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Being Palestinian

Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora

Edited by Yasir Suleiman

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£16.99
Hardback
£80.00
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£80.00

‘These thoughtful, poignant reflections bring forth vividly some of the human dimensions of one of the great tragedies of current history, the forced dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland.’ - Noam Chomsky

‘This handsome collection speaks in a multiplicity of voices and textures that capture the enduring presence of the homeland in every Diasporic home. Palestinians and non-Palestinians will be moved by it in equal measure.’ - Azmi Bishara

How does it feel when you cannot find Palestine under ‘P’ in the encyclopaedia your father brings home? Why cultivate fig and orange trees in the Arizona desert? What does it mean to know every inch of a village you have never seen, a village that no longer exists?

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About the Author

Professor Yasir Suleiman is the first holder of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Sa'id Chair of Modern Arabic Studies and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. His many published works include A War of Words: Language and Conflict in the Middle East (2004), The Arabic Language and National Identity: A Study in Ideology (2003), The Arabic Grammatical Tradition: A Study in Tal'liil(1999), Literature and Nation in the Middle East (edited with Ibrahim Muhawi, 2006), Language and Society in the Middle East and North Africa (editor, 1999), Arabic Grammar and Linguistics (editor, 1998), Language and Identity in the Middle East and North Africa (editor, 1996) and Arabic Sociolinguistics: Issues and Perspectives (editor, 1994).

Reviews

‘Diaspora is linked to displacement but is not synonymous with it, not least because displaced people may re-root themselves in new places. In this volume, Diaspora comes into being in the maintenance of personal and collective roots to an Original place of return. This handsome collection of essays speaks in a multiplicity of voices and textures that capture the enduring presence of the homeland in every Diasporic home. Palestinians and non-Palestinians will be moved by it in equal measure.’

- Azmi Bishara, Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, Doha, Qatar

‘In diaspora, in Shatat, at home in exile, in historic Palestine, in refugee camps, scattered in every continent on the globe, gathered around their common cause, Palestinians are the masters of their own destiny, authors of their own lives, a nation by virtue of not just their ancestral homeland but also by a sustained history of struggle against the occupation and theft of their country. Yasir Suleiman’s magnificent volume, Being Palestinian, gathers a number of brilliant essays reflecting on what it means to be a Palestinian. The result is an uncommon constellation of insights by some of the brightest Palestinian minds on the open-ended nature of identities and alterities we inhabit and invent as we go through a life dignified by a noble cause. A tour de force and a must read!’

- Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, Hamid Dabashi

‘These thoughtful, poignant reflections bring forth vividly some of the human dimensions of one of the great tragedies of current history, the forced dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland. They bring to mind experiences in a miserable refugee camp in Lebanon, where I was invited to the "home" − a room − of a family expelled from the Galilee, who showed me their treasures − a photograph, the key to their destroyed home, other cherished mementos of a life stolen from them for which they yearn.’

- Noam Chomsky

‘This combination of haunting and elegant prose, gifted metaphor for unutterable loss, the rhythm of dispossession and dislocation, and triumphant love of life can only be Palestinian. What a remarkable collection of luminous essays, these stories inform and attach the reader to Palestine and her people more than a shelf of books on the ‘Arab-Israeli conflict’.’

- Karma Nabulsi, University of Oxford
'A remarkable collection of poignant reflections on identity, Diaspora, and personal history.'
- Roberto Bonazzi, Express-News

'Many of the authors describe their relationship with Palestine as complicated and ever-evolving, changing as the author transitions from childhood into adulthood. Yet, in spite of, or possibly because of, the associated hardships, each essay expresses pride in the author’s Palestinian identity. Readers will walk away with a better understanding of the fascinating shades of identity issues facing members of the diaspora, as the feeling of not belonging is a universal experience, perhaps an identity in itself.'

- Ravenel Godbold , This Week in Palestine
'Editor Suleiman, himself a Palestinian, is to be congratulated on this volume of personal reflections collected from Palestinians in the shatat (the diaspora), for the use of all those who may be curious and interested to learn more about his people who, in the West especially, are unfairly maligned by their enemies.'
- Issa J. Boullata, McGill University, Montreal, World Literature in Review

‘The book’s breadth of scope, lucidity of narrative, and mixture of literary registers make it stand out within the rich literature on the subject as a unique multiauthor Palestinian book of genesis/exodus.’

- Ahman Diab, Journal of Palestine Studies

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