I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti

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Winner of the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Medal, this fierce and moving work is an unparalleled rendering of the human aspects of the Palestinian predicament.

Barred from his homeland after 1967’s Six-Day War, the poet Mourid Barghouti spent thirty years in exile—shuttling among the world’s cities, yet secure in none of them; separated from his family for years at a time; never certain whether he was a visitor, a refugee, a citizen, or a guest. As he returns home for the first time since the Israeli occupation, Barghouti crosses a wooden bridge over the Jordan River into Ramallah and is unable to recognize the city of his youth. Sifting through memories of the old Palestine as they come up against what he now encounters in this mere “idea of Palestine,” he discovers what it means to be deprived not only of a homeland but of “the habitual place and status of a person.” A tour de force of memory and reflection, lamentation and resilience, I Saw Ramallah is a deeply humane book, essential to any balanced understanding of today’s Middle East.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Mourid Barghouti

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Mourid Barghouti was born in 1944 near Ramallah. He has published thirteen books of poetry in Arabic including a Collected Works (1997) and received the Palestine Award for Poetry in 2000. A selection of his poetry, Midnight and Other Poems, was published in English in 2008. He lives in Cairo with his wife, the novelist and critic Radwa Ashour.Humphrey Davies has translated many Arabic books by a wide range of authors, including Bahaa Taher, Khaled al-Berry, and Ahmed Alaydi. His translation of Elias Khoury's Gate of the Sun was awarded the Banipal Prize, and that of Alaa Al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building was voted Best Translation of 2007 by the Society of Authors in London.
Published December 10, 2008 by Anchor. 212 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The Occupation kept the Palestinian village static and turned our cities back into villages.” Barghouti locates the blame for this reversal of fortune in the rightist governments of Rabin and Sharon, and his sense of aggrieved victimhood makes only a little allowance for such peace-inhibiting ele...

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The Guardian

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I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti translated by Ahdaf Soueif Bloomsbury £12.99, pp182 In 1966, Mourid Barghouti left home in a village near the Palestinian town of Ramallah to return to university in Cairo for the final year of his literature degree.

Apr 04 2004 | Read Full Review of I Saw Ramallah

The Guardian

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I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti 184pp, Bloomsbury, £12.99 The literature on the Palestine question is usually so wrapped up in partisanship and polemics as to obscure, or at least to relegate to a secondary plane, the human and emotional side of the problem.

Apr 17 2004 | Read Full Review of I Saw Ramallah

Publishers Weekly

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Barghouti was in Cairo at the university when Israel won the Six-Day War and didn't return home until 1996, when the now-defunct Oslo Accords allowed him to go back.

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Suite 101

"I Saw Ramallah" is a moving story about a Palestinian refugee's homecoming after 30 years of displacement

Mar 07 2010 | Read Full Review of I Saw Ramallah

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