This book tells the story of the Palestinian Nakba, the development of Palestinian refugee identity and the Palestinian struggle for liberation through the work of four great artists: the poets Mahmood Darwash and Fadwa Tuqan, the novelist Ghassan Kanafani and the cartoonist Naj Al Ali. Darwash, Palestine’s ‘national poet’ was ethnically cleansed from his village in 1948. He moved to Lebanon before returning to present day Israel. In the early 1980s he was in Beruit when it came under Israeli seige. His poetry traces the development of the Palestinian struggle. Tuqan was raised in the West Bank city of Nablus. Former Israeli Chief of Staff, Moshe Dayan, is reported to have said that with each poem she wrote, another 20 people joined the Palestinian armed resistance. Kanafani was ‘cleansed’ from his village in 1947 and brought up in refugee camp in Lebanon. His novels and short stories are recognised as bringing the plight of the refugee to global prominence. Whilst the cartoonist Ali is immortalised through his most famous character ‘Handala’ – a young boy of 10 (the age Naj Al Ali was when chased out of Palestine) who doesn’t grow – and won’t grow – until Palestine is free. Each of these artists lived through the Nakba and each was intimately involved in the struggle for liberation. Their stories, their biographies and their work allows for a deeper reflection on the continuing struggle for Palestinian rights.
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