I was born There ,I was born Here by Mourid Barghouti

I was born there ,I was born Here by Mourid Barghouti

Palestine memoir

Translator – Humphrey Davies

Source – Review copy

I was sent this late last year read it but never got to review it but just at the moment seems the right time to review it ,with the current situation in Gaza .I reviewed his earlier book I saw Ramallah .Mourid Barghouti is a Palenstine Poet   .He grew up in Ramallah in Palenstie ,he went in the late sixties to study in Egypt and was caught in Egypt by the six day war .Thus he spent the next thirty years in Exile first in Egypt where he married a well known Egyptian writer ,then he spent time in Hungary as a representative of the PLO.He returned in 1996 for the first time to Palenstine ,this made up the earlier book I reviewed I saw Ramllah ,this book is kind of a follow up .

The passengers don’t appear particularly upset at the news of the impending attack announced by Mahmoud .In fact ,the fat passenger sitting in front of me in the middle seat comments sacastically “as if the film needed more action! every day they kill us retail and once in a while they get the urge to kill us wholesale .Big deal !

From section with the driver Mahmoud the everyday living under attack

I was born There ,I was born Here is a collection of snippets of life through Barghouti eyes ,we meet his driver whilst he is Palestine at a literature festival Mamhoud ,we see him telling Mourid his view on life in Palestine ,living under constant attack  and how they just cope with it as part of there lives .Elsewhere we see how the world of writers have been involved when he meets Jose Saramago a writer who once compared Ramallah’s situation to that at Auschwitz .There is a great story about the struggle to get from place to place when they are stopped by some soldiers at a roadblock in Israeli .Showing his son his birth place in Deir Ghassana is a touching moment .

“You are in violation of the law ”

“What’s the driver’s license got to do with you ? Are you a traffic policeman ? Only the Palestinian traffic police can punish me ,which it will have the right to do .This is what the argeement between us says ”

“I don’t know anthing about agreements .Screw agreements .Here the only law is the law of the state of Israel understood ?

A conversation when there car is stopped en route to Deir Ghassanah

Like I saw Ramallah the poet in Mourid Barghouti has a keen observer eyes among the struggle of everyday life in modern Palestine is a dry wit ,the fact that yes life is hard but they can most of the time see humour in the situations they find  . Now it hard to take sides in the conflict between Palestine and Israeli .But I find reading books from both sides makes you think how bad things are especially for the Palestinian people that seem to have been given the rough end of the deal completely after the formation of Israeli . I do often wonder where all this will end up (having grown up with half my family from ulster ,I know there can be some hope for many years ago that situation seemed to be with out end the some how managed to sort itself out ) .So I hope you read this book and get an insight into the everyday in Palestine.Another wonderful translation by Humphrey Davies from Arabic .A last wordfrom me  my heart goes out to those on both sides that have needlessly lost there lives in recent days  .

Do you have a favourite Palenstine writer ?

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 20:09:20

    I’ve read a couple of Palestinian authors but only reviewed one on my blog (Touch by Adania Shibli http://wp.me/phTIP-2L3) but I just wanted to echo what you say about how important it is for people to try to understand both sides, and to hope for a fair resolution before too many more people get killed. As you say, it is possible.


  2. Claire 'Word by Word'
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 20:50:02

    A wonderful writer and thanks for highlighting this new book of his.

    I really like the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian poet, who died not so long ago. His works are universal and translated into many different languages. I shared an excerpt from his poem A Rhyme for the Odes recently as a tribute on his anniversary. It is from a collection translated into English called Unfortunately, It Was Paradise. Truly wonderful.


  3. karlo mikhail
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 23:19:46

    Indeed, this is a timely review. I hope I can read Darwish soon. Stop the brutal Israeli airstrikes against the people of Gaza! No to a US-sponsored Israeli invasion of Palestinian land!


  4. parrish lantern
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 06:18:36

    Sounds like a fascinating read by a wonderful poet, at the moment I’m investigating poetry from the Arab world.


  5. Caroline
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 06:41:17

    Sounds like something I’d like to read. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Palestinian author but I have the one or the other book in German translations.


  6. Gavin
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 03:01:33

    I am a fan of Mahmoud Darwish, but have yet to read Barghouti. This one has been on my TBR list for a while, thanks for the reminder, Stu.


  7. Jenifer S.
    Nov 25, 2012 @ 17:26:41

    Thank you for the review. My mother-in-law is Palestinian, born in Jerusalem, forcefully removed from her home in 1948. I think this will be a lovely Christmas gift for her. I look forward to reading it myself.


  8. Geraldine
    Nov 27, 2012 @ 15:20:27

    I can recommend the novel Mornings in Jenin also published as The Scar of David by Susan Abulhawa. Set in the Jenin refugee camp and about the conflict. I am living in Jerusalem and work as a volunteer in Palestine. I am neither Jew nor Arab but I have many friends who are both. I liked your comment about having sympathy for both sides. Most of the people here want to live in peace and have a future for their children.


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November 2012


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