 1967, Yahya Yakhlif’s wry take on the nihilism of the Lebanese Civil War, Badr’s earlier indictment of the patriarchy and paternalism of the Palestinian national liberation movement, and in Ibrahim Nasrallah’s prescient depiction of a mass Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. In Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ we ˙ see a return to the fundamental thematic concern that informed Kanafani’s pre-1967 writings: the Palestinian condition of exile. In both Jahı¯m dhahabı¯, as in the earlier works of Kanafani such as ‘Ard ˙ ˙ al-burtuqa¯l al-hazı¯n’,‘Abʿad min al-hudu¯d’, and ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al˙ ˙ ˙ ahmar’, to name but a few, exile is not the only unmentioned ailment ˙ underlying the various symptoms from which the Palestinians suffer. It is, at once, the symptom and the disease.

CONCLUSION DISCIPLINARITY AND PUNISHMENT:THE POLITICS OF PALESTINIAN LITERARY STUDIES IN THE WESTERN ACADEMY

In the introduction to this book I repeatedly alluded to the fraught relationship between Palestinian history and politics and the Palestinians’ cultural production. The ability of literature to elucidate what are otherwise often murky, puzzling, or abstruse political and historical processes and events goes to the heart of a key argument that winds its way throughout this book. Throughout this study I have been guided by an adamant belief in the imperative to take culture seriously in addressing and analysing historical and political processes and events. This is not to say, however, that literature should be treated merely as a sociological artefact, a ‘true’ reflection of society to be dissected for the sole, utilitarian purpose of revealing ‘hidden truths’ about a particular time, people or place. Nor, however, is it reasonable, or even feasible, to dismiss the momentous historical and political events that have undeniably left their indelible marks upon the Palestinian people and, by extension, the literature they produce. Thus, in the end, any scholar engaged in a study such as this and who takes to heart the imperative to take culture seriously finds herself or himself balanced precariously between two fallacies. The first treats cultural production, the Palestinian short story in this case, wholly instrumentally, a resource to be mined for what it can tell us about

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a people’s history and politics with ironic disregard for the artistic or cultural achievement that cultural production represents. The second fallacy would divorce such cultural production from the historical, political and social milieu that produced it, essentially detaching text from context. The key to avoiding either of these pitfalls lies not in ‘walking a fine line’, or ‘striking a balance’, or any other such cliche´s. Rather, it emerges from an appreciation of the complex interplay that occurs between the texts produced, and the social, political and historical contexts out of which these texts emerge. In the limited space of this conclusion I wish to elaborate on the fraught politics of the academic study of Palestinian literature itself, the situation of Palestinian literary and cultural studies in the Anglophone Western academy (namely the United Kingdom and the United States), and the opportunities and challenges posed by/against Palestinian cultural studies across various disciplines. This lattermost point is of particular personal significance to me. For, it was as a political science major in my final year of undergraduate studies that I first encountered Palestinian literature in the form of Ghassan Kanafani’s short story, ‘The Land of Sad Oranges’.1 It was a serendipitous encounter, for at the time I was undergoing a scholarly existential crisis of sorts, simultaneously preparing for postgraduate studies whilst experiencing deep frustration, disillusionment and alienation from my chosen field of political science, particularly its North American manifestation with its peculiar emphasis on empiricism and quantitative methodology to the almost contemptuous exclusion of other, more qualitative methods.2 It increasingly seemed to me, then as now, that political science’s emphasis on elite actors and institutions – states, governments, politicians – and the policies they implemented or pursued, was often largely divorced from consideration of the real-world implications these policies had upon people, who had become largely abstracted into data sets and numbers.3 I do not mean to imply that political science, empiricism or quantitative methods are irredeemable or without value, far from it. What I do mean to argue is that the imperial dominance of such methodologies, accompanied by a haughty scorn for alternative modes of inquiry ultimately does a grave disservice not only to the discipline of politics and scholarly inquiry but, more tangibly, to the people affected by the political policies that often derive therefrom.

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Worse still, as students within the discipline, we were being poorly equipped to address and understand the complex social and cultural drivers that underlie the more evident political processes taking place, a particularly grave omission considering that the first political science class of my undergraduate degree took place on 11 September, 2001. For instance, while the explanatory powers of quantitative and empirical methods were emphasized, the nearest exposure we received to a more qualitative approach to understanding the social and cultural dynamics shaping of politics was in the form of Samuel Huntington’s (deservedly) much-maligned ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis.4 However tendentious its reading of both history and the functioning of culture in societies, though – indeed precisely because of these fatal flaws – Huntington’s work can also serve as a valuable cautionary tale in taking a ‘culturalist’ approach to politics. For, Clash of Civilizations is ample evidence not only of how woefully ill-equipped a distinguished scholar of political science can be in addressing such issues, but moreover, the all too facile tendency to reduce to ‘culture’, or, even less promisingly, ‘cultural deficiencies’, that which seems to be the aberrant, confounding, or inexplicable behaviour of those social and cultural groupings determined to be ‘Other’. This, it cannot be stressed enough, is entirely contrary to the guiding principle of the present study, and I have striven assiduously to avoid participating in such cultural reductionism. My earnest, admittedly idealistic, perhaps naive, hope is that the more social scientists read fiction like Kanafani’s, the fewer will write fictions like Huntington’s. I have felt both heartened and vindicated by the recent bourgeoning of scholarly literature combining analysis of Palestinian cultural production with consideration of its broader social, political and historical context and implications. It is worth noting that the works on Palestinian cultural studies briefly enumerated in the introduction to this book have been produced by scholars from across the spectrum of scholarly disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including literary and film studies, art history, anthropology, history and sociology.5 This speaks to the important function interdisciplinarity can and should play in further elucidating Palestinian history, politics, society and cultural production. For, if political science is poorer in its understanding of Palestinian politics for its narrow emphasis on elite actors and empirical data, as argued above, so too must the virtues of

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disciplinary porousness and cross-pollination be recognized more generally as fundamental to epistemological rigour and the development of Palestinian studies as a field. This interdisciplinarity is all the more crucial given that, in an ironic institutional parallel to the imprisonment, confinement and ghettoization that has afflicted Palestinians, both exiled in refugee camps as well as in the state of Israel, Palestinian literature has historically been confined to departments of Arabic and Middle East studies. Recently, however, this has begun to change in ways that could have significant, positive long-term repercussions for the field of Palestinian cultural studies if followed through. Most notably, scholars of Palestinian literature are breaking the confines of Arabic and Middle Eastern studies and joining the ranks of departments of English literary studies, exposing Palestinian literature to a far broader audience. Whereas it has long be de rigeur for departments of English to host scholars of African, South Asian and Caribbean literatures as part of their postcolonial teaching and research expertise, it is only recently and tentatively that university English departments have shown a willingness to accept Palestinian literary studies scholars into the postcolonial fold. The incorporation of Palestinian cultural studies into the humanistic and social scientific fields more broadly, and Palestinian literature into English and literary studies specifically, bears the potential for critical contributions to both Palestinian studies and the new disciplinary settings in which it finds itself. In English and literary studies, for instance, the undeniable colonial present of the Palestinian situation problematizes the ever fraught prefix ‘post’ in postcolonial studies. Whereas the canonical postcolonial texts to which students of English and literary studies are commonly exposed distance the colonial experience both temporally (as something that happened in the distant past) and spatially (as something that happened in distant, far-flung territories), the Palestinians’ present-colonial situation makes inescapable the ongoing and immediate nature of colonialism, and the complicity of metropolitan states in its perpetuation. Read in tandem with other literatures of indigenous peoples subject to white European settler colonialism – Native Americans, First Nations, Aborigines – Palestinian literature contributes to a comparative settler colonial paradigm that situates colonialism in the metropolitan home and in the ongoing present.

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The Salaita Affair It is precisely because Palestinian literature’s inclusion into the fields of postcolonial and indigenous studies threatens to upset the complacency of the status quo in which European colonialism is a closed chapter, and in any case, one in which Zionism and the modern state of Israel played no part, that there have been such vociferous, reactionary attempts to forestall Palestinian studies’ break from its Arabic/Middle Eastern Studies confines. Here the case of Steven Salaita is instructive. Steven Salaita’s firing from a tenured position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) puts the issue of the disciplinary (i.e. punitive) dimensions of rigid disciplinarity into stark relief. UIUC trotted out the canard of academic ‘civility’ to justify its firing of Salaita from a tenured position in the department of American Indian Studies, a reference to Salaita’s vociferous social media criticism of Israel and its supporters in response to Israel’s relentless onslaught against the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.6 In response to his firing, scholars and scholarly organizations rallied to Salaita’s defence, affirming his fundamental freedom of speech.7 However, Salaita’s defenders have largely failed to engage with another justification offered by Salaita’s detractors for his firing: his lack of qualifications in the field of American Indian Studies. Writing for the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, Robert Weissberg concedes that Salaita’s ‘offensive tweets or incivility are irrelevant’. Instead, he states, ‘killing the appointment should have been about scholarly qualifications and why the American Indian Studies Program failed to uphold high standards’. Namely, he argues that ‘deans and trustees should have asked why somebody who wrote six books on Arab and Middle Eastern politics but not a single opus on Native Americans is hired in American Indian Studies’.8 In a similar vein, David Bernstein wondered in a Washington Post blog ‘how someone whose [. . .] published work mostly has nothing to do with Native American Studies wound up getting offered a job in a Native American Studies department.’ Bernstein subsequently revised the article, stating ‘I stand corrected; one of [Salaita’s] six books, called The Holy Land in Transit, “compares the dynamics of settler colonialism in the United States related to Native Americans with the circumstances in Israel related to

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the Palestinians,”’ the scare quotes expressing contemptuous scepticism at the comparison between Native Americans and the Palestinians.9 It is a scepticism shared by Liel Liebowitz who, writing for Tablet Magazine, asserts that: The first thing one learns about Salaita is that very little of what he has written seems to have anything to do with the field of study in which he claims expertise and in which he was offered a job, American Indian Studies. Look at the shelf of works authored by Salaita and you’ll see Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures and Politics; Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes from and What it Means for Politics Today; Modern Arab American Fiction: A Reader’s Guide; [. . .] and other titles that have absolutely nothing to do with the Sioux or the Seminoles. Salaita’s most notable work about Native Americans, The Holy Land in Transit, compares them to the Palestinians.10 Liebowitz, like Bernstein, offers no counter-argument to the relationship between Native American and Palestinian experiences of settler colonialism; the incommensurability and incomparability of the two cases are presented as a clear-cut case of common sense that requires no additional commentary. Such justifications for Salaita’s firing wilfully ignore not only the fact that Salaita earned his doctorate in the field of Native American Studies and the numerous scholarly articles Salaita has published in the field, but also the opportunities for scholarly inquiry posed by and parallels between Palestinian and Native American experiences of European settler colonialism.11 The congruence between European settlement of modern-day Canada and the United States on the one hand and Zionist settlement of Palestine on the other, and the deleterious effects such settlement had on the indigenous populations of both regions can scarcely be countenanced. This is more than just a case of wilful blindness to indigenous peoples’ common experience of settler colonialism. It is a reflection of the failure of the Anglophone Western academy to incorporate the study of indigenous experience at home (Canada, Australia, the United States) and in client states (Israel) with that of indigenous peoples in temporally and spatially far-off places that have come to

202

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AND PALESTINIAN

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comprise more conventional components of postcolonial studies, such as India, South Africa and the Caribbean. As a result, whereas apologists for Israel will vociferously engage with and attempt to refute comparisons between South African Apartheid and Israel’s ethnically based system of privilege and exclusion, they do not deign to engage with comparisons between the indigenous peoples of Canada, Australia and the United States; and the Palestinians, as seen in the examples above. Seen in this light, the hiring of Steven Salaita at UIUC’s American Indian Studies programme posed a threat to the colonial status quo not just, or even primarily, because of his outspokenness in his criticisms of Israel, but, moreover, because scholarship like Salaita’s itself threatens to expose the present-colonial realities of contemporary settler-states by linking together the ongoing colonial experiences of indigenous peoples, be they Native American or Palestinian, in contemporary settler-colonies. After over a year of litigation, in November of 2015 UIUC eventually settled the case with Salaita, compensating him $875,000 in a tacit acknowledgement of the abrogation of his right to free speech and due process in his firing, though the settlement did not include an explicit admission of wrongdoing by the University. Most crucially, however, the settlement did not reinstate Salaita to the position to which he had been hired. Thus, while there is undoubtedly a moral victory to be found in UIUC’s settlement and the compensation it agreed to pay Salaita in redress, it is a concomitant setback in efforts to articulate Palestinians’, Native Americans’, and First Nations’ common experiences of colonialism in contemporary settler-colonies through institutional structures such as the university. As becomes clear, then, Palestinian literature does not only contain within it its own particular political valences that must be accounted for. So too does the study of Palestinian literature itself carry its own inherent politics, both in terms of its potential to subvert and undermine any contemporary ‘post’colonial complacency by linking together and drawing attention to present-colonial situations, but also through the politically motivated, reactionary responses from those sectors threatened by the articulation and elucidation of the presentcolonial conditions of indigenous peoples in contemporary settlerstates. Palestinian literary studies’ tentative break from the confines of Arabic/Middle East Studies points to a gathering movement that holds

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the potential to both contribute fruitfully to other fields of studies while itself benefiting from disciplinary cross-pollination. As aptly demonstrated by the case of Steven Salaita, however, this movement is not without its detractors and will confront resistance precisely due to its subversive potential. Far from being a reason to abandon the project, this is all the more reason for it to be pursued with dogged persistence.

NOTES

Introduction 1. For further discussion of the dialectic between cultural texts and the historicalpolitical contexts out of which they emerge, see the concluding chapter in the present book. 2. Rebecca L. Stein and Ted Swedenburg, Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), p. 432. 3. George Khleifi and Nurith Gertz, Palestinian Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), p. 233. 4. Hamid Dabashi (ed.), Dreams of a Nation (London: Verso, 2006), p. 234. 5. Kamal Boullata, Palestinian Art (London: Saqi, 2009). 6. Ami Elad-Bouskila, Modern Palestinian Literature and Culture (London: Routledge, 1999). 7. Ibrahim Taha, The Palestinian Novel: A Communication Study (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002). 8. Barbara M. Parmenter, Giving Voice to Stones: Place and Identity in Palestinian Literature (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994). 9. Khaled Furani, Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012); Khalid A. Sulaiman’s 1984 work, Palestine and Modern Arab Poetry is more a study on the effect the Palestine issue had on Arabic poetry more broadly than a study of Palestinian poetry per se (London: Zed Books, 1984). 10. Anna Ball, Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective (New York: Routledge, 2012). 11. Anna Bernard, Rhetorics of Belonging (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013). 12. Mary N. Layoun, Travels of a Genre: The Modern Novel and Ideology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 10. 13. Ibid., p. 60.

