Sunset Diaries

And to every end a journey, and to every journey an end.

Advertisements

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

We choose to use the language that we want people to understand

Book Review.

“Culture is interpretation. Facts are made, and the facts we interpret are made and remade. They cannot be collected as if they were rocks, picked up and put into cartons and shipped home to be analyzed in the laboratory.” Refelections on Fieldwork in Morocco by Paul Rabinow was my book choice for February.

It is a great book for people who wish to get a little deeper insight on anthropology and the work anthropologists can do. It is also insightful to how interpretations can take place between different cultures, how perspectives and situations matter, where our eyes are set to be seen from and how the person seen chooses to present his subjects. It is quiet mind moving, and gets us thinking about the way we view new cultures when we first get introduced to them, and since today we live in a cosmopolitan world through the internet if not through the cities we live in, the way we perceive new cultures lies on the hands of both the viewer and the viewed. And I personally think, it is becoming more important today, to open up the spaces between our understanding to the tool of communication.

Bourdieu in his afterword in Reflection on Fieldwork in Morocco said, “But, as is usual with these matters involving much more cognitive understanding, we must not believe too quickly in our own comprehension.’ And I believe this does not only go to Anthropologists per se, maybe Anthropologists should just be more aware of their comprehension since they tend to later communicate their comprehension of their study, but at least we need to highlight to ourselves and to others, that our comprehension is according to the situation we were in, and different comprehension is always possible.

Bourdieu also compares our communication relationship with what Jean Piaget once said, “it is not so much that children don’t know how to talk: they try out many languages until they find the one their parents can understand”, and this opens up a wide spectrum to our reflection on what we encounter, for truly, I for one, would communicate differently depending on the person who is of my opposite. How I predict their level of understanding of my world will affect my choice to how I wish to communicate it to them.

Just being Anthropologically Tangled

I started loosing my mind, but it is that sense of loosing that you know and you have experienced before, it is that moment when your brains are vomiting out ideas like a volcano explosion, I am certainly uncertain about how good or bad that is to say… Ideas, can they ever be bad? Pressuring, time consumption, possibility, vulnerability behind intentions, have I really come up with this idea for the sake of the before and after ideas, or is it a really good idea. You leave it, sleeping in your notes on your phone, or you stick it on a post it in front of your every day wall, or you scratch it down in one of your note books, I tried several times to organize that habit of mine that includes notes scattered everywhere, I have even started this blog just because of that, I think I have it written somewhere in my introduction or past introduction identifying the reason behind starting a blog: “to have one place for all my stars in my sky”. Sky, but there is a sky everywhere, isn’t there. I mean you go to Africa and there you have a sky, the same sky that you see in South East Asia, and then you have stars, but they are not always the very same stars, and this is my life with my notes, only a little overwhelming when I come to think about adding one more. But I add it, just in case you never know, one day, some day I might need it or find it or get back on it, does this happen to you at all? And this again goes back to my reason behind choosing to get into Anthropology, I just want to study people, my ideas are around understanding people, understanding situations, knowing the “unclear” a better word chosen to “unknown”, I just want to study things that happen that we can not utter in words, and so there is a complication in verbalizing, and so I suddenly am attracted to them like gravity calling me to make meaning of things.

Just a note on this post: I have been readings and thinking non stop about anthropological approach to anthropological topics for the past 24 hours “Dissertation Topic Matters”, maybe it will make better sense to my explicit post.

Added to the daily prompt on: Vanish

14716270_1813588655545074_2605521289298996979_n14713511_1814089665494973_5765021438301946852_n

What is your status?

It is an incredible feeling to go beyond yourself and realize that it takes more than a status to really tell if the person in front of you is a good soul or a poisoned soul. Poisoned only from the self at most times, but good always with the heart and inner intentions. It is not about religious belief, race or language that defines how good or compatible the person is, and it is not about genre, situations, or stereotype cultivation. But it is always about base intentions. The mind set in harmony with the heart. It is never about general judgment, it can never be about first impression, and it is not about generalization. People are different, and real people are hard to find. So most people are just simply imitations, and some are just trying to find their true souls, questioning; where do they fit in the most? And only few times, the pure pulls the pure, towards one person or another. Your heart speaks to you and when it does, it is truth. “Don’t let your thoughts cast a shadow over your heart” Rumi once said, because your thoughts are noise, only noise that was created by the other, and the other could have been poisoned and so now you have been poisoned too. Don’t generalize. You have never asked or truly tried to see behind that first impression you have received. That status. That same status that is only a label; a label that was possibly imprinted quickly, have you even ever looked at your status? How many people have similar statuses as you? How alike are you? How would you feel when you have been put in a closed circle and you go along those people who have that similar status? How much are they like you? How much of you are they? So don’t generalize. A status is only a label, to define you, but it can never be who you truly are. It is just armor. I don’t even know why we need that armor anymore in a world where it is so wide open to one another, and one status can never identify you as someone else who has the same status as you. Muslim, Arab, single with a Western Mind. What can this mean to you anyway? How could this mean one thing all the time? Do you know how many carry that very same status? But we don’t all like ice-cream, we don’t all enjoy dancing, we don’t all read Rumi, we don’t all speak 3 different languages, we don’t all fast Ramadan, we don’t all enjoy shisha, we don’t all agree about equal rights, and we sure don’t all love pizza!!! So why are we generalizing? Just because he is an Atheist, British, Married, Rock and Roll fan, why can he not have so much in common with me? What is a status today when the status itself does not represent itself anymore? How many Muslim act the very same way? Believe in the very same thing? Practice the very same way? How many Westernized Arabs think the same way? Enjoy the same thing? Agree on the same values? And how many rock and roll fans are Atheists? British? And how many Atheists are not open to learn about religions? Or no longer question the existence of God? Or practice values that were derived from religions? Again you might have started to generalize again, the questions here are not about the status, it is about different people with same status only because they had to be identified to the world, and what did we do? We decided to imprint that first impression, and what did that first impression do? It prevented us from really seeing the true soul of that person we have just met. So Voila, maybe it is time to stop criticizing before feeling annoyed being criticized.

Sunset in Tripoli