• “Not to Get Lost in the Loss”: Narrating the Story in Mourid Barghouti’s I Was Born There, I Was Born Here and in Deborah Rohan’s The Olive Grove – A Palestinian Story."

    Hania A.M. Nashef (see profile)
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, CLCS Global Arab and Arab American, GS Prose Fiction, LLC Arabic, TC Memory Studies
    Arabic language, Comparative literature, Literature and history, Literature, Middle Eastern literature
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    memory, memory studies, trauma, Palestine, Mourid Barghouti, History and literature
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    In his introduction to Mourid Barghouti novel, I saw Ramallah, Edward Said refers to the Palestinians as a displaced and a misplaced people. Regardless of the nationalities they carry or countries they live in, they carry with them the trauma of events that led to the loss of their homeland, and the grief of this loss and endless displacement. In a conversation between a father and a son in Mahmoud Darwish’s Journal of Ordinary Grief, the son enquires of the father as to why he is picking up pebbles, to which the father answers that these are petrified pieces of his heart; it is a loss he is searching for as he refuses to get lost in his loss, which is the loss of his homeland. The sense of displacement and loss pervade modern Palestinian literature. In his novel, I was born there, I was born here, Barghouti describes the pain as a historical one that refuses to go away. One way of dealing with this pain is to be able to tell one’s story. But as Barghouti rightly remarks, Palestinians are forbidden to tell their stories, as their story is often narrated by their enemies, as the conflict over the land becomes the struggle to tell the story. The absence of the story leads to the absence of the people, especially when the name Palestine is no longer on the world map, and its only mention is in the news as number of casualties or dead. Palestinians embody this absence and presence. In this paper, I would like to look at Barghouti’s I was Born There, I was Born Here, and Deborah Rohan’s The Olive Grove: A Palestinian Story as the protagonists revisit what is left of the historic Palestine, to make sense of this absence by trying to pass on their stories and address the trauma that has marked their lives.
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