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14. Rahul Verma, ‘The Book of Gaza Focuses on the Reality of Daily Life beyond the Conflict’, The National, 1 June 2014. Available at: http://www.thenational. ae/arts-culture/the-book-of-gaza-focuses-on-the-reality-of-dailylife-beyondthe-conflict [accessed 1 July 2014]. 15. A selection of works on the short story includes Valerie Shaw, The Short Story: A Critical Introduction (London: Longman, 1983); Charles Edward May, The New Short Story Theories (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1994); Ian Reid, The Short Story (London: Taylor & Francis, 1977); Charles Edward May, The Short Story: The Reality of Artifice (New York: Twayne, 1995); Susan Lohafer and Jo Ellen Clarey (eds), Short Story Theory at a Crossroads (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989); Mary Louise Pratt, ‘The Short Story: The Long and the Short of It’, Poetics, 10 (1981), 175– 94; Paul March-Russell, The Short Story: An Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). 16. Sabry Hafez, The Quest for Identities: The Development of the Modern Arabic Short Story (London: Saqi, 2007), p. 13. 17. Ibid., p. 16. 18. Ibid., p. 26. 19. Frank O’Connor, The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story (London: Macmillan, 1965), p. 18. 20. Ibid., p. 19. 21. Ronan McDonald, ‘Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of the Troubles’, The Yearbook of English Studies, 35 (2005), 249 –63 (p. 250). 22. Abdellatif Akbib, ‘Birth and Development of the Moroccan Short Story’, Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, 54/1 (2000), 67 – 87 (p. 69). 23. Hanan Ashrawi, ‘The Contemporary Palestinian Poetry of Occupation’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 7/3 (1978), 77–101 (pp. 85, 87). 24. Ghassan Kanafani, Adab al-muqa¯wama fı¯ filistı¯n al-muhtalla 1948– 1966 ˙ ˙ (Nicosia: Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1987). ˙ 25. Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh, Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). 26. Amy Zalman, ‘Gender and the Palestinian Narrative of Return in Two Novels by Ghassan Kanafani’, The Arab Studies Journal, 10/11 (2003), 17 – 43. 27. Tarek El-Ariss, Trials of Arab Modernity: Literary Affects and the New Political (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), p. 10. 28. Ibid., p. 10. 29. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), p. 17.

Chapter 1

Nakba

1. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, The Palestinian People: A History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 147 – 66; Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (Boston: Beacon Press, 2007), pp. 131–5.

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2. The denial of the existence of the Palestinians in one form or another has proven a particularly recalcitrant trope in Zionist ideology, beginning at least as far back as the popular Zionist slogan characterizing Palestine as ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’. Though this phrase was popularized and is often (mis)attributed to Israel Zangwill, Zangwill himself attributes it to Lord Shaftesbury, arguing the phrase does not so much refer to a literal absence of inhabitants in Palestine, but rather the view that the native inhabitants of the land do not constitute ‘a people’ (see Nur Masalha, The Politics of Denial: Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (London: Pluto Press, 2003), p. 13). Perhaps the next most famous denial of the Palestinians’ existence is Golda Meir’s assertion ‘There was no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? . . . It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist’ (Sunday Times (London, 15 June 1969)). The most (in)famous scholarly denial of the Palestinians’ existence was Joan Peters’ book From Time Immemorial (Chicago: JKAP Publications, 1985), a work subsequently dismissed as a tendentious reading of history and archival documents with some going so far as to label it an outright fraud (cf. Norman G. Finkelstein, ‘Disinformation and the Palestine Question: The Not-So-Strange Case of Joan Peters’s From Time Immemorial’, in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. by Christopher Hitchens and Edward W. Said (London: Verso, 1988), pp. 33 – 69). We were once again reminded of the resilience of this trope in the lead up to the 2012 American presidential elections when aspiring Republican nominee, Newt Gingrich, averred that the Palestinians are an ‘invented people’, saying ‘I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it’s tragic’ (quoted in ‘Palestinians Are an Invented People, Says Newt Gingrich’, The Guardian (London, 10 December 2011). Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/ 2011/dec/10/palestinians-invented-people-newt-gingrich). 3. Elias Khoury, ‘Rethinking the Nakba’, Critical Inquiry, 38/2 (2012), 250 – 66 (p. 263). 4. Ahmad H. Sa’ di and Lila Abu-Lughod, Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 6 – 7. 5. Avi Shlaim, ‘The Debate about 1948’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 27 (1995), 287 –304 (p. 297). 6. Sa’di and Abu-Lughod, p. 6. 7. Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947– 1949 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). 8. Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 602– 3.

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9. Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947 – 1949, p. 286. Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi has long argued against the Zionist narrative that Palestinians were instructed to flee their homes by Arab radio broadcasts. His arguments and findings can be found in Walid Khalidi, ‘Why Did the Palestinians Leave, Revisited’, Assembly, 34 (2005), 42 – 54. 10. Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, p. 4. 11. Edward Said, ‘Invention, Memory, Place’, Critical Inquiry, 26 (2000), 175 –92 (p. 176). 12. Joel Beinin, ‘Forgetfulness for Memory: The Limits of the New Israeli History’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 34 (2005), 6 – 23 (p. 16) (emphasis added). 13. Nur Masalha, ‘A Critique of Benny Morris’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 21 (1991), 90 – 7 (p. 96). 14. Ahmad H. Sa’di, ‘Afterword: Reflections on Representation, History, and Moral Accountability’, in Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, ed. by Ahmad H. Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 287–314 (p. 308). 15. Beinin, p. 16. 16. Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, p. 14. 17. Samira Azzam, ‘Fı¯ al-Tarı¯q Ila¯ Birak Sulayma¯n’, in Wa Qisas Ukhra¯ (Beirut: ˙ ˙ ˙ Dar al-ʿAwda, 1982), pp. 23– 32; Samira Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ, in Wa Qisas ˙ ˙ Ukhra¯ (Beirut: Da¯r al-ʾAwda, 1982), pp. 73– 93; Samira Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, in Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature, ed. by Salma Khadra Jayyusi (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), pp. 389 – 99; Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Ard Al-burtuqa¯l Al-hazı¯n’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯mila: al-qisas al-qası¯ra ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ (Nicosia: Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1987); Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Land ˙ of Sad Oranges’, in Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999), pp. 75– 80. 18. Ahmad H. Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod, ‘Introduction: The Claims of Memory’, in Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, ed. by Ahmad H. Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 1– 24 (p. 6). 19. Jeffrey K. Olick and Joyce Robbins, ‘Social Memory Studies: From “Collective Memory” to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices’, Annual Review of Sociology, 24 (1998), 105– 40. 20. Palestine Remembered, ‘Al-Nakba’s Oral History Project’. Available at: http://www.palestineremembered.com/OralHistory/ [accessed 11 April 2013]. For more on Palestinian oral histories of the Nakba see: Nur Masalha, ‘Remembering the Palestinian Nakba: Commemoration, Oral History and Narratives of Memory’, Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 7 (2008), 123 – 56; Rosemary Sayigh, ‘Women’s Nakba Stories: Between Being and Knowing’, in Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, ed. by Ahmad H. Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 135 – 58.

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23 –27

21. For more on memory and the nation see Gil Z. Hochberg, ‘Memory, Forgetting, Love’, in In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), pp. 116– 21. 22. Sa’di and Abu-Lughod, p. 7. 23. Jean-Paul Sartre, What Is Literature?, trans. by Bernard Frechtman (London: Methuen, 1967). 24. Ibid., p. 28. 25. Ibid., pp. 29 – 30 (emphasis added). 26. Ibid., p. 45 (emphasis added). 27. Ibid., p. 46. 28. Verena Klemm, ‘Different Notions of Commitment (Iltiza¯m) and Committed Literature (al-adab Al-multazim) in the Literary Circles of the Mashriq’, Middle Eastern Literatures, 3 (2000), 51 – 62; M.M. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, in Critical Perspectives on Modern Arabic Literature, ed. by Issa J. Boullata (Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1980), pp. 23 – 44. 29. M.W. Daly (ed.), The Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume 2: From 1517 to the End of the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 339. 30. Paul Starkey, Modern Arabic Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), p. 76. 31. Bassam Frangieh, ‘Modern Arabic Poetry: Vision and Reality’, in Tradition, Modernity, and Postmodernity in Arabic Literature, ed. by Kamal Abdel-Malek and Wael Hallaq (Leiden: Brill, 2000), pp. 222– 50 (p. 223). 32. Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), p. 16 (original emphasis). 33. Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim write: ‘The defeat in 1948 had rippling effects throughout the Arab lands. In country after country, the old regimes became vulnerable to ideological currents that ultimately swept them away. A coup in Syria in 1949 overthrew President Shukri al-Qawwatli and established a pattern of military intervention in Arab politics. King ‘Abdallah was assassinated in 1951, and Egypt entered a period of political instability that culminated in the Free Officers’ revolution in July 1952’ (Eugene L. Rogan and Avi Shlaim, The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 170). 34. Klemm, p. 51. 35. Ibid. 36. See for instance Igor Golomstock, Totalitarian Art in the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, Fascist Italy, and the People’s Republic of China (London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011); Eugene Lunn, Marxism and Modernism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). 37. Theodor Adorno and others, Aesthetics and Politics (London: Verso, 1980). 38. Klemm, p. 53.

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39. Samah Selim, The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt 1880– 1985 (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 139. 40. Samah Selim, ‘The Narrative Craft: Realism and Fiction in the Arabic Canon’, Edebiyat: Journal of Middle East Literatures, 14 (2003), 109– 28 (p. 110). 41. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 32. 42. Quoted in Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 33. 43. David Caute, ‘Introduction’, in What is Literature? (London: Methuen, 1967), pp. vii – xvii (p. xii). 44. Badawi summarizes the thoughts of Anwar al-Ma’dawi, a member of al-Adab’s editorial board saying Ma’dawi ‘finds that Sartre is not committed enough. Whereas Sartre exempts poetry (together with music and painting) from the duty of commitment, Ma’dawi thinks it is clearly wrong to limit it to drama and the novel since poetry is out to aim at the same noble social ends’ (Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, pp. 33 – 4). For more on the history and politics of Palestinian and Arabic poetry, see Khaled Furani, Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012). 45. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, pp. 23 –4. 46. Quoted in Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 24 (emphasis added). 47. M.M. Badawi, ‘Introduction’, in Modern Arabic Literature, ed. by M.M. Badawi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 1 – 35 (p. 22). 48. Sartre, p. 15 (emphasis added). 49. Ibid., pp. 15 – 16. 50. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 28. 51. Ibid., p. 32. 52. Ghassan Kanafani, All That’s Left to You: A Novella and Other Stories, trans. by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed (Austin: University of Texas at Austin, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1990); Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Ma¯ Tabaqqa¯ Lakum’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯milah: al-riwa¯ya¯t (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, ˙ 2005), pp. 153– 233. 53. Aida Azouqa, ‘Ghassan Kanafani and William Faulkner: Kanafani’s Achievement in “All That’s Left to You”’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 31 (2000), 147–70 (p. 147). 54. Aida Azouqa neatly summarizes this debate, stating, in part, that ‘A noisy controversy over the relation of literary form to content erupted in the Cairo newspapers in 1954. Led by such figureheads as Ta¯ha¯ Husayn (1889–1973) and ˙ ˙ ʿAbba¯s Mahmu¯d al-ʿAqqa¯d (1889–1964), the opposition launched a campaign ˙ that demanded the restoration of the autonomy of artistic expression, while Luwı¯s ʿAwad (1915–90) and Muhammad Mandu¯r (1907–65), among others, ˙ ˙ represented the defenders of committed literature. The controversy then took the form of a series of open debates, of which the one held under the auspices of AlA¯da¯b in Beirut in 1954 between Raʾı¯f Khu¯rı¯ and Ta¯ha¯ Husayn typifies the major ˙ ˙ concerns of the two camps’ (Azouqa, p. 150).

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55. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 24 (emphasis added). 56. Andreas Pflitsch, ‘The End of Illusions: On Arab Postmodernism’, in Arabic Literature: Postmodern Perspectives, ed. by Angelika Neuwirth, Andreas Pflitsch and Barbara Winckler (London: Saqi, 2010), pp. 25 – 37 (p. 29). 57. See Chapter 2 for more on this latter phase of Kanafani’s writing. 58. A previous version of this section was published as ‘Unacknowledged Pioneer: Gender, Nation, and Class in the Short Stories of Samı¯rah ʿAzza¯m’ in Journal of Arabic Literature, 45/1 (2014), 81–103. Available at: DOI 10.1163/ 1570064x-12341277. 59. cf. Kathyanne Piselli, ‘Samira Azzam: Author’s Works and Vision’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 20 (1988), 93 –108; Yasir Suleiman, ‘Palestine and the Palestinians in the Short Stories of Samı¯ra ʿAzza¯m’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 22 (1991), 154 – 65. 60. Liana Badr, ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’, in Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r (Lattakia: Da¯r alHiwa¯r, 1985), pp. 56– 69; Sahar Khalifeh, Mudhakkara¯t Imraʾa Ghayr ˙ Wa¯qiʿiyya (Beirut: Da¯r al-A¯da¯b, 1986). 61. Amal, Amireh, ‘Between Complicity and Subversion: Body Politics in Palestinian National Narrative’, South Atlantic Quarterly, 102 (2003), 747 – 72 (p. 765). 62. Adania Shibli, ‘Out of Time’, Drunken Boat, 2011. Available at: http://www. drunkenboat.com/db13/2f.ic/shibli/out.php [accessed 15 April 2012] (emphasis added). 63. Ibid. 64. Ibid. 65. Ibid. 66. Ronan McDonald, ‘Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of the Troubles’, The Yearbook of English Studies, 35 (2005), 249 –63 (p. 249). 67. McDonald, p. 250. 68. Azzam, ‘Fı¯ al-Tarı¯q Ila¯ Birak Sulayma¯n’; Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’; Azzam, ˙ ‘Bread of Sacrifice’. 69. Azzam, ‘Fı¯ al-Tarı¯q Ila¯ Birak Sulayma¯n’, p. 26 (all quotes from ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q . . . ’ ˙ my translation). 70. Ibid., p. 25. 71. Ibid., p. 27. 72. Ibid. (emphasis added). 73. Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’; Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’. 74. Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’, p. 83; Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, pp. 393 –4 (translations from ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’ by Kathie Piselli and Dick Davies found in Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992). 75. Amireh, pp. 749– 50. 76. Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’, pp. 86– 6; Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’, p. 83; Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, p. 395.

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77. Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’, p. 90; Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, p. 398. 78. Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’, p. 91; Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, p. 398. 79. For further discussion of biblical symbolism in Palestinian literature, see Angelika Neuwirth, ‘Hebrew Bible and Arabic Poetry: Mahmoud Darwish’s Palestine: From a Paradise Lost to a Homeland Made of Words’, in Mahmoud Darwish: Exile’s Poet (Northampton: Olive Branch Press, 2008), pp. 167– 90. 80. Azzam, ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’, p. 93; Azzam, ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, p. 399. 81. Adeed Dawisha, Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), pp. 107– 213. 82. For an account of the fecklessness of the rule of the so-called aʿya¯n, see Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997). 83. For more on women and the Algerian nationalist struggle see Lazreg Marnia, The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question (New York: Routledge, 1994). 84. Samira Azzam, ‘Al-Ashya¯ʾ al-Saghı¯ra’, in Ashya¯ʾ Saghı¯ra (Beirut: Da¯r al-ʿAwda, ˙ ˙ 1982), pp. 5 – 15. 85. Ibid., p. 7 (all quotes from ‘Al-Ashya¯ʾ al-saghı¯ra’, my translation). ˙ 86. See for instance Badr, Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’ discussed in full below. See also Sahar Khalifeh, Ba¯b Al-sa¯ha (Beirut: Da¯r al-Adab, 1990); Khalifeh, ˙ Mudhakkara¯t Imraʾa Ghayr Wa¯qiʿiyya; Sahar Khalifeh, Lam Naʿud Jawa¯rı¯ Lakum (Cairo: Da¯r al-Maʿa¯rif, 1974). For further discussion see Lisa Suhair Majaj, Therese Saliba and Paula W. Sunderman, Intersections: Gender, Nation, and Community in Arab Women’s Novels (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002). 87. Azzam, ‘Al-Ashya¯ʾ al-Saghı¯ra’, p. 11. ˙ 88. Ibid., p. 13. 89. Ibid., p. 15. 90. Samira Azzam, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, in Ashya¯ʾ Saghı¯ra (Beirut: Da¯r al-ʾAwda, 1982), ˙ ˙ pp. 17 – 26; Samira Azzam, ‘Her Tale’, in Qissat: Short Stories by Palestinian Women, ed. by Jo Glanville, trans. by Rima Hassouneh (London: Telegram, 2006), pp. 170– 6. 91. Azzam, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, p. 24; Azzam, ‘Her Tale’, p. 174 (translations from ˙ ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ by Rima Hassouneh in Jo Glanville, Qissat: Short Stories by ˙ Palestinian Women (London: Telegram, 2006). 92. ʿAzzam, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, p. 25; Azzam, ‘Her Tale’, p. 174. ˙ 93. ʿAzzam, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, p. 25; Azzam, ‘Her Tale’, p. 175. ˙ 94. In another of ʿAzza¯m’s stories from the same collection, ‘ʿAla¯ al-darb’ (1954, ‘On the Trail’), the point is made more forcefully. The story centres upon a woman who works cleaning bottles for refilling in a beer brewery. Once again she is the subject of gossip among her peers, this time because she had the fortune to become engaged to a ‘good man’. Her co-workers, the unmarried ones at least, therefore gossip out of resentment, leading the woman to observe: ‘She says these things and yet I do not hate her. Perhaps she too longs for someone to relieve her

212

95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102.

103. 104. 105. 106.

107.

108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120.

NOTES

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46 –57

of her situation. That is her right. Why can’t she and I and all of us be like the spoiled ladies who sit at the windowsills of their homes idly chatting, drinking coffee, lifting the cups to their lips with chubby ivory hands decorated with shiny rings, laughing at us whenever we pass in front of them with our threadbare dresses’ (Samira Azzam, ‘ʾAla¯ al-Darb’, in Ashya¯ʾ al-Saghı¯ra (Beirut: ˙ Da¯r al-ʿAwda, 1982), pp. 59–65 (p. 63) (my translation). ʿAzzam, ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’, p. 26; Azzam, ‘Her Tale’, p. 176. ˙ Samira Azzam, ‘Fate’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 19 (1988), 142– 8 (p. 142). Ibid., p. 142 (emphasis added). Ibid., p. 144. Ibid. Ibid., p. 145. Ibid. This is not to say that patriarchy is not deeply implicated in economic and class issues, but rather to reiterate Azzam’s tendency to compartmentalize the two issues, ultimately subordinating issues of gender to class. Azzam, ‘Fate’, p. 146. Ibid., pp. 147– 8. Ibid., p. 148. Samira Azzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, in Wa Qisas Ukhra¯ (Beirut: Da¯r al-ʾAwda, 1982), ˙ ˙ pp. 127– 35; Samira Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, Journal of Arabic Literature, trans. by M.Y.I.H. Suleiman, 20 (1989), 163– 7. ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 130; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 163 (emphasis added – translations from ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’ by M.Y.I.H. Suleiman in Azzam, ‘I Want Water’). ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 131; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 164. Ibid. Amireh, p. 763. ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 133; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 165 (emphasis added). ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 133; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 165. Ibid. ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 133; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, pp. 165– 6 (emphasis added). ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 132; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, pp. 164–5. ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 134; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 166. ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 135; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 166 (emphasis added). ʿAzzam, ‘Urı¯d Ma¯ʾ’, p. 135; Azzam, ‘I Want Water’, p. 167. Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, p. 135. For more on the equation of woman with nation in the Arab context see Beth Baron, Egypt as Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005). More general discussion of the gender politics of nationalism can be found in Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender & Nation (London: SAGE, 1997).

NOTES

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213

121. cf. Amireh. Liana Badr’s Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r will be discussed in Chapter 2 (Badr, ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’.) See also Khalifeh, Lam Naʿud Jawa¯rı¯ Lakum; Khalifeh, Mudhakkara¯t Imraʾa Ghayr Waqiʿiyya; Khalifeh, Ba¯b Al-sa¯ha. ˙ 122. See, for instance, Barbara Harlow, ‘Return to Haifa: “Opening the Borders” in Palestinian Literature’, Social Text, 13/14 (1986), 3 – 23; Amy Zalman, ‘Gender and the Palestinian Narrative of Return in Two Novels by Ghassan Kanafani’, The Arab Studies Journal, 10/11, no. 2/1 (2003), 17 – 43; Aida Azouqa, ‘Ghassan Kanafani and William Faulkner: Kanafani’s Achievement in “All That’s Left to You”’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 31/2 (2000), 147 – 70; Ian Campbell, ‘Blindness to Blindness: Trauma, Vision and Political Consciousness in Ghassan Kanafani’s “Returning to Haifa”’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 32 (2001), 53 – 73; Mary N. Layoun, Travels of a Genre: The Modern Novel and Ideology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990). 123. Thirty-six out of Kanafani’s 42 stories published in collections prior to 1967 were written between 1958 and 1962, with two stories written as early as 1956, and the latest indicating 1965 as the year of writing. 124. See also Edward Said’s comments on ‘disintegration’ in Palestinian and Lebanese writing in ‘Afterword’, in Little Mountain (Collins Harvill), pp. 135 – 47. 125. ‘Death of Bed Number 12’ has been translated in Denys Johnson-Davies, Modern Arabic Short Stories (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1993). ‘Al-Bawmah fı¯ al-ghurfah al-baʿı¯dah’, ‘Shayʾ la¯ yadhhab’, and ‘Muntasaf aya¯r’ are ˙ yet to be translated into English. 126. All of Kanafani’s stories written between 1961 and 1965 indicate Beirut as the place of writing. 127. Tom Charles, ‘The Unknown Hell of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon’, Jadaliyya, 2011. Available at: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/3490/ the-unknown-hell-of-palestinian-refugees-in-lebanon [accessed 5 May 2013]. 128. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Abʿad Min Al-hudu¯d’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯milah ˙ (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), pp. 275 – 88 (p. 278) ˙ (all translations from ‘Abʿad Min Al-hudu¯d’ are my own). ˙ 129. Kanafani, ‘Abʿad Min Al-hudu¯d’, p. 281. ˙ 130. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. by John Dover Wilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 60– 1. 131. Kanafani, ‘Abʿad Min Al-hudu¯d’, pp. 282– 5. ˙ 132. Kanafani also famously deployed this strategy of shifting between second person plural and singular in ‘ʿA¯ʾid Ila¯ Haifa¯’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯milah: ˙ al-riwa¯ya¯t (Beirut: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 2005), pp. 337 – 416; ˙ Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Returning to Haifa’, in Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2000), pp. 149 – 96. 133. Kanafani, ‘Abʿad Min Al-hudu¯d’, p. 285. ˙ 134. Ibid., p. 286.

214

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62 –74

135. Ibid., pp. 287– 8. 136. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Al-Akhdar Wa-al-ahmar’, in Al-Athar al-Kamila: al-Qisas ˙ ˙ al-Qası¯rah (Nicosia: Muʿassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), pp. 351– 60 ˙ (p. 353) (all translations from ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ are my own). ˙ ˙ 137. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Al-Akhdar Wa-al-ahmar’, p. 354. ˙ ˙ 138. Khoury, ‘Rethinking the Nakba’, p. 5. 139. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Al-Akhdar Wa-al-ahmar’, p. 358. ˙ ˙ 140. Ibid., p. 359. 141. Ibid., p. 360 (emphasis added). 142. Edward Said, ‘Permission to Narrate’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 13 (1984), 27 – 48. 143. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Kafr al-Manjam’, in Al-Atha¯r Al-ka¯milah: Al-qisas Al-qası¯rah ˙ ˙ ˙ (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), 437–46; Kanafani, All ˙ That’s Left to You; Kanafani, ‘Ma¯ Tabaqqa¯ Lakum’. 144. cf. Hilary Kilpatrick, ‘Tradition and Innovation in the Fiction of Ghassan Kanafani’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 7 (1976), 53 – 64; Azouqa, ‘Ghassan Kanafani and William Faulkner: Kanafani’s Achievement in “All That’s Left to You”’; Radwa Ashour, Al-Tarı¯q ila al-khaymah: Dira¯sah fi ʿAmal Ghassan ˙ Kanafani (Beirut: Da¯r al-Adab, 1977). Stefan G. Meyer, The Experimental Arabic Novel: Postcolonial Literary Modernism in the Levant (Albany: SUNY Press, 2001), p. 352 (pp. 29 – 30). 145. Quoted in Aida Azouqa, p. 148 n. 2. See also Meyer, pp. 29 – 31. 146. Kanafani, ‘Kafr al-Manjam’, p. 442. 147. Ibid., p. 443. 148. Ibid. 149. Ibid. 150. Ibid., p. 444. 151. For instance: ‘A man can collect money in the twinkling of an eye there in Kuwait’ (Ghassan Kanafani, Men in the Sun & Other Palestinian Stories, trans. by Hilary Kilpatrick (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1999), p. 117 (p. 32)). 152. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Mawt Sarı¯r Raqam١٢’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯mila: al-qisas ˙ ˙ al-qası¯rah (Nicosia: Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), pp. 125– 52; ˙ ˙ Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Luʾluʾ Fı¯ Al-tarı¯q’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯milah: al-qisas ˙ ˙ ˙ al-qası¯rah (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), pp. 153– 63; ˙ ˙ Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Ilbat Zuja¯j Wahda’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯mila: al-qisas ˙ ˙ ˙ al-qası¯ra (Nicosia: Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), pp. 479– 94. ˙ ˙ 153. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Luʾluʾ Fı¯ Al-tarı¯q’. ˙ 154. Kanafani, ‘Kafr al-Manjam’, p. 445. 155. Ibid., p. 442. 156. Ibid., pp. 445– 6. 157. Ibid., p. 446. 158. Ibid. 159. Azouqa, p. 152.

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Naksa

1. Rashid Khalidi, ‘The Palestinians and 1948: The Underlying Causes of Failure’, in The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948, ed. by Eugene L. Rogan and Avi Shlaim (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 12 – 36 (pp. 21– 4). 2. Rogan and Shlaim, p. 170. 3. James Jankowski, Nasser’s Egypt, Arab Nationalism, and the United Arab Republic (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2002), p. 34. 4. Quoted in Nicholas J. Cull, David Culbert and David Welch, Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: 1500 to the Present (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003), p. 16. 5. P.J. Vatikiotis, Nasser and His Generation (London: Croom Helm, 1978), p. 272. 6. Quoted in Eugene Rogan, The Arabs: A History (London: Penguin Books, 2010), p. 384. 7. Rami Ginat, Incomplete Revolution: Lutfi al-Khuli and Nasser’s Socialism in the 1960s (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 23– 5. 8. Bibliotheca Alexandrina, ‘Khita¯b Al-raʾı¯s Jama¯l Abdil Na¯sir Fı¯ Iftita¯h Majlis ˙ ˙ Al-umma’. Available at: http://nasser.bibalex.org/Data/website html/Nasser/ Nasser-Protect/website/0024/0053/0066/640326.htm [accessed 22 May 2013]. 9. Jankowski, pp. 165– 8. 10. Andrew James McGregor, A Military History of Modern Egypt (Westport: Praeger, 2006), p. 263. 11. Stephen M. Walt, The Origins of Alliances (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 86. 12. Walt, p. 86. 13. Rogan, p. 422. 14. Ibid., p. 424. 15. Ibid., p. 426. See also Michael Oren, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 178. 16. Ramez Farag, Personal Communication, 10 November 2011. 17. Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 191; Dirk Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 76– 93; Justin Leach, War and Politics in Sudan: Cultural Identities and the Challenges of the Peace Process (New York: I.B.Tauris, 2011), p. 17; David W. Lesch, Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), p. 1. 18. Tarik M. Yousef, ‘Development, Growth, and Policy Reform in the Middle East and North Africa Since 1950’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18 (2004), 91 – 115. 19. Kimmerling and Migdal, pp. 225– 6. 20. To be discussed in greater detail below.

216

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81 – 90

21. Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, p. 177. 22. Ibid., p. 182. 23. Masalha, The Politics of Denial: Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Problem, pp. 178 –217. 24. Kamal Salibi, The Modern History of Jordan (London: I.B.Tauris, 2006), pp. 222 –42. 25. Michael C. Hudson, ‘The Palestinian Factor in the Lebanese Civil War’, Middle East Journal, 32 (1978), 261– 78. 26. Sheila Ryan, ‘Israel’s Invasion of Lebanon: Background to the Crisis’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 11/12 (1982), 23 – 37; Rashid Khalidi, ‘Palestinian Politics after the Exodus from Beirut’, in The Middle East after the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986), pp. 233 – 54. 27. Yezid Sayigh, Armed Struggle and the Search for State (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), p. vii. 28. Kimmerling and Migdal, p. 130. 29. Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete (London: Abacus Books, 2001), p. 415. See also Matthew Hughes, ‘The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine’, English Historical Review, 124 (2009). 30. Khalidi, ‘The Palestinians and 1948: The Underlying Causes of Failure’, p. 26. 31. Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: The 1936– 1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2003), p. 171. 32. Quoted in Rogan, p. 253. 33. Ghassan Kanafani, The 1936– 39 Revolt in Palestine (New York: Committee for a Democratic Palestine, 1972). 34. Yezid Sayigh, p. 195. 35. Robert Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), p. 2 (emphasis added). 36. Kimmerling and Migdal, p. 250. 37. Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, p. 182. 38. Quoted in Yezid Sayigh, p. 195. 39. Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: The 1936– 1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past, p. 32. 40. Ibid. 41. Yezid Sayigh, pp. 177– 8. 42. Ibid., p. 178. 43. For extensive discussion of the political mythology associated with the Battle of Karama, see W. Andrew Terrill, ‘The Political Mythology of the Battle of Karameh’, Middle East Journal, 55 (2001), 91 –111.

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217

44. Rogan, p. 436. 45. Yezid Sayigh, pp. 178– 9. 46. Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, p. 197. 47. For more on the influence of Sartre’s notion of litte´rature engage´e on the Arabic literary scene see Chapter 1. 48. Verena Klemm, ‘Different Notions of Commitment (Iltiza¯m) and Committed Literature (al-adab Al-multazim) in the Literary Circles of the Mashriq’, Middle Eastern Literatures, 3 (2000), 51 – 62 (p. 52). 49. M.M. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, in Critical Perspectives on Modern Arabic Literature, ed. by Issa J. Boullata (Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1980), pp. 23 – 44 (p. 33). 50. Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 39. 51. Al-Tayeb Salih, Mawsim Al-hijra Ila¯ Al-shama¯l (Beirut: Dar al-’Awda, 1966); Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North, trans. by Denys Johnson-Davies (Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1969). 52. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Ma¯ Tabaqqa¯ Lakum’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯milah: al-riwa¯ya¯t (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 2005), pp. 153– 233; Ghassan ˙ Kanafani, All That’s Left to You: A Novella and Other Stories, trans. by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed (Austin: University of Texas at Austin, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1990). 53. Sonallah Ibrahim, Tilka Al-ra¯ʾiha (Cairo: Da¯r al-Thaqa¯fa al-Jadı¯da, 1969); ˙ Sonallah Ibrahim, That Smell and Notes from Prison, trans. by Robyn Cresswell (New York: New Directions Publishing, 2013). 54. Quoted in Badawi, ‘Commitment in Contemporary Arabic Literature’, p. 42. 55. Klemm, ‘Different Notions of Commitment (Iltizam) and Committed Literature (al-adab Al-multazim) in the Literary Circles of the Mashriq’, 58. 56. Ghassan Kanafani, Al-Adab Al-filistı¯nı¯ Al-muqa¯wim Taht Al-ihtila¯l 1948– ˙ ˙ ˙ 1968 (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 1968), p. 14 (my ˙ translation). 57. Ghassan Kanafani, Adab Al-muqa¯wama Fı¯ Filistı¯n Al-muhtalla 1948– 1966 ˙ ˙ (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, 1966); Kanafani, Al-Adab Al˙ filistı¯nı¯ Al-muqa¯wim Taht Al-ihtila¯l 1948–1968. ˙ ˙ ˙ 58. Tawfiq Salih, al-Makhdu¯ʿu¯n\The Dupes (Syria, 1972). 59. Sartre, p. 47. 60. Though ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq has not been translated into English in its entirety, many of the short stories contained therein can be found in Ghassan Kanafani, Palestine’s Children, trans. Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000). 61. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘ʿAn al-Rija¯l Wa al-Bana¯diq’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯mila: al-qisas al-qası¯ra (Nicosia: Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1973), ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ pp. 607 –774 (p. 611). 62. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Hamı¯d Yaqif ʿan Samaʿ Qisas Al-aʿma¯m’, in Al-Atha¯r al˙ ˙ ˙ ka¯mila: al-qisas al-qası¯ra (Nicosia: Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1973), ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙

218

63. 64. 65.

