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Description - I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti

The first narrative work of the well-known Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti is an autobiographical memoir about the ironies of homecoming. The bridge that Barghouti crosses as a young man leaving his country in 1966 to pursue university studies in Cairo is the same bridge that he uses to cross back in 1996 after thirty long years in the Diaspora. I Saw Ramallah is about home and homelessness. The harrowing experience of a Palestinian denied the most elementary human rights in his occupied country and in exile alike, is transformed into a humanist work. Palestine has been appropriated, dispossessed, renamed, changed beyond recognition by the usurpers, yet from the heap of broken images and shattered homes, Barghouti repossesses his homeland. Awarded the 1997 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9789774247552
ISBN-10: 9774247558
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 190
Imprint: The American University in Cairo Press
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Publish Date: 1-Dec-2002
Country of Publication: Egypt

Other Editions - I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti

Book Reviews - I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti

US Kirkus Review » An elegiac memoir, by a Palestinian intellectual and poet, of life in a land torn by war. Then a university student in Cairo, Barghouti was denied permission to return to his native city of Ramallah, on the West Bank, following the Six-Day War in 1967. Now one of the naziheen, or "displaced ones," he spent the next 30 years abroad, "afflicted by a Bedouin traveling, and I am not a Bedouin. I have never been able to collect my own library. I have moved between houses and furnished apartments, and become used to the passing and the temporary." On finally returning to Ramallah in the summer of 1996, Barghouti writes, he could recognize his old city only in outline, for the place, once an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, was now scarcely more than a ghost town ringed by Israeli settlements. "How many cities have wilted?" he mourns. "How many homes have not been kept up? How many bookshops could have been set up in Ramallah, how many theaters? The Occupation kept the Palestinian village static and turned our cities back into villages." Barghouti locates the blame for this reversal of fortune in the rightist governments of Rabin and Sharon, and his sense of aggrieved victimhood makes only a little allowance for such peace-inhibiting elements as suicide bombers and the PLO. He does suggest, subtly, that his fellow intellectuals aligned themselves too closely with the Arafat government, which has been none too democratic. ("He mends what is broken, rebuilds what is ruined, and chooses his supporters and enemies from among the people. Why, he even arrests citizens sometimes, imprisons them, and . . . tortures them.") And he does allow that his side is not blameless: "I am certain that we were not always a beautiful natural scene. But this truth does not absolve the enemy of his original crime that is the beginning and the end of this evil." Neither precious nor propagandistic: for readers on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Mourid Barghouti

University in 1967. His poems have been published in Beirut, Amman, and Cairo since 1972, and his Collected Works were published in Cairo in 1997. He lives in Cairo. Ahdaf Soueif was born in Cairo and educated in Egypt and England. She is the bestselling author of In the Eye of the Sun and The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Edward W. Said, an internationally renowned literary and cultural critic, is university professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, New York. He is the author of many books, including Culture and Imperialism and Orientalism.

Books By Mourid Barghouti

I Was Born There, I Was Born Here by Mourid Barghouti
Paperback, November 2012
Midnight and Other Poems by Mourid Barghouti
Paperback, November 2008
I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti
Paperback, May 2005