Mourid Barghouti’s 'I Saw Ramallah'

Kim Jensen

Born in the village of Deir Ghassanah near Ramallah in 1944, well-known poet Mourid Barghouti was a literature student in Cairo when the 1967 war broke out. Within a few days, the whole of the West Bank had been occupied by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and Barghouti found himself one of the many “displaced” persons, barred for three decades from his home. The occasion of the Oslo Accords allowed some Palestinians, including Barghouti, to gain entry permits to the occupied territories. This momentous yet bittersweet return to his homeland provides a fitting context for this candid and poignant memoir of Barghouti’s 30 years of exile.


Hanna Mina’s ‘Sun on a Cloudy Day’: Potential of Revolt Always Present

Kim Jensen

Sun on a Cloudy Day
By Hanna Mina
Translated Bassam Frangieh and Clementina Brown
Passeggiata Press, 1997

In his introduction to Hanna Mina's "Sun on a Cloudy Day," the translator, Bassam Frangieh, notes that this book needs to be read more than once to be fully appreciated. This suggestion may or may not be true, but "Sun on a Cloudy Day" certainly needs to be approached, especially by the American reader, with a great deal of care. The use of a highly poetic and formal language, the somewhat surreal disclosure of the plot, and the questionable treatment of woman could all potentially present roadblocks toward appreciating this novel. But for a sensitive, astute reader, this personal and political "coming of age" tale, written by one of the greatest living Arab novelists, offers a powerful glimpse of the passion which allows humans to revolt against the most oppressive circumstances.


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