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76.

77. 78.

79. 80. 81. 82. 83.

84.

NOTES

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97 –112

pp. 755– 63; Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ Stories’, in Palestine’s Children, trans. by Karen E. Riley and Barbara Harlow (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000), pp. 123–8 (all translations from ʿAn al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq are my own). Kanafani, ‘Hamı¯d Yaqif ʿan Sama¯ʿ Qisas Al-aʿma¯m’, p. 758. ˙ ˙ ˙ Ibid. Ibid. Curiously, this passage is mistranslated in Riley and Harlow’s translation to read: ‘My wife brought in tea which we drank. She asked me pointedly, as was her custom, why did I have to lie?’ Kanafani, ‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ Stories’, p. 125. Kanafani, ‘Hamı¯d Yaquf ʿan Samaʿ Qisas Al-aʿma¯m’, pp. 759– 60. ˙ ˙ ˙ Ibid., pp. 760– 1. Ibid., p. 762. Ibid., p. 763. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, trans. by Constance Farrington (New York: Grove Press, 1963), p. 94. Fanon, p. 93 (emphasis added). Barbara Harlow, Resistance Literature (New York: Methuen, 1987), p. 87. Harlow, Resistance Literature, p. 89. Kimmerling and Migdal, p. 122. Barbara McKean Parmenter, Giving Voice to Stones (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994), pp. 42 – 7, 72 –85. For more on the political significance of the Palestinian peasant figure see Ted Swedenburg, ‘The Palestinian Peasant as National Signifier’, Anthropological Quarterly, 63 (1990), 18 –30 (pp. 22 –4). Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahaddath l-Eva ʿan Mansu¯r alladhi ˙ wasala ila¯ Safad’ in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯mila: al-qisas al-qası¯ra (Nicosia: Muʾassasat ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1973), pp. 643– 68 (p. 650). ˙ Kanafani, ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahadath l-Eva ʿan Mansu¯r alladhı¯ wasala ila¯ ˙ ˙ Safad’, p. 665. ˙ Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan Yaqu¯s ‘Ala Saya¯ra Inkiliziyya’, in Al-Atha¯r ˙ Al-ka¯mila: Al-qisas Al-qası¯ra (Nicosia: Muʾassasat Al-Abha¯th Al-ʿArabiyya, ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ 1975), 673– 4. Kanafani, ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahadath l-Eva ʿan Mansu¯r alathı¯ wasala ila¯ ˙ ˙ Safad’, pp. 645– 6. ˙ Kanafani, ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan Yaqu¯s ‘Ala Saya¯ra Inkiliziyya’, p. 678. ˙ Ibid., pp. 681– 2. Ibid., p. 683. See for instance, Ahmad Shboul’s discussion of modernism and alienation in contemporary Arabic poetry in Ahmad Shboul, ‘The Arab Poet and the City: Modernism and Alienation’, Literature and Aesthetics, 15 (2005), 59 – 74. Subsequent stories in Of Men and Guns follow the same titling format, referencing ‘The Youngster’, but Mansur is never specified as the eponymous ‘youngster’. Rather, these subsequent stories seem to take place in a different time and place, most likely in the refugee camps after 1967, as opposed to the

NOTES

85.

86. 87.

88.

89.

90.

91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107.

TO PAGES

112 –125

219

stories in ‘Part 1’ of the collection, all of which take place in Mandate Palestine, 1948, just prior to the Nakba. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Al-Saghı¯r Wa Abuh Wa al-Martı¯na Yadhhabu¯n Ila¯ Qalʿat Jidı¯n’, in Al-A¯tha¯r al-Ka¯mila: al-Qisas al-Qası¯ra (Nicosia: Mu’assasat ˙ ˙ al-Abhaath al-’Arabiyya, 1973), 700. We have already seen this in Samira Azzam’s ‘Khubz al-fida¯ʾ ’ and ‘Fı¯ al-tarı¯q ila¯ ˙ birak sulayma¯n’. Yahya Yakhlif, Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj (Amman: Dar al-Karmal li-al-Nashr wa-al-Tawzı¯ ʾ, 1977). The title story of the collection has been translated into English in Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri and Nur Elmessiri, A Land of Stone and Thyme: An Anthology of Palestinian Short Stories (London: Quartet, 1996), p. 251. For a far-reaching examination of the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon and their inhabitants, see Julie M. Peteet, Landscape of Hope and Despair: Palestinian Refugee Camps (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005). For extensive discussion of the Palestinian refugees’ position in Lebanon’s often volatile politics see Simon Haddad, The Palestinian Impasse in Lebanon: The Politics of Refugee Integration (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2003). For extensive discussion of the Lebanese Civil War and its contributing factors see Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002). Yahya Yakhlif, ‘Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj’, in Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj (Amman: Dar al-Karmal li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’, 1977), p. 11. Yakhlif, ‘Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj’, p. 7 (all translations from Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj are my own). Ibid., p. 8. Ibid., p. 10. Ibid., p. 11. Laleh Khalili (email to the author, 24 May, 2013). Mahmoud Darwish, Memory for Forgetfulness (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), p. 16 (original emphasis). Yakhlif, ‘Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj’, pp. 12 –13. Nikolay Gogol, ‘Taras Bulba’, in Taras Bulba and Other Tales (London: Dent, 1962), p. 12. Gogol, pp. 6 – 7. Ibid., p. 8. Yakhlif, ‘Nu¯rma¯ Wa Rajul Al-thalj’, p. 13. Ibid., p. 19. Ibid., p. 17. Ibid., p. 15. Yahya Yakhlif, ‘Al-Dabʿ’, in Nu¯rma¯ wa rajul al-thalj (Amman: Dar al-Karmal ˙ li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’, 1977), pp. 57 – 61. Yakhlif, ‘Al-Dabʿ’, p. 60. ˙

220

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126 –136

108. Ibid., pp. 59 – 60. 109. Layanah Badr and Barbara Harlow, A Balcony Over the Fakihani: Three Novellas, trans. by Peter Clark and Christopher Tingley (New York: Interlink Books, 1993), pp. 45 – 6 (emphasis added). 110. See for instance, Elias Khoury, Al-Jabal Al-saghı¯r (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1977); ˙ Elias Khoury, Mamlakat al-Ghuraba¯ʾ (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1993). For discussion of the relation between Khoury’s disintegrationist literary aesthetic and the Lebanese Civil War see Edward Said, ‘Afterword’, in Little Mountain (Collins Harvill), pp. 135–47. 111. Both thematic as well as aesthetic parallels can be drawn between Badr’s work on the one hand, and works emphasizing female subjectivity and interiority such as Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper on the other. With clear implications for Badr’s feminist literary project, Gilman would write in 1911: ‘fiction, under our androcentric culture, has not given any true picture of woman’s life, very little of human life, and a disproportioned section of man’s life’ (‘From The Man-Made World or Our Androcentric Culture’, in Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents, ed. Kolocotroni Vassili, Goldman Jane and Taxidou Olga (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1998), 188). 112. Liana Badr, ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’, in Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r (Lattakia: Da¯r al-Hiwa¯r, 1985), p. 60. ˙ 113. Ibid., p. 68. 114. Ibid., p. 68. 115. Ibid., p. 63. 116. Ibid., p. 59. 117. Ibid., p. 67. 118. Here too we see echoes of Samira Azzam’s indictment of family and relatives in the perpetuation of retrograde attitudes towards women in ‘Nası¯b’ (Fate). ˙ 119. Badr, ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’, p. 63. 120. Ibid., p. 56. 121. Ibid., p. 59. 122. Ibid., p. 67. 123. Ibid., p. 69. 124. Ibid., p. 65. 125. Ibid., p. 66. 126. Ibid. 127. Ibid., p. 65. 128. Ibid., p. 69. 129. Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 140. 130. Sarah Franklin, ‘Luce Irigaray and the Feminist Critique of Language’, University of Kent at Canterbury Women’s Studies Occasional Papers, 6 (1985), 15. 131. Badr, ‘Ana¯ Urı¯d al-Naha¯r’, p. 69.

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138 –139

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Chapter 3 Intifada 1. Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, p. 201. 2. Rami Nasrallah, ‘The First and Second Palestinian Intifadas’, in The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 56 – 68 (p. 56). 3. Yitzhak Rabin’s ‘broken bones policy’ achieved international infamy when a CBS cameraman captured four Israeli soldiers using stones and rifle butts to break the bones in the limbs of a detained and unarmed Palestinian. The images were broadcast on American television in February of 1988. As shocking as the international community may have found the images and strategies deployed by the Israeli military, a lengthy report by the Palestinian Human Rights organization, Al-Haq, emphasizes that they were by no means new or unprecedented: ‘The Israeli response to the uprising can be summarized in a few words: more of the same, but much more. Few of the repressive measures undertaken by the military authorities since December of 1987 were without precedent. These include beatings, opening fire at unarmed demonstrators, mass arrests, extra-judicial punishments like deportation, administrative detentions and house demolitions, collective sanctions like prolonged curfews, and other punishments which had been routinely meted out to the occupied population throughout the length of the occupation. A constant feature before and during the uprising has been the sheer disproportionality in the Israeli response to the perceived offence, be it participating in a demonstration, writing a slogan on a wall, or running a trade union. In short, the main patterns prevalent since 1967 have been consistently maintained during the past year’ (Al-Haq, Punishing a Nation: Human Rights Violations during the Palestinian Uprising December 1987 – December 1988 (Boston: South End Press, 1990), p. xiii). For more, see Jamal R. Nassar and Roger Heacock (eds), Intifada: Palestine at the Crossroads (New York: Praeger, 1990), pp. 98 – 9. 4. Andrew Rigby, Living the Intifada (London: Zed Books, 1991), p. 59. 5. Yehoshua Porath, The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement, 1918– 1929 (London: Cass, 1974). 6. Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985). 7. John K. Cooly, Green March, Black September: The Story of the Palestinian Arabs (London: Cass, 1973). 8. For example, E.P Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977); Paul W. Lapp, ‘Palestinian Ceramic Chronology, 200 BC – AD 70’, American Schools of Oriental Research, 3 (1961); Joseph A. Fitzmyer and Daniel J. Harrington, A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic Texts: Second Century B.C. – Second Century A.D. (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1978). Of course, on a broader level, nomenclature of the territory of historic Palestine carries profound political importance. The point

222

9. 10.

11.

12. 13. 14.

15.

16. 17. 18.

19.

20. 21.

NOTES

TO PAGES

139 –143

here is merely to say that, insofar as shifts in trends of scholarly discourse can be discerned through use of the term ‘Palestinian’, its use in reference to the premodern geographical entity does not necessarily correlate with increasing scholarly recognition of a distinct Palestinian people today. Zachary Lockman and Joel Beinin (eds), Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising against Israeli Occupation (Cambridge: South End Press, 1989). Walid Khalidi, All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948 (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992). Kitty Warnock, Land before Honour: Palestinian Women in the Occupied Territories (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990). In her review of Warnock’s book, Ellen Fleischmann observes: ‘After a period of long neglect as a source of study, Palestinian women have recently become the focus of interest in a spate of articles and a handful of books. This phenomenon can be attributed primarily to the Intifada, and the common, not entirely accurate, perception of the immense transformations and gains in state it has brought to Palestinian women’s lives and political roles’ (Ellen Fleischmann, ‘Review: Land before Honour: Palestinian Women in the Occupied Territories’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 23 (1994), 83 – 5). Julie M. Peteet, Gender in Crisis: Women and the Palestinian Resistance Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991). Philippa Strum, The Women Are Marching: The Second Sex and the Palestinian Revolution (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1992). Ahmad M. Baker, ‘The Psychological Impact of the Intifada on Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza: An Exploratory Study’, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60 (1990), 496– 505. Raija-Leena Punama¨ki and Ramzi Suleiman, ‘Predictors and Effectiveness of Coping with Political Violence among Palestinian Children’, British Journal of Social Psychology, 29 (1990), 67 – 77. Kate Rouhana, ‘Children and the Intifadah’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 18 (1989), 110– 21. Daoud Kuttab, ‘A Profile of Stonethrowers’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 17 (1988), 14 – 23. It is impossible to provide an exhaustive list of books and scholarly articles on the First Intifada here; however, in addition to those already mentioned above, for a representative example see also Joost Hiltermann, Behind the Intifada: Labor and the Women’s Movements in the Occupied Territories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); Nassar and Heacock; Rigby. One notable exception to this trend that deserves mention is Julie Peteet’s trailblazing study of Palestinian graffiti and the Intifada, ‘The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada’, Cultural Anthropology, 11 (1996), 139– 59. Ibrahim Nasrallah, Al-Amwa¯j Al-barriyya (Amman: Dar al-Shuruq, 1989). Ibrahim Nasrallah (email to the author 22 January, 2013).

NOTES

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144 –154

223

22. Issa Muhammad Abu Shamsiya and Mahmoud Al-Atshaan, ‘Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya: Muha¯wala Fı¯ Tajrı¯b Shakl Fannı¯ Jadı¯d’, Kanʾaan, 3 (1991) (my ˙ translation). 23. Ibrahim Nasrallah (email to the author 22 January 2013). 24. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Saha¯bat al-Zill al-Mujafafa’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya ˙ ˙ (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 5 – 8 (p. 5) (all translations from Nasrallah’s Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya are my own). 25. Shamsiya and Al-Atshaan. 26. Ibrahim Nasrallah (email to the author 22 January 2013). 27. Shamsiya and Al-Atshaan. 28. Shlomo’s father is depicted ruing that Zionist forces did not ‘finish off’ the Palestinians at various points throughout the collection, while at its end he is depicted as marching at the head of a peace protest. Rather than having had a change of heart, however, Nasrallah argues that Shlomo’s father’s actions are an ‘expression of the falsity of peace movements, and the idea of peace in the Zionist project, it is a mockery of their claim for peace’ (Ibrahim Nasrallah, email to the author 22 January 2013). 29. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Liha¯dha¯ al-Jundı¯ Mahamma Wa¯hida Hiya al-Qatl’, in ˙ Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 39 – 43 (pp. 39 – 40). 30. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Liha¯dha¯ al-Jundı¯ Mahamma Wa¯hida Hiya al-Qatl’, ˙ pp. 40 – 1. 31. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Ra¯mbu¯ Fı¯ Sufu¯f Al-jaysh’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya ˙ (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 35 – 8 (p. 36). 32. Rigby, p. 65. 33. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Liha¯tha¯ al-Jundı¯ Mahamma Wa¯hida Hiya al-Qatl’, ˙ p. 42. 34. Ibid., pp. 42 – 3. 35. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Shlu¯mu¯ Wa Rambu¯ Fı¯ Mahamah Mushtarikah’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 45 – 9 (p. 45). 36. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Simphu¯niyyat Al-hudu¯ʾ Yaqtaʿha¯ ʾawa¯ʾ Al-dhiʾb’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q, 1989), pp. 51 – 7. 37. Rigby, p. 65. 38. Farsoun and Aruri, Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History, p. 227. 39. Quoted in Rigby, p. 66. 40. Rigby, p. 65. 41. Ibn al-Jabal, ‘O Negev (Ansar III Prison Song)’, in Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising against Israeli Occupation, ed. by Zachary Lockman and Joel Beinin (London: I.B.Tauris, 1990), pp. 304– 5. 42. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘ʿUsya¯n Naghamı¯’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 79 – 84. 43. Ibid.

224

NOTES

TO PAGES

155 –164

44. Ibid., pp. 82 – 3 (emphasis added). 45. Ibid., p. 83. 46. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘ʿA¯sifat al-Hama¯m’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: ˙ ˙ Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 21 – 5 (p. 24). 47. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Ra¯mbu¯ Fı¯ Sufu¯f Al-jaysh’, pp. 37 – 8. ˙ 48. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Alam Aqtilak Munth ʿA¯mayn’, in Al-Amwa¯ j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 13 – 15 (p. 14). This exchange is repeated once again, virtually verbatim, in Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Al-Nawa¯fidh Tarwı¯ al-Hika¯ya¯t’, in ˙ Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 89 – 92 (p. 92). 49. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Laʿ Ya¯ Khawa¯ja¯ Ana¯ Min Dayr Ya¯sı¯n’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 93 –6 (p. 93). 50. Ibrahim Nasrallah (email to the author 22 January, 2013). 51. Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (Rockville: Wildside Press, 2008), p. 15. 52. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Mukhayyam al-Jalzu¯n: ʿAsfu¯r Yaʿud Biʾughniyyah’, in ˙ Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 59 – 63 (p. 59). 53. Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri, ‘The Palestinian Wedding: Major Themes of Contemporary Palestinian Resistance Poetry’, Journal of Palestine Studies, 10 (1981), 77 – 99 (p. 97). 54. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Mukhayyam al-Jalzu¯n: ʿAsfu¯r Yaʿu¯d Biʾughniyya’, ˙ p. 61. 55. Ibid. 56. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Mukhayyam al-Jalzu¯n: ʿAsfu¯r Yaʿu¯d Biʿughniyya’, p. 60 ˙ 57. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Huna¯k Radı¯ʾ . . . Huna¯k Istinfa¯r’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 17 – 19 (p. 19). 58. Ibid., p. 19. 59. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Dawlah Fı¯ Ha¯dinah Bla¯stikiyyah’, in Al-Amwa¯j ˙ ˙ al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 27 – 32 (p. 30). 60. Nizar Qabbani, ‘Children Bearing Rocks’, in Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising against Israeli Occupation, ed. by Zachary Lockman and Joel Beinin (London: I.B.Tauris, 1990), p. 100. 61. Samira Meghdessian, ‘The Discourse of Oppression as Expressed in Writings of the Intifada’, World Literature Today, 72 (1998), 39 – 48 (p. 42). 62. We have seen this pattern occur in the wake of the Nakba, where an initial stunned silence was followed by optimism that Arab armies would liberate Palestine only to be confounded by the defeat of 1967 which, in turn, led to the rise of Palestinian armed resistance and the concomitant faith in the

NOTES

63. 64. 65.

66. 67. 68. 69.

70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76. 77. 78.

79. 80.

81. 82. 83. 84.

85.

TO PAGES

164 –179

225

Palestinian fida¯ʾı¯ to liberate the homeland, once again, only to be undermined by the Lebanese Civil War and the subsequent expulsion of Palestinian fighters from Lebanon in 1982. John Collins, Occupied by Memory: The Intifada Generation and the Palestinian State of Emergency (New York: New York University, 2004), p. 41. S. Yizhar Khirbet Khizeh (Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008), p. 104. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Al-Nawa¯fidh Tarwı¯ al-Hika¯ ya¯ t’, in Al-Amwa¯ j ˙ al-barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 89 – 92 (p. 90). Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Dawla Fı¯ Ha¯dina Bla¯stikiyya’, p. 27. ˙ ˙ Ibid., p. 29. Ibrahim Nasrallah (email to the author 22 January, 2013). Nadia Yaqub, ‘The Production of Locality in the Oral Palestinian Poetry Duel’, in Literature and Nation in the Middle East (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), pp. 16 – 30 (p. 20). Yaqub, p. 22. Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘ʿIna¯q al-Mawja’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 111– 13 (p. 113). Ibrahim Nasrallah, ‘Mada¯ al-Miqla¯ʿ’, in Al-Amwa¯j al-Barriyya (Amman: Da¯r al-Shuru¯q lilNashr wa al-Tawziʾ, 1989), pp. 115 – 18 (pp. 117 – 18). Khalifeh, Ba¯b Al-sa¯ha. ˙ Edward W. Said, After the Last Sky (London: Vintage, 1986), p. 19. Therese Saliba, ‘A Country beyond Reach: Liana Badr’s Writings of the Palestinian Diaspora’, in Intersections: Gender, Nation, and Community in Arab Women’s Novels (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002), pp. 133–61 (p. 134). Ibid., p. 146. Ibid., p. 145. Khalifeh, Mudhakkara¯t Imraʾa Ghayr Waqiʿiyya. As discussed in Chapter 1, both Badr and Khalifeh are building upon a foundation laid by Samira Azzam. Liana Badr, ‘Rabı¯ʿ’, in Jahı¯m Dhahabı¯ (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), pp. 56 –68 ˙ (p. 59). ‘Land Day’ is an event now celebrated annually on 30 March since that date in 1976 when Israel announced the mass expropriation of Arab lands on the pretext of security. Liana Badr, ‘ʿI¯d al-Ard’, in Jahı¯m Dhahabı¯ (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), ˙ ˙ pp. 76 – 80 (p. 76). Ibid., p. 80. Ibid. (emphasis added). Julie M. Peteet, ‘Nationality and Sexuality in Palestine’, in Social Constructions of Nationalism in the Middle East (Albany: SUNY Press, 2002), pp. 141– 66 (p. 152). Khalifeh, Ba¯b Al-sa¯ha, pp. 20 – 1 (all translations from Ba¯b Al-sa¯ha ˙ ˙ my own).

226

NOTES

TO PAGES

179 –194

86. Liana Badr, ‘Ihtifa¯l’, in Jahı¯m Dhahabi (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), pp. 43 –8 ˙ ˙ (p. 43) (all translations from Jahı¯m Dhahabi are my own). ˙ 87. Ibid., p. 46. 88. Ibid., p. 45. 89. Ibid. 90. Ibid., p. 46. 91. Ibid. 92. Ibid., p. 47. 93. Ibid. 94. Liana Badr, ‘Manfa¯’, in Jahı¯m Dhahabi (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), pp. 5–7 (p. 5). ˙ 95. Ibid., pp. 6 – 7. 96. Liana Badr, ‘Mata¯r’, in Jahı¯m Dhahabi (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), pp. 38 –42 ˙ ˙ (p. 38). 97. Ibid., pp. 38 – 9. 98. Ibid., p. 39. 99. Ibid., pp. 39 – 40. 100. Ibid., pp. 40 – 1. 101. Ibid., p. 41. 102. Ibid. 103. Ibid. 104. Said, After the Last Sky, pp. 3 – 4 (original emphasis). 105. Liana Badr, ‘Al-ʿAdu’, in Jahı¯m Dhahabi (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), pp. 81–4 ˙ (p. 82). 106. Liana Badr, ‘Alwa¯n’, in Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ (Beirut: Dar al-Adab, 1991), pp. 8 –19 ˙ (p. 8). 107. Ibid., p. 8. 108. Megan Bradley, Refugee Repatriation: Justice, Responsibility, Redress (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), p. 212 n.12. 109. This scene has many resonances with Ghassan Kanafani’s depiction of the flight of a family across Ras Naqoura into Lebanon in 1948 in his ‘Ard ˙ Al-burtuqa¯l Al-hazı¯n’, in Al-Atha¯r al-ka¯mila: al-qisas al-qası¯ra (Nicosia: ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Muʾassasat al-Abha¯th al-ʿArabiyya, 1987). ˙ 110. For contemporary Arab accounts of the Crusades and their impact on contemporary Arab consciousness, see Amin Maalouf, The Crusades through Arab Eyes (London: Saqi, 2006). 111. Badr, ‘Alwa¯n’, p. 11. 112. Ibid. 113. Ibid., p. 14. 114. Ibid., pp. 14 – 15. 115. Ibid., p. 16. 116. Ibid., p. 13. 117. Ibid., p. 17. 118. Ibid., p. 18. 119. Ibid.

NOTES

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197 –200

227

Conclusion Disciplinarity and Punishment: The Politics of Palestinian Literary Studies in the Western Academy 1. Ghassan Kanafani, ‘Land of Sad Oranges’, in Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999), pp. 75 – 80. 2. The institutional dominance of quantitative methods in North American political science led, in the year 2000, to what has been dubbed the ‘Perestroika Movement’ within the discipline, calling for greater methodological plurality. For more on the dominance of quantitative methodology in North American political science, see Anne Norton, 95 Theses on Politics, Culture, Method (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); Kristen Renwick Monroe (ed.), Perestroika! The Raucous Rebellion in Political Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005). And on the social sciences more broadly, see Bent Flyvbjerg, Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). 3. Although I have been somewhat estranged from political science as a discipline, its internal debates, and emerging trends for some time now, likeminded colleagues in the field inform me that a gradual but significant shift has been taking place to address precisely these sorts of concerns. 4. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007). Ripostes to Huntington’s work are too numerous to list, but among the most articulate, and relevant for our purposes is Edward Said, ‘The Clash of Definitions’, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 569 – 90. 5. Notably, political scientists remain largely reticent to engage with Palestinian cultural production. 6. The Academe Blog, ‘Chancellor Phyllis Wise Explains the Firing of Steven Salaita‘. Available at: http://academeblog.org/2014/08/22/chancellorphyllis-wise-explains-the-firing-of-steven-salaita/ [accessed 1 October 2015]. 7. UIUC became subject to a substantial boycott movement as a result of Salaita’s firing, with thousands of scholars from around the world either withdrawing or announcing their refusal to participate in academic events on campus. The university was also censured by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) which also released a statement affirming Salaita’s academic freedom of speech (available: http://www.aaup.org/media-release/s tatement-case-steven-salaita). Numerous departments within the University passed motions of no-confidence in Chancellor Phyllis Wise, who oversaw Salaita’s termination. For more see Beth McMurtrie, ‘Nearly a Year Later, Fallout from Salaita Case Lingers on Campuses’ (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2015). Available at: http://chronicle.com/article/Nearlya-Year-Later-Fallout/231365/? key¼ H j h x I F Z q Z i 9 E Y X 5 j Y z w T M T p Q b X B q M R w j N 3 J D a y 0 g b l l dEQ ¼ ¼ [accessed 2 October 2015].

228

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200 –201

8. Robert Weissberg, ‘Another Take on Salaita: Not an Abridgment of Academic Freedom, but a Failure to Uphold Academic Standards’ (Raleigh: The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, 2014). Available at: http:// www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id¼ 3064#.VATi5ij2BKF [accessed 1 October 2015]. 9. David Bernstein, ‘Steven Salaita, More than just an Obnoxious Tweeter’ (The Washington Post, 2014). Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/03/steven-salaita-more-than-just-an-obnoxious-tweeter/ [accessed 1 October 2015]. 10. Liel Liebowitz, ‘Steven Salaita’s Academic Work is Just as Hateful as His Tweets’ (Tablet Magazine, 2014). Available at: http://www.tabletmag.com/ jewish-news-and-politics/183813/steven-salaita-academic-work [accessed 1 October 2015]. 11. The materials, including CV and publication list, submitted by Salaita in application for the position can be found at http://www.news-gazette.com/ sites/all/files/pdf/2014/08/30/Salaita.pdf [accessed 1 October 2015].

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INDEX

‘Ab‘ad min al-hudu¯d’ [‘Further from ˙ the Borders’] (Kanafani), 59– 63 absence, 36 – 7, 171 abstraction, 59, 63 ’Abu¯ al-Hasan yaqu¯s ‘Ala sayyara ˙ Inkiliziyya’ [’Abu al-Hassan Ambushes an English Car’] (Kanafani), 107 –9, 112– 13 Abu-Lughod, Lila, 19, 23 Abu Saif, Atef, 4 Abu Shamsiya, Issa Muhannad, 144, 146 al-A¯da¯b, 28 – 9 Al-Adab al-da¯ll (The Erring ˙ Literature), 32 Al-adab al-filistı¯nı¯ al-muqa¯wim taht ˙ ˙ al-ihtila¯l 1948 –1968 [Palestinian ˙ Resistance Literature under Occupation 1948 –1968] (Kanafani), 95 adab multazim, 9, 92 Adab al-Muqa¯wama fı¯ filistı¯n al-muh˙ ˙ talla 1948–1966 [Literature of Resistance in Occupied Palestine 1948– 1966] (Kanafani), 95 agency children and, 96, 103– 5, 107– 9, 159– 60 Kanafani, Ghassan, 95, 101, 105–6 post-Naksa, 89, 100 women’s, 41, 47 –53

‘Airport’ (Badr) see ‘Mata¯r’ (Badr) ˙ Akbib, Abdellatif, 7 – 8 ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ [‘The Green ˙ ˙ and the Red’] (Kanafani), 63 – 8, 101, 111– 12 All That’s Left to You (Kanafani) see Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum (Kanafani) allegory, 63, 68, 69 ‘Alwa¯n’ [‘Colours’] (Badr), 190–5 Amireh, Amal, 35, 41, 54 Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya [Terrestrial Waves] (Nasrallah) children and resistance, 160– 6 haplessness and occupation, 147, 149– 50, 159 narrative forms in, 11, 144– 6 outwitting the occupation in, 147– 50, 154– 5 prescience of, 142– 4 song in, 144, 151– 3, 155, 167– 9 subversive humour in, 149, 156– 8, 160, 166– 7 symbolic characters, 146 See also titles of individual stories ‘An al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq [On Men and Guns] (Kanafani), 96 – 7, 98, 103 ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ [‘I Want the Day’] (Badr), 52, 128– 36, 172, 193

