December 2, 2023: Reading Palestine
December 2, Saturday (VIRTUAL)
1pm New York | 6pm London | 8pm Ramallah
As we seek the reserves necessary to keep engaging with the fight for Palestinian freedom, now is a particularly important time to return to the words of Palestinian writers themselves. Nowhere can we find more powerful expressions of resistance and the will to endure. This is not a teach-in or a seminar but an inclusive space to read, think, grieve, take solace and inspiration in literature and poetry. We will provide the novella “Men in the Sun” by Ghassan Kanafani to start the discussion and we ask you to bring a poem to share with the group if you would like.
About Ghassan Kanafani's "Men in the Sun"
Originally published in 1962, "Men in the Sun" tells the story of three Palestinian refugees who take on a clandestine, humiliating and dangerous journey from refugee camps in Iraq to find work in Kuwait. The refugees belong to three generations of men who have endured the loss of their homeland, Palestine, and alternate between despair, hope and resilience as the journey unfolds. While themes of exile, resistance, displacement and masculinity seem prominent, Kanafani demands we ask urgent political questions about the aftermaths of the Nakba of 1948: what could have been done? Why were Palestinians abandoned without any allies? Why is everybody immune to Palestinian suffering?
Ghassan Kanafani (1936-1972) was a writer, activist and a prominent member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He was an advocate of the notion of "resistance literature" for Palestinians and declared that literature was the motivating spirit behind his politics. Kanafani began writing fiction while working as a teacher in a refugee camp and many of his works feature a child's perspective. He had a prodigious output of short stories, essays and novellas. Kanafani was uncompromising and vocal about his commitment to the cause for the liberation of Palestine. In 1972, he was assassinated by the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, in Beirut who planted an explosive in his car instantaneously killing Kanafani and his young niece. He was only 36 years old.