Book Review: Struggle & Survival in Palestine/Israel

‘Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel’ book is an incredible read by all means, I actually can not wait to start reading it all over again and copy out the quotes that I found to be informatively mind changing.

For those of you who wish to lean about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and for those who know enough but wish to learn more ethnographic stories collected from pre Ottoman to the recent situation, this book is highly recommended. It is a collection of stories/essays about individuals who set an example of many who follow, be it Palestinian or Jewish, the authors are mostly scholars, anthropologists and specialized in the Israeli Palestinian conflict as well as Middle Eastern studies and they bring together a wide perspective juxtaposed to form a some kind of 360 historic view upon the situation. Israelis who were immigrants and how their immigration reflects upon them and how it slowly translates into their recent development into different ideologies and perception, sided with vis versa stories of Palestinians and their evacuation making them refugees or revolutionists or with shattered identities. This book is massive explosion of information, and what I love mostly about it is the diversity in its selection to collect stories that include the refugee, holocaust survivor, the zionist understanding in different perspectives from murder fanatics to just lovers of the land, the person behind Rabin’s assassination and the Leftist who bought a Palestinian home to the humanitarian who joins Palestinian protests and revolutionists, while stories of the Palestinians include, the modernists, the educated, the farmer, the refugee, the suicide bomber, and the activist. The book ends with the tragedy of the present day, the ongoing injustice and blind folded Zionists who continue to make this reality and long living tragedy.

On May 15 the world all together will remember the Nakba; marking 70 years this year for the 700,000 Palestinian made refugees who have become today around 7,000,000 stateless, homeless, with minimal to no human rights and we still continue to live recognizing the state of Israel who happen to be the reason behind this catastrophe.

This book, helps us understand a better picture of the conflict, a sided view of understandings, and a to understand the stories in this book is a step closer to a more free humanity.

From the book:

Page 93: ‘From then on, Yizhar seemed to have lost his naive faith in the wisdom and sound judgment of political leaders… Page 95: There seems to be no doubt as to his innocence, and the storyteller hopes his commander will let the man go, yet ‘security’ has the upper hand, and at the end of the day the shepherd is taken away. There is no big drama in the stories; they are but a glimpse into the reflections of a single soldier who sees things differently.

Page 117: ‘Canaan’s biographers underline his nationalism and the connection between his ethnography and his political involvement during the mandate, linking his interest in popular culture with a desire to defend Palestine against the political, demographic, and cultural challenge of Zionism.’

Page 145: ‘Abul Rahim became aware at a still young age of the danger the Zionist project in Palestine and the British Mandate’s commitment to support it. Jewish colonies were built on the coastal plains not far from his lands. He saw peasants evicted from sold lands becoming homeless and unskilled laborers in towns.’

Page 166: ‘In American Hillel discovered that nations were in fact political and civiv entities rather than organic cultural communities, as they were understood to be in Eastern Europe and Palestine; one could, for example, be both American and Jewish without the one identity threatening the other. For Hillel, distinguishing between Jewish as a religious adulation and Hebrew as national affiliation both reflected reality and provided solution to the problem of dual loyalty. The Jews in America were Jewish by religion and American by nationality. In Palestine, they were Jewish by religion and Hebrew by Nationality. The tragedy of European Jewry was that they were denied the liberty of choosing their nationality and were frequently not accepted into the body politics. The entire raison d’etre of Zionism became cleat to Hillel: to grant this freedom of choice to Jews.’

Page 193: ‘Walid told us what had happened to him. We knew that he had fled his village as a boy in 1948 amid the chaps and dear and found himself alone in Lebanon. He thought his family had preceded him there, but instead they had hidden in the mountains and returned to their village after the fighting stopped, becoming citizens of the Israeli state… Page 194: ‘In keeping with his greater life philosophy, his struggle for him as a Palestinian was about positive change, redemption, and humanity.’

Page 234: ‘My mother came running from the kitchen to find an Israeli army unit handcuffing her children and dragging them into the street. The event was customary. Soldiers often stormed into homes people’s homes and broke the arms and legs of men and boys so as to send a stern message to the rest of the neighborhood that they would receive the same fate if they continued with their intifada.’

Page 302: ‘Israeli advertisements for homes in Abu Tur and other formerly Palestinian neighborhoods of West Jerusalem henceforth employed this tern as a means to identifying the value of the property in question: “authentic Arab-style house in Baka… with original tiled floors and high ceilings”; “superb Arab house completely refinished in the heart of New Tzedek”; “Arab house for sale in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem… with lots of arches.”…Page 393 ‘I just want to make a Zionist statement before I go on, in terms of living in an Arabic house. This did not bother me in the slightest. I mean, if it had bothered me, I wouldn’t have made aliya. And because we had contact with the Kurdish family who lived here before us, I actually associate the house more with their period than with the previous Arab owners, none of whom I had any contact with. This isn’t to say that I am not interested in the history of this house, the question of why there was a cistern underneath the property, and so on. As an archeologist and ancient historian, I’n very interested. But politically speaking, it’s not a problem for me.’

*Aliya in the above context mean immigration to the State of Israel

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Our Beauty

The perfect place for coffee time… or journal writing, book reading, self reflecting, listening to a podcast or favorite music, this place is the perfect place for good time, for inner time, for culture time. Take a dear person, show them around what really is ours, our culture, our history, our art, our ambiance. This is the meaning of true beauty, not trying to hard to be someone other than the self, but trying enough to be the best self.