240

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AND PALESTINIAN

And Other Stories (Azzam) see Wa-qisas ˙ ˙ ukhra¯ (Azzam) anti-colonialism diaspora and, 86 Great Arab Revolt (1936 –9), 83 –8, 110– 16 Palestinian identity and, 79, 80, 82 Arab nations, critique of, 13 Arafat, Yasser, 86 – 7, 89, 91 archives, politics of, 19 – 22, 140– 1 ‘Ard al-burtuqa¯l al-hazı¯n’ [‘The Land of ˙ Sad Oranges’] (Kanafani), 23, 96 – 8, 197 armed resistance ambivalence toward, 10, 12, 115, 127– 8 camaraderie, 108, 117 children and, 96, 103– 5, 110, 159– 60 as collective action, 103 development of Fatah, 86 – 7 female characters in, 41 Great Arab Revolt (1936 –9), 83 –5, 110– 13 image of fida¯’yı¯n, 87 – 8 Kanafani, Ghassan, 10, 85 – 6, 97 Palestinian identity and, 82, 85 – 8 Qassam, Izz al-Din, 84 – 6 romantic depictions in Azzam, 43 scepticism toward, 10, 12, 115, 127–8 success stories, 98 Ashrawi, Hanan, 9 ‘Al-ashya¯’ al-saghı¯ra’ [‘The Little Things’] (Azzam), 43 – 7 assassinations, 32, 92, 96, 175–6, 208n33 al-Atshaan, Mahmoud, 144, 146 authenticity, 88 al-awda (return), 173, 179– 80, 190 Azouqa, Aida, 32, 74 Azzam, Samira ‘Al-ashya¯ ’al-saghı¯ra’ [‘The Little Things’] (Azzam), 43 –7 class issues, 34, 46 –8, 49 – 50, 184, 211– 12n94

LITERATURE IN EXILE critique of patriarchy, 13, 43, 45 – 6, 57 ‘Fı¯ al-tariq ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’ ˙ [‘On the Way to Solomon’s Pools’], 23, 38 – 40, 44, 98, 107 generational critique, 44 ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ [‘Her Tale’], 45 – 7 interior narrative, 47 – 57 ‘Khubz al-Fida’’ [‘Bread of Sacrifice’], 23, 38, 40 – 3, 46, 98 Nakba and emasculation, 38 – 40 narratives of futility, 23, 38, 40 –3, 95, 98, 107, 159 ’Nası¯b’ [’Fate’], 47 – 53 ˙ nationalism, 43, 57 Palestine as conspicuous absence, 36 – 8, 142 as proto-feminist, 34 ‘Al-sa¯‘a wa wa-al-insa¯n’ [‘Time and Man’], 36 – 8 shifts in narrative form, 9, 15 – 16, 33 traditional women’s roles, 38, 45, 99 unnamed characters, 34, 44 unspecified locations, 34 ‘Urı¯d ma¯’ [‘I Want Water’], 53 – 6 use of masculinist-nationalist tropes, 35, 40 – 3 Wa qisas ukhra¯ [And Other Stories], 36 ˙ ˙

Ba¯b al-sa¯ha [The Doorway to the ˙ Courtyard] (Khalifeh), 171– 2, 177–8 Badawi, M.M., 26 –33, 92, 209n44 Badr, Liana ‘Alwa¯n’ [‘Colours’], 190– 5 ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ [‘I Want the Day’], 52, 128– 36, 172, 193 al-awda (return), 173, 179–80, 190 class issues in exile, 181– 2, 184 claustrophobia in, 129, 131, 133– 6, 172 critique of nationalist patriarchy, 10, 13, 95, 129– 31, 182

INDEX depiction of marriage, 131 domesticity, 131, 182– 3 female subjectivity, 129, 136, 220n111 generational critique, 130 ‘ı¯d al-ard’ [‘Land Day’], 176– 7 ˙ ‘Ihtifa¯l’ [‘Celebration’], 179– 84 ˙ indeterminacy in, 129– 30, 133– 5 interior narrative, 52, 128– 9, 136, 220n111 Intifada as conspicuous absence, 142, 171, 175– 7 Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ [A Golden Hell], 11, ˙ 171– 4, 184–95 ‘Manfa¯’ [‘Exile’], 185 modernist narrative, 172 motherhood, 132– 3 nostalgia for Beirut, 172– 3, 193, 194 ‘pieces of home’, 173, 178, 193 ‘Rabı¯’ [‘Spring’], 175– 7 sexuality, 130, 136 Sharfa ‘ala¯ al-Fakiha¯nı¯ [A Balcony over the Fakihani], 126– 7 Shatila camp, 126– 7 shifts in narrative form, 17, 172– 4, 186– 8, 191–3 stream of consciousness, 129 successive displacement, 172– 3, 190– 5 surveillance in, 131– 2 unnamed characters, 129, 175, 185, 189– 90, 191 women and the Intifada (1987), 174, 177– 84 A Balcony over the Fakihani (Badr) see Sharfa ‘ala¯ al-Fakiha¯nı¯ (Badr) Ball, Anna, 3 Beauvoir, Simone de, 91 – 2 Beinin, Joel, 21, 22 Beirut, 172–3, 191 –4 Bernard, Anna, 3 Bernstein, David, 200 biblical symbolism, 41

241

The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947– 1949 (Morris), 19– 20 Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel (Kanaaneh), 14 Black September, 82 Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (Hitchens and Said), 206n2 Booth, Marilyn, 15 Boullata, Peter, 163 ‘Bread of Sacrifice’ (Azzam) see ‘Khubz al-Fida¯ʾ’ (Azzam) British Mandate see also Great Arab Revolt (1936 – 9), 105, 110– 11 broken bones policy, 138, 175, 221n3 Bulba, Taras, 120– 2 Caute, David, 29 – 30 ‘Celebration’ (Badr) see ‘Ihtifa¯l’ (Badr) ˙ children agency, 96, 103– 5, 107– 9 as allegory of exile, 63 – 6 in armed resistance, 96, 103– 5, 159– 60 in the Intifada, 159– 62, 175 masculinity and, 38 – 9, 104 in Palestinian studies, 140 patriarchy and, 55 – 6 as symbol of resistance, 160– 6 ‘children of the stones’, 152, 159– 62 civil disobedience, 1, 138, 147 Civil War (Jordan), 81 – 2 Civil War (Lebanon) critique of armed resistance, 12 fragmentation and, 188, 220n110 in Nu¯rma¯ wa-rajul al-thalj, 115– 25 Palestinians in, 82, 114– 15, 125– 6, 163, 172, 191 surrealist horror aesthetic and, 125– 6

242

POLITICS

AND PALESTINIAN

class issues elites in exile, 66, 70 – 1, 179– 83, 211– 12n94 Samira Azzam on, 34 women and, 46 – 8, 49 – 50 claustrophobia, 129, 131, 133– 4, 172 collective action civil disobedience, 1, 138, 147 Great Arab Revolt (1936 – 9), 83 –4, 86 violence and, 103 collective punishment, 83, 166 ‘Colours’ (Badr) see ‘Alwa¯n’ (Badr) committed literature Arabic poetry and, 29 – 30 freedom, 24 Nakba (1948) and, 9, 25 – 6 pan-Arab nationalism, 32 – 3, 93, 209n54 realist narrative, 9 – 10, 15 – 16, 31, 173– 4 Sartre, Jean-Paul, 23 – 4 See also iltiza¯m cosmopolitanism, 86, 88 cultural production, Palestinian, 8 – 9, 141 culture, concepts of, 198 ‘Al-Dab‘’ [‘The Hyena’] (Yakhlif), ˙ 125– 6 Darwish, Mahmoud, 119 David and Goliath imagery, 22 – 3, 138, 161, 164 ‘Dawla fı¯ ha¯dina bla¯stikiyya’ [‘A State in ˙ ˙ a Plastic Incubator’] (Nasrallah), 165– 6 deafness, 98, 100– 1 defeat affective response, 93 Israeli symbolic, 147, 156– 8 in Kanafani, Ghassan, 97 – 8, 100– 1 Nakba (1948), 86 Naksa (1967), 75 – 6, 79 – 80 stories of, 100– 2

LITERATURE IN EXILE

submerged population groups, 6 – 7 transformed, 82 – 6, 90 – 1, 113 dehumanization, 39 – 40, 65 Deleuze, Gille, 16 desert motif, 66, 68, 152– 4 despair, literature of see also defeat, 97, 164 diaspora, 173 see also exile, discourse of; exiles disciplinarity, 200– 3 disinformation, 79 – 80 distance, 108, 175 ‘Doctor Qasim Talks to Eva about Mansur, Who has Reached Safad’ (Kanafani) see ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahaddath l-Eva ‘an Mansur alladhı¯ wasala ila Safad’ (Kanafani) ˙ ˙ documentation, 19 – 22, 140– 1 domesticity, 131, 182– 3 Doorway to the Courtyard, The (Khalifeh) see Ba¯b al-sa¯ha (Khalifeh) ˙ ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahaddath l-Eva ‘an Mansur alladhı¯ wasala ila Safad’ ˙ ˙ [‘Doctor Qasim Talks to Eva about Mansur, Who has Reached Safad’] (Kanafani), 106– 8 Dupes, The (1972) see Al-Makhdu¯‘u¯m (1972) Egypt, 5 – 6, 25, 30, 76 – 80, 91 – 2 Elad-Bouskila, Ami, 2 El-Ariss, Tarek, 15, 16 elites class and exile, 66, 70 –1, 179–83, 211– 12n9 failure to act, 76 – 8, 83 – 5, 89 Elmesseri, Abdelwahab, 159 emasculation, 38 –40, 96 The Erring Literature see ‘Al-Adab al-da¯ll’ ˙ ‘Exile’ (Badr) see ‘Manfa¯’ (Badr) exile, discourse of absence, 36 – 7, 171 agrophobia in, 172– 3

INDEX children as allegory, 63 – 6 dialect and, 185 dissociation and, 175– 7, 179– 80 female subjectivity, 14, 171–2, 177– 80, 184– 95 figure of fida¯’yı¯n, 141 fragmentation, 111– 12 language and, 185 loci of, 190 masculine subjectivity, 14, 34, 184 subjectivity, 2, 14 successive displacement, 172– 3, 190– 5, 193 women as exiles, 184 exiles existential crisis and, 60 – 2 Intifada (1987) and, 141– 3, 171, 174– 6 liminality of, 70 in Palestinian studies, 140– 1 post-Naksa, 81 – 2 treatment in host countries, 119, 172, 186– 90 existential crisis, 60 – 3, 67 – 8, 74 Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya [Terrestrial Waves] (Nasrallah), 144– 6 ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ [‘I Want the Day’] (Badr), 128– 36 ‘Al-Dab‘’ [‘The Hyena’] (Yakhlif), ˙ 125– 6 political potential, 59, 74, 94 failure of elites, 76 –8, 83– 5, 89 of masculinity, 38 – 40, 96 – 7, 104 of older generation, 97 – 102 of pan-Arab nationalism, 10, 76 –80 Fanon, Frantz, 87, 103, 105, 112– 13 Fatah, 86 – 91, 175– 6 fatalism, 82 ‘Fate’ (Azzam) see ‘Nası¯b’ (Azzam) ˙ Faulkner, William, 68 – 9, 74

243

feday see fida¯’yı¯n feminist authors see also specific authors circumscribed public roles, 129 circumscribed women’s roles, 44 critique of nationalist patriarchy, 43 generational critique, 44 interiority, 35 subversion of language, 136 tropes in, 16 uses of realism, 173 ‘Fı¯ al-tariq ila¯ birak sulayma¯n’ [‘On the ˙ Way to Solomon’s Pools’] (Azzam), 23, 38 –40, 44, 98, 107 fida¯’yı¯n, 87 – 8, 116– 17 Finkelstein, Norman G., 206n2 fragmentation exile and, 82, 111– 12 intra-Arab hostilities and, 138 Nakba (1948), 86 narrative(s), 58, 68 – 9, 74, 125– 7, 129 ‘pieces of home’, 173, 178, 193 post-Naksa, 93 – 4 Frangieh, Bassam, 25 – 6 Franklin, Sarah, 136 freedom, 24 From Time Immemorial (Peters), 206n2 Furani, Khaled, 3 ‘Further from the Borders’ see ‘Ab‘ad min al-hudu¯d’ (Kanafani) ˙ futility, narratives of Azzam, Samira, 38, 40 – 3, 107 Kanafani, Ghassan, 113 post-Nakba, 82 transformed, 113 Gaza see also Intifada (1987), 4 – 5, 10– 11, 138, 140 gender, trope of, 14– 15, 40 – 3, 57, 180, 184 generational critique Azzam, Samira, 47 – 9 Badr, Liana, 132– 3

244

POLITICS

AND PALESTINIAN

children as agents of resistance, 44, 107– 9, 161–4 emergence of, 12 – 13 feminist authors, 44 Kanafani, Ghassan, 96 – 102, 98 – 9, 104 passivity, 107 of patriarchy, 44, 47 – 9 redemption, 109– 11 Giving Voice to Stones: Place and Identity in Palestinian Literature (Parmenter), 2–3 ‘Going up to the Galilee’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Al-Su’u¯d ila¯ al-Jalı¯l’ (Nasrallah) ˙ Golden Hell, A (Badr) see Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ ˙ (Badr) Great Arab Revolt (1936 – 9), 83 – 8, 110– 13 ‘The Green and the Red’ (Kanafani) see ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ ˙ ˙ (Kanafani) Guattari, Felix, 16 Guevara, Ernesto, 85 – 6 guilt, 54 – 6 Gulf States, 70 – 2 guns collectivity and, 104– 5 masculinity and, 38 – 9, 96 – 7, 104– 7, 112–13 Palestinian identity and, 117– 19 Habibi, Emile, 94 Hafez, Sabry, 5 – 6, 7, 93 ‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ Stories’ (Kanafani) see ‘Hamı¯d yaqif ‘an sama¯‘ qisas ˙ ˙ al-a‘ma¯m’ (Kanafani) ‘Hamı¯d yaqif ‘an sama¯‘ qisas al-a‘ma¯m’ ˙ ˙ [‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ Stories’] (Kanafani), 97 – 104 Al-Haq, 221n3 Harlow, Barbara, 104– 5 helplessness, narratives of, 105, 107

LITERATURE IN EXILE

‘Her Tale’ (Azzam) see ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ (Azzam) ‘Hika¯yatuha¯’ [‘Her Tale’] (Azzam), 45– 7 historical revisionism, 105 historiography, 19 – 21, 140– 1 Hitchens, Christopher, 206n2 Holy Land in Transit, The (Salaita), 200–1 homeland, trope of, 88 female figure, 14, 40 – 2 literary commitment and, 29 resistance and, 12 – 13, 82, 88, 97 – 105 wandering in, 66 honour, women’s, 45 – 6, 130– 2 human rights, 221n3 humour, subversive, 115– 16, 119, 149, 156–8, 160, 166–7 ‘Huna¯k radı¯ . . . Huna¯k istinifa¯r’ [‘An ˙ Infant . . . An Alert’] (Nasrallah), 161, 165 Husayn, Taha, 26 – 7 ‘The Hyena’ (Yakhlif) see ‘Al-Dab‘’ ˙ (Yakhlif) ‘I Want the Day’ (Badr) see ‘Ana¯ urı¯d al-naha¯r’ (Badr) ‘I Want Water’ (Azzam) see ‘Urı¯d ma¯’ (Azzam) Ibn al-Jabal, 152– 3 Ibrahim, Sonallah, 93 ‘I¯d al-ard’ [‘Land Day’] (Badr), 176–7 ˙ identity, Palestinian affiliation, 108 armed struggle, 85– 6 authenticity, 88 continuity in, 158 denial of, 7, 18 – 19, 206n2 early post-Nakba period, 35 –6, 56 – 7 ethos of resistance, 76, 79, 80, 82, 89, 119 Great Arab Revolt (1936– 9), 85 – 8

