Anyone Interested in Palestine or the Holocaust Must Read Susan Abulhawa’s Masterpiece ‘Mornings in Jenin’
While reading one of the many articles on the Israeli genocide in Gaza, I scrolled down to the comment section out of habit. I noticed one commenter suggest the book, Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa, so I took a screenshot as a reminder to download it on my kindle. Little did I know that I was just introduced to what would become one of my favorite books of all time.
I should probably mention that I’ve always had a slight obsession with the holocaust. For some reason, I’ve always found myself drawn to the subject, unable to fathom how one group could justify exterminating another. It’s probably the same underlying reason for my slight obsession with the war on Palestine.
I downloaded the book and couldn’t put it down until 6 am the following morning. The incredible yet heart-wrenching story follows four generations of one family in Palestine from their olive groves to refugee camps and beyond. It begins before the Nakba and ends in the early 2000s.
The story takes you on a ride through the perspectives of various family members, but mainly follows the story of Amal. Through Amal, you meet childhood innocence, adolescence in war, and an undeniable strength. You meet her twin brothers, one who is pushed to realms I would wish upon no one, and the other, kidnapped and a raised as an Israeli solider.
Besides the unbelievable journey this family goes through, as well as the Israeli parallels, the author’s writing is beyond beautiful. Abulhawa incorporated historical facts with fiction and poetry. I would read and reread pages over and over again.I kept wondering how she would end the book. Most holocaust books end with the ending of the holocaust, but the war on Palestine is still going on today. She ended it beautifully and with a twist.
I wish this were a required reading like Anne Frank’s diary. Anyone who ever wants to understand the Palestinian side, away from the news, should read this book. Anyone who sympathizes with the holocaust should read this book.
I leave you with an excerpt from the book and genuinely hope you pick it up. If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“So it was that eight centuries after its founding by a general of Saladin’s army in 1189 a.d., Ein Hod was cleared of its Palestinian children. Yehya tried to calculate the number of generations who had lived and died in that village and he came up with forty.
It was a task made simple by the way Arabs name their children to tell the story of their genealogy, conferring five or six names from the child’s direct lineage, in proper order.
Thus Yehya tallied forty generations of living, now stolen. Forty generations of childbirth and funerals, weddings and dance, prayer and scraped knees. Forty generations of sin and charity, of cooking, toiling, and idling, of friendships and animosities and pacts, of rain and lovemaking. Forty generations with their imprinted memories, secrets, and scandals.
All carried away by the notion of entitlement of another people, who would settle in the vacancy and proclaim it all—all that was left in the way of architecture, orchards, wells, flowers, and charm—as the heritage of Jewish foreigners arriving from Europe, Russia, the United States, and other corners of the globe.
In the sorrow of a history buried alive, the year 1948 in Palestine fell from the calendar into exile, ceasing to reckon the marching count of days, months, and years, instead becoming an infinite mist of one moment in history. The twelve months of that year rearranged themselves and swirled aimlessly in the heart of Palestine.
The old folks of Ein Hod would die refugees in the camp, bequeathing to their heirs the large iron keys to their ancestral homes, the crumbling land registers issued by the Ottomans, the deeds from the British mandate, their memories and love of the land, and the dauntless will not to leave the spirit of forty generations trapped beneath the subversion of thieves.”
WE SAID THIS: You can find out everything you need to know about the Gaza-Israel conflict here.