Set in Little Rock in 2006, Susan Youssef’s new feature film ‘Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf’ tells the story of a 17-year-old high school student fighting for her father’s release from prison, a struggle that leads Marjoun to a deeper understanding of her own identity. Michael Arria talks to Youssef about how her personal background shaped her vision, the evolution of Arabs and Muslims in American films, and the significance of her movie being released amid mass protests.
Raja Shehadeh writes, It is not the business of Colum McCann in his novel “Apeirogon” to provide political solutions of the conflict. He highlights in an artistic fashion that is highly moving, the humanity of two individuals, the Israeli father who has lost a child just as he does the Palestinian father’s loss. How can we take offence about this?
Historian Susan Reverby’s riveting biography of Alan Berkman is a magnificent book. Berkman was imprisoned in the 60s, convicted for his political work in the underground as a leader of an offshoot of the Weather Underground. On regaining his freedom he devoted his life to public health and helping those the system abandoned.
As annexation is put into gear, Palestinians feel that occupation is becoming an eternal fate. Emad Moussa reviews an Israeli film seeking to explain the occupation, Foxtrot, and finds it is all about Israeli trauma: “The only scene of Palestinian death in the film is reconfigured as a metaphor for Israel’s internal and transgenerational trauma, repression, and guilt.”
Artist Jérémie Pujau re-conceptualizes Israel’s national anthem as a sonata for concrete mixers, which puts the song “in direct confrontation with one of the tools of its implementation, namely the concrete of colonization.”
Albert Memmi, the great prophet of anti-colonialism, embraced Zionism without ever questioning its colonial implications.
Albert Memmi, who passed away on May 22 at the age of 99, was the author of that indispensable analysis of the colonial psyche, The Colonizer and the Colonized, and dedicated adherent of that impossible conjunction “left-wing Zionism”. How can one reconcile Memmi’s commitment to Israel with the fact that his work continues to have exceptional explanatory power for our understanding of the Zionist settler colonial state?
Irish novelist Colum McCann says that he was “cracked wide open” when he met West Bank Palestinian Bassam Aramin and his Israeli Jewish colleague Rami Elhanan one evening in Bethlehem. But his novel “Apeirogon” that elevates the two runs the risk of normalizing the occupation by treating reconciliation as the answer to political oppression.
In order to legitimise the Jews’ right to Palestine, Zionism sought to delegitimise the Palestinian existence in the land. That involved a largely psychological process of ‘nativisation’ of European Jews and ‘de-nativisation’ of Palestinians. The term ‘Arab’ was one of the tactics used to achieve such goal.