Palestinian Voices Will Not Be Silenced: Book Recommendations
Palestine has been oppressed by the Israeli government for far too long. They have been silenced by the mainstream media for far too long. It is time we recognise their voices and bring them to the forefront. I'm a huge advocate for the influence literature has on social change and so, I've compiled a list of books and poetry written by Palestinian writers in the hope to elevate and spread these powerful Palestinian voices and their experiences that they've cemented into the pages and words of their pieces.
This list is my no means exhaustive, and I will continue to add more pieces of literature by Palestinian writers on my Library, so keep your eyes peeled.
Against The Loveless World - Susan Abulhawa
Susan Abulhawa's Against the Loveless World tells the tale of Nahr, a Kuwaiti-born daughter of Palestinian refugees. Nahr dreams of falling in love with the perfect man and raising a beautiful family; a dream that is rendered unattainable when the man she thinks she loves abandons her and her family are barely scraping by, being pushed closer and closer to poverty. She is forced to prostitute herself, and when the US invade Iraq, she becomes a refugee, just like her parents were all those years ago. After a short stay in Jordan, Nahr lands in the birthplace of her parents. In Palestine, it seems that she finally is able to create a home for herself, fall in love, and maybe get closer to fulfilling her dreams, but her destiny begins to unravel under the Israeli occupation, and her journey is far from over.
Abulhawa writes in powerful and lyrical prose, your mind will cling to the last words of every page long after you've turned onto the next. Telling the story shared by countless refugees fleeing from War and Occupation, Against the Loveless World is well worth a read, and I can guarantee that you'll love it as much as I do.
"...all that is left of my father is a man who sings the Fattooma song and wipes the coffee table with Windex until he dies and fades into the looming absence of a face in the framed photo hanging on the wall in a long abandoned Kuwait apartment in a country that abandoned us."
The Drone Eats With Me - Atef Abu Saif
The Drone Eats With Me is a complete diary of the events of the 2014 War. Saif allows us to witness the events from the perspective of a young father, fearing for his family’s safety. In The Drone Eats with Me, Abu Saif brings readers an intimate glimpse of life during wartime, as he, his wife, and his two young children attempt to live their lives with a sense of normalcy, in spite of the ever-present danger and carnage that is swallowing the place they call home.
Salt Houses - Hala Alyan
Salt Houses tells the story of a family uprooted in the wake of the six-day war in Palestine in 1967. Forced to leave their home in Nablus, Alia and her husband move to Kuwait city, attempting to build a life there with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990, they are forced to leave their home once more. The family scattering to Beirut, Paris and Boston. Soon Alia’s children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities.
If you're a fan of lyrically beautiful prose, heartbreaking tales of loss and survival - this book is for you. This book humanises the events of the 1967 six-day war and enables us to understand it in a way we've never thought of before.
“Nostalgia is an affliction like a fever or a cancer, the longing for what had vanished, wasting a person away. Not just the unbearable losses, but the small things as well.”
And for those of you who prefer to listen rather than read, here is some spoken word poetry!
Shades of Anger and Her Story - Rafeef Ziadah
Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian-Canadian Spoken Word Poet and Human Rights activist. Her poetry is so beautiful, and as Angela Davis says, "are more powerful than any weapon." My favourite pieces by Ziadah are 'Shades of Anger' and 'Her Story'.
'Shades of Anger' is a powerful poem filled to the brim with sharp words and statements detailing the past, present and future. From Ziadah's Palestinian heritage to the threat that Palestinian babies pose for the Israeli occupiers, this poem highlights the hypocritical nature of the Israeli army and critiques harsh Arab stereotypes in only 3:06 minutes.
Listen to it here: https://open.spotify.com/track/2fWO2eLOFIfxBTrduAviWi?si=f2ba51cc86db4193
'Her Story' is a completely heart-wrenching story of a woman and her love for Palestinian culture that she shares with her family. The poem highlights the betrayal felt by the Palestinian people when Israel began to occupy and destroy their lands through this personal narration of one woman's experience. It's incredibly powerful, and made me cry more than I'd care to admit.
Listen to it here: https://open.spotify.com/track/0pQlMFJOP6H5SUJJlcuoQ6?si=68ee6dc189a94946
The atrocities happening in Palestine are not new and they certainly aren’t complicated. Help spread Palestinian voices and fight the silencing of the Palestinian narrative by mainstream media outlets! Not only that, but make your voices heard, show your support, donate money to helping the people of Palestine. Palestinians need us more than, and we need to show up for them, because, as Nelson Mandela once said, "our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians"