Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Breaking Bread

I Googled myself again (soooo goooood!) and came across this review in the Institute for Jerusalem Studies. It must've been written in the Winter/Spring of 2004-'05. Alain Epp Weaver reviews a number of books published over the last few years by international solidarity activists in Palestine. His review is incredibly important, as it's the only one that i've come across that treats our work as literature. Most of the commentary on the subject (genre?) is either dismissive or sycophantic. Weaver treats us as serious writers and activists, and raises some great questions along the way.

I also appreciate the way that he uses my work to frame his discussion for a couple reasons: 1) i feel like my work has sound political analysis; 2) i believe in the goals of this specific peace and justice work, and the connections between the work and the writing. Ultimately, it's about real people doing real things. It's not a "historical/religious conflict" as it is so often portrayed to be. The true religion is the actual, living communion of peoples.

I'm really glad that he picked up on that and raised the "is this some sort of secular eucharist?" question. Yes! For me it is. I try to convey that through my writings, and i'm glad that it came through, personally. On a bigger scale, i'm elated that he's centering his discussion in this context. It feels awesome, actually. I know it's a small thing, and that very few ever even read that publication (i had never heard of it), but whatever. I feel like, if that idea is out there, then my writing wasn't in vain, which is how i've been feeling for the last 6 years.

On a related note, i'd be remiss to leave out the story of how Peace Under Fire came to publish my work in the first place...the truth is that I don't know. I do know and respect a couple of the editors, but they never requested any work from me. Neither did they notify me that they my articles were being used. I only found out when I was in Bluestockings one day and came across the book on the shelf. Of course I was interested, so I flipped through it and, lo-and-behold, there's "My Mother's Son"! I was, and am, grateful that they used it, but slightly distressed that nary a word was ever said to me. I contacted Verso multiple times, by phone and email, and never got a reply. To this day, I don't know what to make of it all.

Searching Jenin is the other book that published my work, and for that I am eternally grateful. (Ilan Pappe reviewed it inCounterPunch). Ramzy Baroud has done a great service to human history with this book. I can't say enough about the book. It's a grenade.

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