Spring in Webdeh

What about closing out the outside world,

What about staying inside your own being exploring your own ventures,

What about not giving a f and listening to your inner sound,

What about being sure your not missing out and instead you explore the movements within you,

What about you ignore it all and just give yourself the chance to explore your being,

Create some art, your kinda art, the art that is just different from anything else, and guess what, it is only art when it does not necessarily make the same sense to everyone else…

What is inside you let it outside,

Make it your outside world,

Make it what you have been missing out on instead,

Make your own art your life.

Elif Shafak & the Women in Today’s Islamic World 

Encounters: While meeting and getting my book signed by Elif Shafak who is both inspiring and a change maker. She talked about how today is a day when women need one another the most. That one must not be selfish to only ask for their rights and when obtained to ignore the rights of everyone else and to accept them being taken away, that we should fight for our rights all together for our freedom of rights. She also talked about uncertainty, that when we are certain we think we know it all and know no other, and it is always the cause of trouble as we stop accepting the other; which could be different which could be better. She talked about being confused, is being humble is being modest, that when one is always open to new answers for old questions you are not necessarily opposing but just giving yourself the chance for gradual growth. Elif might be contradictory to many people today, she might be controversy, but in my opinion Elif is only in search for unity, for freedom of rights, for opportunity, for being less judgmental and more diverse. I am saying all this because i agree with her attitude towards life, for she is a Turkish woman, who is taking her opportunity as an internationally recognized author to speak and to represent not only herself, but everyone else. She speaks in the name of peace, for everyone and not only for what meets her right, and in today’s world i must say and agree, that people like her, are much needed. And we do not need to like her or like every single thing she has to say, or agree with them, and we do not necessarily have to accept her attitude to life or her beliefs, like we do not have to agree or like anyone else’s, but to live together in peace, we need to at least accept them as human beings and accept their rights to be the human they were born to be, as long as they don’t over cross or step over anyone else. It is my right to have rights but it is also your right to have yours. I truly wish and stand along with Elif for a world to better understand, that in order for me to be happy, your happiness is important too. I think it is about time to realize one’s unhappiness which might cause so much suffering, is causing as well so much violence for their rights to be heard.

A Piece 

Found this beauty this morning on my instagram (EmergEast) and felt it was worthy to share. Since I have been absent from my blog, I decided why not do simple spreads whenever I could until I can give this blog my time again.

It has been hectic as going back to school after you turn thirty is pretty different than when you go to school right away. It is a different form of decision and will, priorities change and the will to aim high changes.

This on the other hand is a photograph from my weekend of Persian Food that I was absolutely brushed away by their sincerity in giving love and art to their plates. A Saffron Chicken dish sparkled with dried petals, grated vegetables for garnish, colorful spices and yogurt, not to forget some red-hot chilli pepper and parsley. indulge.

And although it was a gloomy weekend, it managed to still be colorful and beautiful.

Anyway have a colorful week.

Why you want to add Ghent to your Travel List

I was going to title this blog post (Ghent is better looking than Bruges) but I felt that would be unfair for me to say. Bruges is beautiful, but there was a little something more to Ghent. Like an unfamiliar spice maybe, that hits you with a spark that does not budge. Seriously, Ghent took my breath away, I think it was above my expectations, maybe I had very little expectations of it, maybe it is underrated. Ghent is so beautiful, it is mesmerizing. I still remember very well entering the city of Ghent, we decided to visit it before Bruges so we get most of the time in Bruges, but I guess the next time I will want to spend a full day in Ghent.

We entered the city, that slowly grew to become more medieval, the castles, and architecture of the middle ages are so loud and enormous, you will find your self in aw. The river is captivating, and you get to see it everywhere you look, between bridges, streets, shops and houses. This city kept surprising us with more beautiful architecture, art on the walls, and energy. There is energy in Ghent that I have not tasted elsewhere. You will find yourself smiling, and maybe dancing between the streets, literally, I did it, I even skyped with loved ones, I had to show them what I was seeing, it is that beautiful. The more you walk, the more you will be captivated by it, the more you will feel drawn to it, and the more you will want to spend more time in it. So visit Ghent with time between your hands, don’t rush it, don’t squeeze it between two cities, don’t underestimate it. It sure is more beautiful than you will expect or see in my photographs.

Enjoy this song while you are at it…

For the full blogpost click here. 

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Art found in Bruges

I am a little late publishing the post about my visit to Bruges… actually, am a little too late. I have visited Bruges last march, yup that is around six months ago, wow, it was at the beginning of the year, and look at us now in September. Well I have been pretty busy discovering more about myself, trying to put my pieces into places, I think I have done a good job, I deserve to celebrate, but I will wait a little more on the celebration.

For now, I will focus on sharing my remarkable experience in Bruges. This city, I must say is not like any other. It is heavenly beautiful. Your eyes will want to pop out from their place, like literally, if you are into architecture as much as I am, or even not so, you will just be crying while you look at the art pieces built together, this place is better than lego land. The houses, the colors of the doors, the way they are so flat and just like a big poster, but a 3D or a 4D poster (whatever makes more sense to you) where you can just open doors, and windows, and live inside them, this place… who lives in Bruges anyway?

It looks like a vacation city, imagine living in a vacation city? Well I guess that option is available. The only thing I did not enjoy, and it is kinda upsetting to have not enjoyed one thing in this pleasant place, is it’s food. The food was pretty disappointing. But I guess this gives you a reason to do prepare a nice picnic or just eat some fruits while you stroll.

A song to enjoy yourself while you look at the photographs

Click here for the real blogpost… or for more pictures of doors.

A song to enjoy yourself while looking at my photographs:

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Click here for more. 

More on Belgium…