Tuesday 5 April 2016

Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin"

Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin" (aka The Scar of David) - 2010

Everyone who is only slightly interested in world peace should read this and see how much heartache there can be, how much trouble things can cause if not thought through well enough.

The problem started long before the Jews were sent to Palestine, to "a land without a people for a people without a land". The difficulty with that, it wasn't a land without a people, Palestinians had lived there for many many years. And you would have understood if they had had their new settlers integrate into the communities but this is not what happens and we are taught something completely different from what they keep teaching us.

If you read this book, you will no longer see the world in Black and White, the Palestinians as the bad guys and the Jews as the poor people who only want peace.

I have been to Israel and I have many Jewish friends. I love them all, I love the country, would have loved to stay. I have read several other books and articles about Israel and its neighbouring countries, both from the Jewish as well as the Palestinian side, so I am not here to judge.

But this book opens your eyes and shows you that there is a lot more to politics in Israel than we shall ever know.

It's a heartbreaking novel that shows hatred and tear but also love and joy, that shows how people struggle even through the biggest hardships and some make it through nevertheless. The characters are so well described, you start loving each and every single one of them.

It is so difficult to describe this book and really give it credit perfectly. All I can say is: Read it!

Movie rights have been bought but not yet been realized.

From the back cover:

"Palestine, 1948. A mother clutches her six-month-old son as Israeli soldiers march through the village of Ein Hod. In a split second, her son is snatched from her arms and the fate of the Abulheja family is changed forever. Forced into a refugee camp in Jenin and exiled from the ancient village that is their lifeblood, the family struggles to rebuild their world. Their stories unfold through the eyes of the youngest sibling, Amal, the daughter born in the camp who will eventually find herself alone in the United States; the eldest son who loses everything in the struggle for freedom; the stolen son who grows up as an Israeli, becoming an enemy soldier to his own brother.

Mornings in Jenin is a devastating novel of love and loss, war and oppression, and heartbreak and hope, spanning five countries and four generations of one of the most intractable conflicts of our lifetime."

Suggested reading from the book with some added ones from me (not all about Israel but probably all worthwhile):
Barakat, Ibrisam "Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood" - 2007
Barghouti, Mourid "I Saw Ramallah" - 1997
Hosseini, Khaled "The Kite Runner" - 2003
Hosseini, Khaled "A Thousand Splendid Suns" - 2007
Hosseini, Khaled "And the Mountains Echoed" - 2013
Karmi, Ghada "In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story" - 2002
Laird, Elizabeth "A Little Piece of Ground" - 2003
LeBor, Adam "City of Oranges" - 2006
Nusseibeh, Sari "Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life" - 2007
Said Makdisi, Jean "Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women" - 2004
Said, Edward "Out of Place: A Memoir" - 1999
Shehadeh, Raja "Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape" - 2008
Tolan, Sandy "The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East" - 2006

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