Books: Susan Abulhawa, 'people in my Jenin have not changed'

07 April, 16:34

    Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa

    (by Virginia Di Marco) (ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 7 - Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa has not been back to Jenin for the past 12 years. She lives in the United States and has received a number of awards for ''Mornings in Jenin'' (published in Italy by Feltrinelli in 2011). Yet she is sure that ''Jenin has not changed''.

    ''People there have remained strong and beautiful as always''.

    Such an opinion is in stark contrast with stories reported by the Israeli and international press which have described the transformation of the West Bank city, formerly known as the ''capital of suicide attackers'' at the centre 12 years ago of a bloody clash with the Israeli army known as the ''battle of Jenin''.

    Today Jenin is considered relatively safe.

    ''The only people who considered it 'dangerous' were the Israelis'', said the writer. ''I never considered it dangerous.

    It is not my role to explain why Israel sees it differently today. For me, Jenin has not changed. The spirit of its residents is the same. Perhaps they have decided to change strategy, but these are choices involving the Palestinian people as a whole. In general, Palestinian resistance has taken many forms: with time, we adapt and change''.

    For this reason, continued Abulhawa, ''I don't like to talk about 'suicide attackers': it is not fair. Palestinian resistance manifests itself in many other ways. As a novelist, for example, my role is to portray Palestinians in a realistic and authentic way. My job is a form of resistance. But many prefer to pause on what a minority is doing instead of what a whole population has been up to for decades''.

    She also accuses the international media: ''It is a journalist's duty to report facts, but this is often not the case...''.

    However, as a Palestinian exile, Abuhawa does not believe she should work to improve the image of Palestinians in the world and foreign press. ''I don't think it is my job. With my book, I hope people will succeed in recognizing a pinch of humanity in others. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not: it depends on the reader''. (ANSAmed)

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