INDEX guns, 118–19 legitimacy, 80 – 1 memory, 21 nationality, 186– 90 Palestinian studies and, 138– 9 particularity, 79– 81 realist narrative and, 10, 28, 94, 111– 12 reclamation of, 18 – 19 as revolutionaries, 87 – 8 trope of statelessness, 89 Idris, Suhayl, 28 – 9 ‘Ihtifa¯l’ [‘Celebration’] (Badr), 179– 84 ˙ iltiza¯m (literary commitment), 10, 24 – 33, 92, 209n54 immobility, 89, 101, 129 ‘Ina¯q al-mawja’ [‘The Wave’s Embrace’] (Nasrallah), 169 indeterminacy, 74, 129– 30, 133– 5, 190– 1 indigenous studies, 199– 201 ‘An Infant . . . An Alert’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Huna¯k radı¯ . . . Huna¯k istinifa¯r’ ˙ (Nasrallah) infantilization, 38 –40, 96, 103– 5 instability, 117 interdisciplinarity, 198– 9, 201–3 interior narrative Azzam, Samira, 9, 47 – 53, 128 Badr, Liana, 128– 9, 134– 5, 172 female subjectivity and, 129, 220n111 Khalifeh, Sahar, 173 Yakhlif, Yahya, 125– 8 Intifada (1987) civil disobedience, 1, 138 conspicuous absence in Badr, Liana, 142, 171, 175– 7 detention during, 151– 4 exiles and, 11, 141– 3, 171, 174– 6 origins, 10 – 11 outbreak, 138– 9, 142 Palestinian cultural production and, 141– 2

245

Palestinian studies, 138– 9, 141 rhizomatic structure, 151 role of children, 39, 159– 64 women’s emancipation, 173– 4, 177– 84, 222n11 intra-Arab hostilities, 75 – 6, 78 –80, 137, 188 Irigaray, Luce, 136 Israel see occupation, Israeli Israeli Censorship Bureau, 36 Issa, Mahmoud, 90 itinerancy, 81 – 2, 188 Jabra, Jabra Ibrahim, 68 Jahı¯m dhahabı¯ [A Golden Hell] (Badr) ˙ see titles of individual stories Jayussi, Salma Khadra, 26 jı¯l al-nakba (Generation of Catastrophe), 96, 97 Jordan, Palestinians in, 81 – 2, 89 – 90, 114, 173 ‘Kafr al-Manjam’ [‘The Mine Hamlet’] (Kanafani), 68 – 74, 111– 12 Kanaaneh, Rhoda Ann, 14 Kanafani, Ghassan ‘Ab‘ad min al-hudu¯d’ [‘Further from ˙ the Borders’], 59 – 63 ‘Abu¯ al-Hasan yaqu¯s ‘Ala sayyara ˙ Inkiliziyya’ [‘Abu al-Hassan Ambushes an English Car’ (Kanafani)], 107– 9, 112– 13 Al-adab al-filistı¯nı¯ al-muqa¯wim taht ˙ ˙ al-ihtila¯l 1948– 1968 [Palestinian ˙ Resistance Literature under Occupation 1948– 1968], 95 Adab al-Muqa¯wama fı¯ filistı¯n ˙ al-muhtalla 1948–1966 [Literature ˙ of Resistance in Occupied Palestine 1948–1966] (Kanafani), 95 ‘Al-Akhdar wa-al-ahmar’ [‘The ˙ ˙ Green and the Red’], 63 – 8, 101, 111– 12 allegories of exile, 63 –6, 68, 69

246

POLITICS

AND PALESTINIAN

‘An al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq [On Men and Guns], 96 – 8, 103 ‘Ard al-burtuqa¯l al-hazı¯n’ ˙ ˙ [‘The Land of Sad Oranges’], 23, 97 – 8, 197 armed resistance, 97 – 8, 101– 2, 105– 6 critique of patriarchy, 104– 5 ‘Al-Duktu¯r Qasim yatahaddath l-Eva ‘an Mansur alladhı¯ wasala ila Safad’ ˙ ˙ [‘Doctor Qasim Talks to Eva about Mansur, Who has Reached Safad’], 106– 8 existential crisis in, 60 – 2, 67 – 8 failure and defeat in, 69 – 70, 97 – 8, 100– 1 fragmented narratives in, 58, 68 –9, 74 generational critique, 96 –102, 104, 107– 9 ‘Hamı¯d yaqif ‘an sama¯‘ qisas al-a‘ma¯’ ˙ ˙ [‘Hamid Stops Listening to the Uncles’ Stories’], 97 – 104 indeterminacy, 74 ‘Kafr al-Manjam’ [‘The Mine Hamlet’], 68 – 74, 111– 12 ‘Lu’lu’ fi al-tariq’ [‘Pearls in the Street’], 71 Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum [All That’s Left to You], 68, 93 magical realism, 68 masculinity, 15, 96, 104 modernist narrative forms, 32, 57 –9, 61, 68 – 9, 74, 93, 213n132 muteness, 65 – 8 narratives of futility and despair, 23, 97 post-Nakba stories, 59 – 74 on resistance literature, 12, 95 Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams [Men in the Sun], 57 –8, 66, 68, 95, 99 ‘Al-Saghı¯r wa abu¯h wa-al-martı¯na ˙ yadhhabu¯n ila¯ qal‘at jidı¯n’ [‘The Youngster and his Father and the

LITERATURE IN EXILE

Rifle go to Jideen Citadel’], 112– 13 ‘Al-Saghir yasta ‘ı¯r martı¯nat kha¯lihi ˙ wa-yashriq ila¯ Safad’ [‘The ˙ Youngster Borrows his Uncle’s Rifle and Goes East to Safad’], 103– 5 shifts in narrative form, 10, 16, 17, 28, 33, 94, 101, 111– 12, 174 trope of gender in, 64 unnamed characters, 59 unspecified locations, 59 use of Great Arab Revolt (1936– 9), 85 – 6 use of Qassam, Izz al-Din, 85 uses of realism, 28, 111 Karama, Battle of, 87, 89 – 91 Khalidi, Rashid, 56, 81, 83, 87, 90 – 1, 138–9 Khalidi, Walid, 139, 207n9 Khalifeh, Sahar Ba¯b al-sa¯ha [The Doorway to the ˙ Courtyard], 171– 2, 177– 8 interior narrative, 173 Mudhakkara¯t imra’a ghayr wa¯qi‘ya [Memoirs of an Unrealistic Woman], 52, 173 Khoury, Elias, 18 – 19, 65, 127 ‘Khubz al-Fida¯’ [‘Bread of Sacrifice’] (Azzam), 23, 38, 40 – 3, 46, 98 Kimmerling, Baruch, 83, 86 – 8 Kirbet Khizeh (Yizhar), 164 Klemm, Verena, 27, 93 – 4 kuffiyeh, 88, 161 Kuwait, 71, 72, 87 land, 12, 14, 105, 109 ‘Land Day’ (Badr) see ‘I¯d al-ard’ (Badr) ˙ ‘Land of Sad Oranges’ (Kanafani) see ‘Ard al-burtuqa¯l al-hazı¯n’ ˙ (Kanafani) landscape, 3, 66, 109, 111, 190– 5 language, 77, 136, 179, 185 Layoun, Mary, 4, 8

INDEX Le Temps Modernes, 91 – 2 Lebanese Civil War critique of armed resistance, 12 fragmentation and, 188, 220n110 in Nu¯rma¯ wa-rajul al-thalj (Yakhlif), 115– 25 Palestinians in, 82, 114–15, 125–6, 163, 172, 191 surrealist horror aesthetic and, 125– 6 Lebanon Beirut, 172– 3, 193, 194 Israeli invasion, 193 Palestinian expulsion from, 82 Palestinian militant factions and, 126– 7 Palestinians in, 82, 172 persecution of Palestinians, 59 – 60, 62 legitimacy, 81, 85 – 6, 167– 8 Liebowitz, Liel, 201 ‘Liha¯dha¯ al-jundı¯ mahamma wa¯hida ˙ al-qatl’ [‘This Soldier has Only a ˙ Single Duty: To Kill’] (Nasrallah), 147– 50 literary aesthetics and politics see also iltiza¯m (literary commitment), 15 – 17, 27, 31 – 3, 58 literary form, Arabic, 15 – 17, 33 see also poetry, Arabic; short story literature, pan-Arabic, 25 – 6 Literature of Resistance in Occupied Palestine 1948– 1966 (Kanafani) see Adab al-Muqa¯wama fı¯ filistı¯n ˙ al-muhtalla 1948– 1966 ˙ (Kanafani) litte´rature engage´e see also committed literature; iltiza¯m (literary commitment), 9, 92 ‘The Little Things’ (Azzam) see ‘Al-ashya¯’ al-saghı¯ra’ (Azzam) Lonely Voice, The (O’Connor), 6 – 8 ‘Lu’lu’ fı¯ al-tarı¯q’ [‘Pearls in the Street’] (Kanafani), 71

247

Ma¯ tabaqqa¯ lakum [All That’s Left to You] (Kanafani), 68, 93 ‘Mada¯ al-Miqla¯’ [‘The Range of the Slingshot’] (Nasrallah), 169 Ma’dawi, Anwar al-, 209n44 Madrid Conference (1991), 138 Al-Makhdu¯‘u¯m [The Dupes] (1972), 95 ‘Manfa¯’ [‘Exile’] (Badr), 185 marginalization, 7, 13 – 14 martyrdom, 43, 64, 84 – 5 Marxism, 33 Masalha, Nur, 21 – 2 masculinist-nationalist tropes, 35, 40– 3, 57, 180, 184 masculinity agency and, 104 childhood and, 38 – 9 failure of, 38 – 40, 96 – 7 generational critique and, 44, 163 guns and, 104–7 ‘Mata¯r’ [‘Airport’] (Badr), 185– 9 ˙ Mawsim al-hijra ila¯ al-shama¯l [Season of Migration to the North] (al-Tayeb), 92 McDonald, Ronan, 7, 37, 142 Meir, Golda, 206n2 Memoirs of an Unrealistic Woman (Khalifeh) see Mudhakkara¯t imra’a ghayr wa¯qi‘ya (Khalifeh) memory, 19 – 23 Memory for Forgetfulness (Darwish), 119 Men in the Sun (Kanafani) see Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams (Kanafani) menstruation, 53 – 6 Migdal, Joel S., 83, 86 – 8 ‘The Mine Hamlet’ (Kanafani) see ‘Kafr al-Manjam’ (Kanafani) Modern Palestinian Literature and Culture (Elad-Bouskila), 2 modernist narrative accessibility, 32 alienation, 111– 12 Arabic literary context, 9, 92 – 3, 128

248

POLITICS

AND PALESTINIAN

Badr, Liana, 10, 129– 30, 133 free indirect discourse, 129– 30 gender relations and, 33 individualism and, 31 Kanafani, Ghassan, 57 – 9, 111– 12 political potential, 94 Western view, 16 – 17 Moroccan short story, 7 – 8 Morris, Benny, 19 –22 motherhood, 132– 3 Mudhakkara¯t imra’a ghayr wa¯qi‘ya [Memoirs of an Unrealistic Woman] (Khalifeh), 52, 173 ‘Mukhayyam jalzu¯n’ (Nasrallah), 159–61 muteness, 65 – 8 ‘Nablus wa-waqt al-shams’ [‘Nablus and the Time of Sunlight’] (Nasrallah), 166 Nakba (1948) committed literature and, 9, 25 – 6 conspicuous absence in Samira Azzam, 37 – 8 as denial of Palestinian existence, 18 –19 emasculation and, 38 – 9 fragmentation and, 86 Israeli historiography, 19 – 23 Al-Nakba Oral History Project, 23 origins, 1 pan-Arab effect, 26 represented as death, 63 – 4, 66 testimony and, 21 – 2 Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory (Sa’di and Abu-Lughod), 19 Naksa (1967) Arab disunity, 79 changes in narrative form after, 10 as focus for Liana Badr, 190 history of, 1, 75 – 6 names, symbolism of shared names, 146– 7, 157 unnamed characters, 34, 44, 59, 116

LITERATURE IN EXILE

‘Nası¯b’ [‘Fate’] (Azzam), 47 – 53 ˙ Nasrallah, Ibrahim Al-Amwa¯j al-barriyya [Terrestrial Waves], 11, 142– 69 children as agents of resistance, 159– 65 experimental narrative, 11 images of Intifada, 141– 2, 147– 50, 154– 5, 158 ‘Ina¯q al-mawja’ [‘The Wave’s Embrace’], 169 inversion of infantilization, 39 ‘Mada¯ al-Miqla¯’ [‘The Range of the Slingshot’], 169 ‘Mukhayyam jalzu¯n’, 159– 61 ‘Nablus wa-waqt al-shams’ [‘Nablus and the Time of Sunlight’], 166 narrative forms, 11, 144– 6, 169– 70 ‘Al-Nawa¯fidh tarwı¯ al-hika¯ya¯t’, ˙ 165– 6 peace movements, 223n28 ‘Shlu¯mu¯ yashhar sila¯hu wa-Rambo ˙ anya¯bu’ [‘Shlomo Bears his Weapon and Rambo his Fangs’], 166 ‘Simphu¯niyyat al-hudu¯ yaqta‘ha ’awa¯ al-dhi’b’ [‘The Symphony of Tranquility is Broken by the Howling of the Wolf’], 150– 1, 154– 5 subversive humour, 156– 8, 166– 7 ‘Al-Su-ud ila¯ al-Jalı¯l’ [‘Going up to ˙ the Galilee’], 167–8 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 75 – 8 nationalism, Palestinian anti-colonialism and, 85 – 7 critique of leadership, 10, 13, 43, 57, 142, 162, 182 –4 exiled leadership, 11, 82, 137, 142 Naksa (1967), 76 new generation, 162– 4 and pan-Arabism, 78 – 9, 89

INDEX patriarchy in, 35, 43, 95, 129– 31, 182– 3 pre-1967, 43 songs in, 167 nationalism, pan-Arab committed literature, 32– 3, 93, 209n54 Nakba (1948), 76 – 8 Naksa (1967), 10, 75 –6, 80 – 1 and Palestinian national liberation, 78 –9, 89 Qassam, Izz al-Din, 84 nationhood, gendered tropes of, 35, 40 – 3 Native American studies, 200–3 ‘Al-Nawa¯fidh tarwı¯ al-hika¯ya¯t’ (Nas˙ rallah), 165– 6 newspapers, 4, 7 – 8, 176 Nir, Uri, 151– 2 novel as colonial genre, 3 – 4, 5 Nu¯rma¯ wa-rajul al-thalj [Norma and the Snowman] (Yakhlif), 115– 25 O’Connor, Frank, 6 – 8 occupation, Israeli broken bones policy, 138, 221n3 conditions of Palestinians under, 143– 4, 149, 151 fear of children, 161, 164– 5 images of resistance to, 147– 50, 154– 5 prisons, 151– 4 subversive humour under, 156– 8, 165– 7 symbolic defeat, 138, 147, 147– 50, 155, 156– 9, 161, 164– 6, 169 On Men and Guns (Kanafani) see An al-rija¯l wa-al-bana¯diq (Kanafani) ‘On the Way to Solomon’s Pools’ (Azzam) see ‘Fı¯ al-tariq ila¯ birak ˙ sulayma¯n’ (Azzam) oral histories, 23 Oslo Accords (1993), 1, 82, 138 ‘Out of Time’ (Shibli), 36 – 8

