A Rift in Time: Travels with My Ottoman Uncle by Raja Shehadeh

By Raja Shehadeh

The hunt for his great-uncle Najib Nassar, an Ottoman journalist – the main points of his existence, and the course of his nice break out from occupied Palestine – fed on award-winning author Raja Shehadeh for 2 years. As he lines Najib’s footsteps, he discovers that this present day it'd be most unlikely to escape the cage that Palestine has turn into. A Rift in Time is a kin memoir written in luminescent prose, however it is additionally a mirrored image on how Palestine – particularly the disputed Jordan Rift Valley – has been reworked. such a lot of Palestine’s heritage and that of its humans is buried deep within the floor: complete villages have disappeared and names were erased from the map. but by way of seeing the larger photo of the panorama and the endless fight for freedom as Shehadeh does, it truly is nonetheless attainable to seem in the direction of a greater destiny, unfastened from Israeli or Ottoman oppression.

“A paintings of passionate polemic, traveling, historical past, and autobiography, this hugely unique attention of the Palestinian-Israeli factor is established round a sequence of energetic, attentive hikes in the course of the occupied territories.”—The New Yorker

“Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks presents a unprecedented historic perception into the tragic adjustments occurring in Palestine.” —President Jimmy Carter

“Towards any right realizing of heritage there are various small paths. This continuously wonderful e-book modestly describes jogging alongside sure paths that have touched the lived lives of 2 millennia. Its strolling advisor is an aged guy who confesses; his confessions frequently stumble upon a perennial knowledge, and what he's speaking approximately and strolling throughout is without doubt one of the nodal issues of the world’s current difficulty. I strongly recommend you stroll with him.”—John Berger , writer of how of Seeing

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Sample text

I didn’t want to keep these two young men wondering who I was and why I was here. As it turned out it was fortunate that I did. ‘I have a great-great-grandfather,’ Basel told me. ’ ‘And his memory? ’ ‘Very good. ’ Basel gave me his number. ‘I am in my carpentry shop most of the day. ’ After passing through Hittin, Najib had stood at the top of a mountain overlooking Tiberias. It could have been this very spot or one nearby. During the twenty-six months that he was on the run, he had hidden south of here.

How different this seems from the way the conflict is perceived today, as a struggle mainly between Israeli Jews and Muslim Arabs. Najib had always thought of himself as a loyal Ottoman citizen. He had expressed this position in his articles in Al Karmil. He knew reform was needed and advocated strong Arab independence, but within the Ottoman structure. His main concern was what would happen to his country if 20 Escaping Arrest the Ottomans were no longer there to protect it from the onslaught of the colonialists and in particular the Zionists, whose plans for Palestine he was more familiar with than most.

I will do so in the spring, when I plan to visit all the places on Najib’s route and meet Abu Naif, Basel’s great-great-grandfather in Kufr Cana. 45 3 Along the River Jordan It was early in spring several years after my visit to Mount Arbel when Penny and I left Ramallah and travelled north to Tiberias to follow in Najib’s footsteps. We could not take the shortest route, through the central hills of Palestine, because it was no longer possible to get to Nablus by car. The three main entrances to the city were blocked by the Israeli army, which required all Palestinians to leave their cars and pass through the checkpoints on foot.

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