Friday, August 15, 2014

Gazan writers' recent contributions to the international media

On 23 July this blog published a post on The Book of Gaza: A City in Short Fiction, an anthology of short stories by Gazan writers edited by author, journalist and political scientist Atef Abu Saif and published recently by Comma Press of Manchester, England. Abu Saif had visited the UK in June for a tour to promote the book, which has two awards from English Pen, for translation and for promotion. A  sign of the very difficult situation for besieged Gazans was that Abdallah Tayeh, a contributor to the book, had been unable to get out of Gaza to accompany Abu Saif on the tour as had been planned.

 The Book of Gaza: A City in Short Fiction

Not only after Abu Saif returned to Gaza from his UK tour the Israelis started their assault on Gaza and Hamas launched rockets into Israel. The Tanjara blog post of 23 July included emails from Abu Saif and some of the other nine contributors to The Book of Gaza to Comma's Founder and Editorial Manager Ra Page telling of the impact of the onging Israeli air, land and sea attacks.

 Atef Abu Saif (L) with Comma Press publisher Ra Page at the Mosaic Rooms in London in June

Over the past three weeks articles by several of the writers whose short stories appear in The Book of Gaza have been published in the international media.The articles are a remarkable collection of testimonies, reflections and observations, taking us deep into the Gaza experience.

I Do Not want to Be a Number by Atef Abu Saif, Slate, 23 July 2014
The Children Have Barely Slept by Atef Abu Saif, Guernica Magazine, 31 July 2014
We wait each night for death to knock at the door by Atef Abu Saif, the Sunday Times, 27 July 2014 Life Life Under Fire in Gaza: The Diary of a Palestinian  by Atef Abu Saif, the Guardian, 28 July 2014
Eight Days in Gaza: Life and Death in the Gaza Strip by Atef Abu Saif, New York Times, 4 August 2014
We're OK in Gaza by Atef Abu Saif, Guernica Magazine, 8 August 2014

 Nayrouz Qarmout 

Umm Ahmed: Newsflash a short story by Nayrouz Qarmout, in English Pen's Pen Atlas, 29 July 2014
Life in War by Nayrouz Qarmout, English Pen's Pen Atlas, 31 July 2014
My City Burning Peacefully by Nayrouz Qarmout in The Electronic Intifada, 26 July 2014 

Tomorrow the war ends by Najlaa Ataallah,  New Statesman, 31 July 2014
The 14th Night (The Massacre) - Najlaa Ataallah in Diritti Globali, 7 August 2014

 Abdallah Tayeh

The First Refugee Centre by Abdallah Tayeh in Diritti Globali, 8 August 2014

 Without Words by Mona Abu Sharekh, Guernica Magazine, 6 August 2014

Asmaa al-Ghoul
Asmaa al-Ghoul (or al-Ghul) is a columnist on Al-Monitor, to which she has contributed a number of articles during the Israeli assaults.

The Asmaa al-Ghoul page on Al-Monitor has links to articles by the writer and  human rights activist, who was in 2012 awarded the Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women's Media Foundation.

Her recent articles include

Gaza residents return to destroyed homes, posted on 14 August 2014

and the intensely moving and thought-provoking:
Never ask me about peace again written after al-Ghoul found her own uncle's home in Rafah had been targeted by two  Israeli F-16 missiles, killing her uncle and eight members of his family including a 24-day-old baby.

Al-Ghoul begins her article:

"My father’s brother, Ismail al-Ghoul, 60, was not a member of Hamas. His wife, Khadra, 62, was not a militant of Hamas. Their sons, Wael, 35, and Mohammed, 32, were not combatants for Hamas. Their daughters, Hanadi, 28, and Asmaa, 22, were not operatives for Hamas, nor were my cousin Wael’s children, Ismail, 11, Malak, 5, and baby Mustafa, only 24 days old, members of Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Fatah. Yet, they all died in the Israeli shelling that targeted their home at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday morning.

"Their house was located in the Yibna neighborhood of the Rafah refugee camp. It was one story with a roof made of thin asbestos that did not require two F-16 missiles to destroy. Would someone please inform Israel that refugee camp houses can be destroyed, and their occupants killed, with only a small bomb, and that it needn’t spend billions to blow them into oblivion?

"If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas. They are women, children, men and senior citizens whose only concern was for the war to end, so they can return to their lives and daily routines. But let me assure you that you have now created thousands — no, millions — of Hamas loyalists, for we all become Hamas if Hamas, to you, is women, children and innocent families. If Hamas, in your eyes, is ordinary civilians and families, then I am Hamas, they are Hamas and we are all Hamas."

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