249

Palestine, female embodiment of, 40– 3, 57, 102, 180, 184 Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Popular Culture (Stein and Swedenburg), 2 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Beirut, 172 conflict with host countries, 82, 114 establishment, 78 Fatah, 86, 88, 91 two-state solution, 114 Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective (Ball), 3 The Palestinian Novel: A Communication Study (Taha), 2 Palestinian Resistance Literature under Occupation 1948– 1968 (Kanafani) see Al-adab al-filistı¯nı¯ al-muqa¯wim ˙ taht al-ihtila¯l 1948– 1968 ˙ ˙ (Kanafani) Palestinian studies, 140, 197– 9 cultural studies, 2 –3, 198– 9 development of, 138– 41 exiles and, 140– 1 figure of fida¯’yı¯n, 141 literature and politics, 196– 7 Palestinians in Israel, 2 pan-Arabism see nationalism, pan-Arab paradox, 36, 136, 158– 60 paralysis, 89, 101, 129 Parmenter, Barbara, 2 – 3 particularity, 79 – 80, 87, 138– 9 patriarchy breakdown of, 107– 9 critique in Azzam, Samira, 43, 45 – 6, 57 critique in Badr, Liana, 129– 31, 182 critique in Kanafi, Ghassan, 104– 5 critique in Khalifeh, Sahar, 173 female domesticity, 131, 182– 3 male children in, 45, 55 – 6 women as agents of, 47 –50, 183 women’s sexuality and, 132

250

POLITICS

AND PALESTINIAN

peace movements, 223n28 ‘Pearls in the Street’ (Kanafani) see ‘Lu’lu’ fı¯ al-tarı¯q’ (Kanafani) peasants, 85, 88, 105– 6 periodization, 11 Peteet, Julie, 177 Peters, Joan, 206n2 Pflitsch, Andreas, 33 place diaspora and, 172– 3 legitimacy and, 167–8 and non-place, 66 in Palestinian literary discourse, 3 unnamed, 34, 59, 129, 185, 194 poetry, Arabic committed literature and, 29 – 30 post-Nakba, 25 – 6 poetry, Palestinian committed literature and, 25 – 6 Intifada (1987), 161– 4 place in, 167– 8 as resistance, 12 resistance through, 12, 152– 4 stagnation of, 9 studies of, 3 post-colonial literatures, 7 – 8, 37 prostitution, 45 – 6, 100– 1, 132 proto-feminism, 34 Qabbani, Nizar, 161– 2 Qassam, Izz al-Din, 84 – 6, 94 The Quest for Identity: The Development of the Modern Arabic Short Story, 5 ‘Rabı¯’ [‘Spring’] (Badr), 175– 7 Rabin, Yitzhak, 138, 175, 221n3 radio, 34, 77, 79 – 80, 176 ‘The Range of the Slingshot’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Mada¯ al-Miqla¯’ (Nasrallah) reading, 24, 27 realist narrative Arabic context, 27 –8 Badr, Liana, 17, 173– 4 coalescence and, 111– 12

LITERATURE IN EXILE

committed literature and, 9– 10, 15 – 16, 31, 173– 4 decline, 92 – 3 Kalief, Sahar, 173 Kanafani, Ghassan, 16, 28, 111, 174 nationalism and, 32 – 3 social realism, 25 – 6 resistance anti-colonialism, 79, 80, 82, 83, 85 – 6, 89 children as agents of, 38 –9, 44, 160– 6 continuity in, 158 deafness as, 98, 100– 1 democratization of, 10 – 11, 84 existential crisis and, 60 – 2 failures of elites in, 76 – 8, 83 – 5, 89 history and, 81 – 2, 85 – 6 in Israeli prisons, 151– 5 loci of, 174–5 masculinity and, 38 – 40, 96 – 7, 104– 7, 112– 13 Palestinian identity and, 76, 79 to paternalism, 12 – 13 Qassam, Izz al-Din, 84 – 6 short story form and, 7 – 8 subversive humour as, 115– 16, 119, 149, 156– 8, 160, 166– 7 symbols of, 86 – 9 triumphalist discourse, 122– 3 weddings and, 159, 167– 8 See also armed resistance resistance fighters, representations of, 12, 87 –8, 115– 17, 119– 22 resistance literature agency in, 97 generational critique and, 12 –13 Kanafani, Ghassan, 12, 94 – 5 origins, 94 – 5 post-Naksa, 95 – 6 return, image of, 173, 179– 80, 190, 193 Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine (Bernard), 3

INDEX Rija¯l fı¯ al-shams [Men in the Sun] (Kanafani), 57 – 8, 66, 68, 95, 99 Rogan, Eugene, 79 – 80 romanticism, Arabic, 25 – 6, 31 – 2, 92, 105 rootedness, 88, 105 Sa’di, Ahmad H., 19, 22, 23 ‘Al-Saghı¯r wa abu¯h wa-al-martı¯na ˙ yadhhabu¯n ila¯ qal‘at jidı¯n’ [‘The Youngster and his Father and the Rifle go to Jideen Citadel’] (Kanafani), 112 –13 ‘Al-Saghı¯r yasta‘ı¯r martı¯nat kha¯lihi ˙ wa-yashriq ila¯ Safad’ (‘The ˙ Youngster Borrows his Uncle’s Rifle and Goes East to Safad’] (Kanafani), 103 –5 Sagir, Dan, 151– 2 Said, Edward, 21 – 2, 68, 172, 206n2 Salaita, Steven, 200– 1, 203 Saleh, al-Tayeb, 92 Saliba, Therese, 173 Sartre, Jean-Paul on form, 31– 2 literary commitment, 9, 23 – 4, 26 –7, 96, 209n44 Middle East trip, 91 – 2 on poetry, 29 – 30 ‘Al-sa¯‘wa wa-al-insa¯n’ [‘Time and Man’] (Azzam), 36 – 8 Sayigh, Yezid, 82, 85 – 6 scepticism toward armed resistance, 10, 12, 115, 127– 8 toward the Intifada (1987), 174, 177– 84 Season of Migration to the North (al-Tayeb) see Mawsim al-hijra ila¯ al-shama¯l (al-Tayeb) The Secret Life of Saeed: the Pessoptimist (Habibi) see Al-waqa¯’i al gharı¯ba fı¯ ikhtifa¯’ Sa’ı¯d Ab¯i al-Nahs ˙ al-Mutasha¯’il (Habibi)

251

Selim, Samah, 27– 8 settler colonialism, 18 – 19, 199– 203 sexuality, female, 35, 53 – 6, 130, 132–3 shame, 132– 3, 153– 6 Sharfa ‘ala¯ al-Fakiha¯nı¯ [A Balcony over the Fakihani] (Badr), 126– 7 Shibli, Adania, 36 Shihada, Yusuf, 87 Shlaim, Avi, 19 ‘Shlu¯mu¯ yashhar sila¯hu wa-Rambo ˙ anya¯bu’ [‘Shlomo Bears his Weapon and Rambo his Fangs’] (Nasrallah), 166 short story conditions of production, 4 – 5, 7 – 8 in Egypt, 5 – 6 in Gaza, 4– 5 immediacy, 175 in Morocco, 7 – 8 O’Connor, Frank, 6 –8 overlooked, 3 in Palestinian literary production, 8–9 political valences of, 6– 8 in post-colonial literatures, 7 – 8, 37 strategies of silence and, 8, 37, 59, 142 silence, strategies of, 8, 37 – 8, 59, 142 Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry (Furani), 3 ‘Simphu¯niyyat al-hudu¯’ yaqta‘ha ’awa¯’ al-dhi’b’ [‘The Symphony of Tranquility is Broken by the Howling of the Wolf’] (Nasrallah), 150–1, 154– 5 sin, 54 – 6 social realism, 25 –7, 33, 94 socialism, 33 song, 11, 144, 154– 5, 167– 9 space, 3, 62 Speculum of the Other Woman (Irigaray), 136

252

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AND PALESTINIAN

‘Spring’ (Badr) see ‘Rabı¯’ (Badr) Starkey, Paul, 25 ‘A State in a Plastic Incubator’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Dawla fı¯ ha¯dina ˙ ˙ bla¯stikiyya’ (Nasrallah) Stein, Rebecca, 2 stream of consciousness, 16, 32, 69, 129, 134– 5, 173 subjectivity, 2, 13 –14, 129, 136, 220n111 submerged population groups, 6 – 7 Suez Crisis/Tripartite Aggression (1956), 25 suicide, 53 – 6 sumu¯d (steadfastness), 151, 154, 166 surrealism, 58, 63 – 8, 94, 111, 157, 165– 6, 186– 8 surveillance, 44, 46, 131– 2 ‘Al-Su’u¯d ila¯ al-Jalı¯l’ [‘Going up to the ˙ Galilee’] (Nasrallah), 167– 8 Swedenburg, Ted, 2 ‘The Symphony of Tranquility is Broken by the Howling of the Wolf’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Simphu¯niyyat al-hudu¯’ yaqta‘ha ’awa¯’ al-dhi’b’ (Nasrallah) Taha, Ibrahim, 2 Tegart, Sir Charles, 83 Terrestrial Waves (Nasrallah) see AlAmwa¯j al-barriyya (Nasrallah) testimony, 21 – 3, 74 Al-Thaqa¯fab, 32 That Smell (Ibrahim) see Tilka al-ra¯’iha ˙ (Ibrahim) ‘This Soldier has Only a Single Duty: To Kill’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Liha¯dha¯ al-jundı¯ mahamma wa¯hida ˙ al-qatl’ (Nasrallah) ˙ Tilka al-ra¯’iha [That Smell] (Ibrahim), ˙ 93 ‘Time and Man’ (Azzam) see ‘Al-sa¯‘wa wa-al-insa¯n’ (Azzam) transience, 117, 172– 3, 190– 5

LITERATURE IN EXILE

trees, motif of, 40, 72, 109, 111, 113–14 Tunisia, 11, 82, 138, 171, 172, 194–5 umma (Arab nation), 77 unnamed characters in Azzam, Samira, 34, 44 in Badr, Liana, 129, 175, 185, 189– 90 in Kanafani, Ghassan, 59 in Yakhlif, Yahya, 116 ‘Urı¯d ma¯’ [‘I Want Water’] (Azzam), 53–6 violence, 103, 105, 112, 115, 117 voices, 59 – 63, 101, 183– 4 Wa-qisas ukhra¯ [And Other Stories] ˙ ˙ (Azzam), 36 Al-waqa¯’i al gharı¯ba fı¯ ikhtifa¯’ Sa’ı¯d Ab¯i al-Nahs al-Mutasha¯’il [The Secret ˙ Life of Saeed: the Pessoptimist] (Habibi), 94 ‘The Wave’s Embrace’ (Nasrallah) see ‘Ina¯q al-mawja’ (Nasrallah) al-Wazir, Khalil, 175–6 weddings, 159, 167– 8 Weissberg, Robert, 200 West Bank, 10 –11, 90, 140, 143 What is Literature? (Sartre), 23 – 4, 26– 7, 31 – 2 women characters embodying Palestine, 40 – 3, 57, 102, 180, 184 as nurturers in ‘Bread of Sacrifice’, 40–3 women’s issues circumscribed public roles, 52, 129– 30, 172, 190 confinement, 129, 131, 133– 4, 172, 194 domesticity, 131, 182– 3 emancipation, 130, 173– 4, 177– 84, 222n11 experience of exile, 184– 95

INDEX honour, 44, 130– 2 Intifada (1987) and, 174, 177– 84, 222n11 marriage, 47 – 52, 177– 8, 179– 81, 181– 2 Palestine studies and, 140 Palestinian nationalism and, 10 respectability, 44 – 5 rumour, 44 – 6, 130 shame, 53 – 6 surveillance, 44, 46, 130 Yakhlif, Yahya ambivalence toward armed resistance, 114–15, 123–4, 127– 8 critique of nationalist leadership, 162 ‘Al-Dab’ [‘The Hyena’], 125– 6 ˙ humour in, 115– 16 Lebanese Civil War, 115– 16, 163 Nu¯rma¯ wa-rajul al-thalj [Norma and the Snowman], 115– 25

253

resistance fighters in, 119– 22 scepticism, 10 subversion of archetypes in, 118– 19, 122– 5, 127– 8 unnamed characters, 116 Yizhar, S., 164 Young, Robert, 86 ‘The Youngster and his Father and the Rifle go to Jideen Citadel’ (Kanafani) see ‘Al-Saghı¯r wa abu¯h ˙ wa-al-martı¯na yadhhabu¯n ila¯ qal‘at jidı¯n’ ‘The Youngster Borrows his Uncle’s Rifle and Goes East to Safad’ (Kanafani) see ‘Al-Saghı¯r yasta‘ı¯r ˙ martı¯nat kha¯lihi wa-yashriq ila¯ Safad’ ˙ Zalman, Amy, 15 Zangwill, Israel, 206n2 Zionism, 19 – 23, 206n2

SOAS Palestine Studies

‘Fixing its creative gaze on the short story – a form with its own of a genre, nationally inflected, but a genre through which the three great watersheds of Palestinian history (Nakba, Naksa, and Intifada) are movingly told ... A surprising and informative take on the varied literary portraits of anticolonialism’s true acid test.’ Timothy A. Brennan, Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota ‘In this beautifully written, textured, and thoughtful book, Farag traces the development of the Palestinian short story and highlights the significance of historical catastrophes, political commitment, and bold aesthetic innovation in the emergence and flourishing of this long-neglected genre. A must read for anyone interested in Palestinian literature and cultural production.’ Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS, University of London ‘Written in a flowing and engaging style, the study ultimately and forcefully fulfils its promise: showing the ways in which the historian and the political analyst, and their respective disciplines, can benefit from deeper study of Palestinian literary production.’ Ayman A. El-Desouky, Senior Lecturer in Modern Arabic and Comparative Literature, SOAS, University of London

Jacket image:A Palestinian fighter holds a kitten in the refugee camp of Burj Al Barajneh near Beirut, 8 July 1988. © Aline Manoukian

POLITICS AND PALESTINIAN literature in exile

peculiar logic, pacing, and poise – this book is not only the history

Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story

Joseph R. Farag is Assistant Professor of Arab Studies at the University of Minnesota. He holds a PhD from Queen Mary University of London where he was also Lecturer in Middle Eastern Literary Studies. Farag has also held a EUME postdoctoral fellowship at the Forum Transregionale Studien in affiliation with the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. His research examines the intersection of history, politics and cultural production in the modern Arab World, with particular emphasis on the Palestinian context.

Jacket design: Simon Levy

JOSEPH R. FARAG

www.ibtauris.com Centre for Palestine Studies

Despite, or even because of, their tumultuous history, Palestinians are renowned for being prolific cultural producers, creating many of the Arab world’s most iconic works of literature. In particular, the Palestinian short story stands out due to its unique interplay between literary texts and the political and historical contexts from which it emerges.

SOAS Palestine Studies

J o seph R . F a r ag

P O L ITI C S A N D PA L E STINI AN L ITE R ATU RE IN EXILE Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story

Politics and Palestinian Literature in Exile is the first English-language study to explore this unique genre. Joseph R. Farag employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the political function of literary texts and the manner in which cultural production responds to crucial moments in Palestinian history. Drawing from the works of Samira Azzam, Ghassan Kanafani, and Ibrahim Nasrallah, Farag traces developments in the short story as they relate to the pivotal events of what the Palestinians call the Nakba (‘catastrophe’), Naksa (‘defeat’) and First Intifada (‘uprising’). In analysing several as-yet untranslated works, Farag makes an original contribution to the subject of exilic identity and subjectivity in Palestinian literature. This book offers the opportunity to engage with literary works as well as to learn from a literary account of history, and will be of interest to students and scholars of both Arabic literature and Middle East Studies.