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

By Lotte Buch Segal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
On Hardship and Closeness

Among Palestinians, in the occupied territory as well as in the diaspora, al-‘ā’ila (the family) is the stronghold against the occupation (Perdigon 2011; Taraki et al. 2006: xii). Different forms of labor, care, and heroic investment are required to keep that stronghold intact under occupation, as can be seen in political cartoonist Naji al-Ali’s drawing of a wife who hands her husband a gun in the name of Palestine. The woman’s gesture conjures an ordinary atmosphere in the sense that she might as well have handed him a packed lunch as he left for work, while she cared for their infant. The scene is depicted by one of the Palestinians’ most cherished cartoonists, who is known for his satirical drawings that comment on Arab regimes and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in particular (Political Cartoon Gallery 2008: 4).

The satire of this particular drawing nonetheless eludes me.1 Sharif Kanaana asserts that the jokes and myths he has collected about the Intifada depict an alternative, coexistent, and antagonistic reality (1990 [2005]: 20). What is interesting in this drawing by al-Ali is how he paints a reality that is in fact neither alternative, coexistent, nor antagonistic to the women of this book. Rather, the drawing depicts a version of the real that is uncannily familiar to every single one of my interlocutors: the obligation of women to support the resistance fighters, and reproduce. This family resemblance implies that the drawing is not satirical. Rather, and given that it is created by a man, it may be interpreted as an even stronger call to show support for the male fighters because the women are the ones handing them the guns. Al-Ali’s drawing therefore depicts the complicity of both men and women in the struggle for freedom from occupation, connoting the place of the Palestinian family at the heart of national politics.

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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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