Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

Richard Falk on eyewitness accounts of Palestine

December 21st seems to have been Gaza: Beneath the Bombs‘ lucky day. Nearly a year after it was published it’s easy to feel that all the fuss that has been made about a book has happened, but after yesterday‘s inclusion in the Morning Star’s critics’ choice for the year, we also got a mention in a blog post by Richard Falk, UN special rapporter on Palestinian human rights and emeritus professor of international law at Princeton.
Writing about the recent Human Rights Watch report on Israeli abuses of Palestinian human rights in the ‘Area C’ sections of the West Bank, Falk commented on the importance of eyewitness accounts of life in both Gaza and the West Bank. The report, he said, “brings to life abstractions and statistics by relating stories of specific individuals and particular communities that have endured the occupation or enjoyed the privileges of being a settler living in a settlement.” And he went on to comment that:

This confirms what has been reported in a series of powerful recent books on the occupation that rely on the power of storytelling to convey the actualities of social and political set of conditions. I would recommend highly the following recent books for capturing with compassion and concreteness the daily suffering and insecurity of Palestinian lives, thereby supplementing the more analysis and presentation of the practices reported upon so tellingly in the HRW Report. In my view these books extend the story being told in the report about life in Area C of the West Bank, even though their geographic focus is Gaza or another dimension of life in the West Bank: Laila El-Haddad, Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between (Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books, 2010); Rich Wiles, Behind the Wall: Life, Love and Struggle in Palestine (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2010); Ramzy Baroud, My Father Was a Freedom Fighter (London, UK: Pluto Books, 2010); Sharyn Lock (with Sarah Irving), Gaza Beneath the Bombs (London, UK: Pluto Books, 2010). Each of these books is powerful partly because it speaks so movingly from experience relying on the resources of the heart, as well as those of the head, and thereby creating unforgettable auras of enduring authenticity.

Please note: anyone buying Gaza: BTB from the Pluto link above can also make sure that a little cut of the price goes to the International Solidarity Movement or the FreeGaza boat project by entering the codes ISMGAZA or FREEGAZA at checkout.

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