Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An intifada of my own: Mini-review of "Beyond the Wall"

Add to Technorati Favorites Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path through PalestineBeyond the Wall: Writing a Path through Palestine by Bidisha
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path through Palestine by Bidisha is a brief excursion into the daily life and struggles Palestinians face under apartheid Israeli rule and occupation. Written after going to Palestine to participate in a literary festival, Bidisha presents a first-person account, mincing no words describing the Israeli military and settlers inhumane treatment and obliteration of Palestine. Bidisha brings you along to see the walls, feel the bombing of Palestinians persons, homes, traditions and lands, experience the normalization of racism, hate the sexism and militarism on the streets and the treatment of women, while getting glimpses of the virtual interpenetration of resistance and culture at the Palfest she is attending.

This is a good book to gift to someone who should already be familiar with the situation in Palestine. While this may not a book for experts or organizers who have studied, organized protests, visited the Middle East, everyone should read it to understand how the occupation of Palestine and her resistance has implications for all of us.

How the Walls Connect Us

Closer to the U.S. home, the wall the U.S. is building and extending along the Mexican border is directly linked by the same policies of Israeli apartheid. The same companies and strategists that built the Israeli walls have been consulted by the U.S. government for the Mexican border wall.

The walls in Palestine and on the U.S.-Mexico border funnel people, communities and cultures to evaporation, disappearance and death. This is not inevitable but deliberate. Although the walls represent deliberate policies and strategies meant to harm and undermine people's mobility, right to place, and self-determination, survival is not being deterred by walls, armies and occupation. Survival is the hallmark of resilient cultures.

Nonetheless, Palestinians under occupation and migrants and women on the U.S.-Mexico border are paying a deadly price. The walls in Palestine will be torn down; it might take a decade or two and from behind them will emerge a new people more determined and having the potential of renewing human culture on a world scale.

Which Side Are You On?

Well, Bidisha doesn't say all this in her short Beyond the Wall. She writes so that we can see over the walls and what they are covering up: settler colonialist violence against Palestinian, against women and violence against the land and human dignity.

Bidisha lets us get on her shoulders to peer over the walls so that we can decide with a deeper certainty if we will be or not be part of this apartheid now or in the future.

Our futures are bound up by the walls and the struggles to tear them down. Her book could have easily asked her readers: Which side of the wall are you on?

Well, which side are you on?
C.S Beyond the Wall  Writing a Path through Palestine

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