Any “listicle” on Gaza risks being an exploitative act, piggybacking on and redirecting attention from the current human catastrophe. But silence isn’t much of a solution, either. So, a list:
The Book of Gaza, ed. Atef Abu Saif, trans. various
One of this year’s PEN Promotes-winning titles, The Book of Gaza, features short work by Atef Abu Saif, Abdallah Tayeh, Talal Abu Shawish, Mona Abu Sharekh, Najlaa Ataallah, Ghareeb Asqalani, Nayrouz Qarmout, Yusra al Khatib, Asmaa al Ghul and Zaki al ‘Ela. You can order the book online.
Gaza Writes Back, ed. Refaat Alareer
This collection features stories, creative nonfiction, and commentary written in English by Gaza youth, in response to the 2008-2009 “Cast Lead” operation. You can read an interview with the book’s editor and order a copy.
“Still Life: Scenes from Gaza Time,” by Atef Abu Saif, trans. William Hutchins
Discovery He discovered suddenly that Gaza had a sea-a big sea too. It was blue-like a dark-colored painting-and in the evening the sun resembled a giant orange plunging into the watery abyss as it disappeared into the sea. Keep reading.
“Letter from Gaza,” by Ghassan Kanafani
I have now received your letter, in which you tell me that you’ve done everything necessary to enable me to stay with you in Sacramento. I’ve also received news that I have been accepted in the department of Civil Engineering in the University of California. I must thank you for everything, my friend. But it’ll strike you as rather odd when I proclaim this news to you — and make no doubt about it, I feel no hesitation at all, in fact I am pretty well positive that I have never seen things so clearly as I do now. No, my friend, I have changed my mind. I won’t follow you to “the land where there is greenery, water and lovely faces” as you wrote. No, I’ll stay here, and I won’t ever leave. Keep reading.
“Sleeping in Gaza,” by Najwan Darwish, trans. Kareem James Abu Zeid
Fado, I’ll sleep like people do
when shells are falling
and the sky is torn like living flesh
“Silence for the Sake of Gaza,” by Mahmoud Darwish, trans. Ibrahim Muhawi
Gaza is not the most beautiful of cities.
Her coast is not bluer than those of other Arab cities.
Her oranges are not the best in the Mediterranean.
Gaza is not the richest of cities. Keep reading.
“The Gaza Monologues,” produced by Ashtar Theatre
Mohammed Suliman’s Twitter account, @imPalestine
Suliman distills experience into dense, vivid tweets:
Yasser receives a call from IDF. Evacuate in ten minutes. He wasn’t home though. His family was. Hysterically, he phoned home. No one picked
A jet fires two missiles at a civilian house. The house becomes rubble. Five are instantly killed. 18 injured. The only survivor is a cat.
I turn on the TV. I hear a doctor describe how one wounded child pleaded with him to stop treating him and treat his baby brother instead.
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