Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

By Ann M. Colford


For more than half a century, the world's most notable politicians and diplomats have debated what to do about Israel and Palestine, while soldiers and civilians alike wage war and pray for peace. A solution to the generations of dispute there can seem tantalizingly close or frustratingly distant. We see images of rock-throwing crowds and wailing mothers, and we hear the sounds of angry voices and gunfire. How seldom, amid the cacophony, do we hear poetry, or the details of daily life.


Palestinian exile and poet Mourid Barghouti fills this gap in his touching memoir, I Saw Ramallah, just released in English translation from Anchor Books. Barghouti, who was just days away from graduation at Cairo University when the Six Day War broke out in June 1967, was prevented from returning to his hometown in the West Bank, thus reducing family ties to telephone calls and letters. A few years later, Egyptian authorities sent him packing yet again, and he moved to Budapest. Finally, 30 years after his last departure from his homeland, he was allowed to return for a brief visit, thanks to the thaw in relations allowed by the Oslo Accords.


The memoir retraces his steps as he makes the journey -- as short as a narrow river crossing and as long as 30 years of yearning -- over the wooden bridge that separates Jordan from the West Bank. Barghouti's achievement lies in drawing the reader into the bubbling, meandering path of his memory as he walks. As a poet, Barghouti captures the significance of daily minutiae and lyrically weaves a narrative of loss, displacement and the tenacity of Palestinian culture.


I Saw Ramallah contains layer upon layer of politics, yet at its heart it is not a political book. Barghouti's story reveals how the political so easily overwhelms the personal for Palestinians, simply by virtue of their place at the crossroads of history, religion and geography. He is unflinching in his critique of Israeli policies, but he does not dehumanize Israelis, even soldiers. His criticisms extend to all who bask in power while people suffer, including some leaders in the Palestinian Authority.


The joy of this book is Barghouti's ability to see comedy and tragedy intertwined. I Saw Ramallah takes the abstraction of names from headlines and turns them into reality.





Publication date: 06/12/03

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation