Portraits of Palestinian Women

Portraits of Palestinian Women

Portraits of Palestinian Women

Portraits of Palestinian Women

Excerpt

This morning, as on other mornings, Mouna awoke before the rest of the family.... In a refugee camp, you're surrounded every second by others.... Mouna finds peace and solitude only when her seven younger brother and sisters, mother and grandparents are asleep. That is when she reads political papers, books, and pamphlets published by the PLO on the Palestinian struggle. But there are only two books on Palestinian women. She has to find her examples of fighting women in the USSR and the Third World (Bendt and Downing 1982:28).

Despite a growing recent literature, a deep disparity exists between rich history of Palestinian women's involvement in their people's struggle and the recording of that history. Work done so far is fragmented in approach, diverse in language, and uncertain of the historical roots of today's activist women. These women have received scant recognition even in the Arab World, where only the names of a few militants and martyrs are widely known. In the non-Arab world the idea endures that Palestinian women have not been as active as Algerian women, and though the Intifada brought women onto the television screen and newspaper page, girls such as Mouna still lack comprehensive accounts. This "blind spot" has persisted in spite of a renaissance of Palestinian history and in spite of a "herstory" born out of the Western feminist movement.

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