No Place for Grief: Martyrs, Prisoners, and Mourning in Contemporary Palestine

By Lotte Buch Segal | Go to book overview

Introduction

I merged a little with the void
    sitting in a nocturnal room and was filled
with your silence
that trembled in the picture

—Ghada al-Shafi’i

Luma’s husband was killed in an air raid near their house on the outskirts of a major Palestinian city. She heard the bombing and knew immediately that her husband was its most likely target.

Thirteen years have passed since his death. Luma has mourned him, and she could remarry without any social censure, as other widows have done. But she adamantly refuses. The first time we met she told me so, though not in so many words. She revealed her conviction in the slight upward tilt of the chin and click of the tongue that means “no, of course not,” among Palestinians.

Whenever she spoke of her husband’s death, her voice would rise to a higher pitch and her face and cheeks would color. The adrenaline coursing through her body was evident. Talking about his death in its minutest details, Luma recounted how she went through stages of fear, anticipation, and an uncanny sense of knowing that her husband was dead, even before official confirmation. When she was finally certain that her husband had been killed, she descended into a state of desolation.

Luma spoke about his death in a way that conveyed the sorrow of losing a husband in culturally appropriate terms and emphasized her feelings for him. As the wife of a politically active man, she had to put her life on hold when her husband was detained in Israeli prisons, after he had fled and hid preceding his incarceration. Up to his death in 2002, their twelve-year

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No Place for Grief: Martyrs, Prisoners, and Mourning in Contemporary Palestine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Note on Transliteration x
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Grammar of Suffering in Occupied Palestine 26
  • Chapter 2 - Domestic Uncanniness 48
  • Chapter 3 - Enduring Presents 81
  • Chapter 4 - On Hardship and Closeness 99
  • Chapter 5 - Solitude in Marriage 124
  • Chapter 6 - Enduring the Ordinary 143
  • Conclusion 167
  • Notes 177
  • References 183
  • Index 197
  • Acknowledgments 207
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